Fender Frontman 15r Troubleshooting

Amp Won’t Turn On ¶ 

The amplifier will not produce sound, as indicated by the unlit LED power light.

Power Plug Not Connected ¶ 

If there is no connection between the power source (electrical outlet) and the amp, the device will not receive the necessary electric current to operate correctly. Make sure that the outlet plug is connected to a functioning wall outlet. Make sure the other end of the cable is connected to the amp. If these connections are present and the amp does not turn on, the problem is internal to the amp.

Blown Fuses ¶ 

A blown fuse is another scenario that will break the circuit of the amp and prevent it from functioning. The only method of diagnosis is to physically inspect the fuse. If the bridge inside of the fuse is ruptured or broken, the fuse is blown and needs to be replaced. The amp comes standard with one extra fuse.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Bad LED ¶ 

A bad LED will result in the amp working properly, but the power light will not turn on. This will give the appearance of a lack of power. This problem can be diagnosed by testing the amp with the musical instrument plugged in. If the amp works properly even the power light is off, the LED must be replaced. To fix this, the amp must be opened and the LED must be manually replaced.

Bad Power Jack ¶ 

A bad power jack will prevent the current from entering the amp. A battery powered continuity checker can be used to diagnose this problem. The amp must be unplugged and opened. The leads of the continuity checker must be attached to the ends of the power jack on the inside of the amp. If the light on the continuity checker does not turn on, the loss of power is due to a bad power jack. If not, another problem is present.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instruction.

Bad Switch ¶ 

A broken switch will not correctly close the circuit. As a result, the amp will not receive power and will not function. To diagnose a bad switch, the amp must be opened and the switch must be bypassed by directly running a wire from one side of the switch to the other side (the ground). If the amp now works properly, then the loss of power is due to a bad switch and must be replaced. If not, another problem is present.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Bad Circuitry or Wire ¶ 

Wires and other circuit components that are not properly connected will create a break in the circuit. This break will prevent the amp from functioning. To diagnose this problem, the amp must be opened and each wire and circuit component must be checked. If there are any loose wires or broken solder joints, the malfunction is most likely due to bad circuitry/wiring. In order to fix this, the bad wires/circuit component must be replaced or re-soldered. If all connections are properly connected, another problem is present.

The Amplifier is On, but There is No Sound ¶ 

The LED light on your amp is illuminated (the amp has power), but it will not produce sound.

Volume Knobs Not Turned Up ¶ 

In order for sound to be produced, every component must be sending sound to the amp. This includes the instrument, pedals or effects, and the amp itself. If the volume knobs on any of these are turned all the way down, the amp will not produce sound. This is more likely to occur when there are multiple pedals connected between the instrument and the amp. On the amp itself, there are three knobs that contribute to volume. When in normal mode, the Normal Volume controls the volume, but if in Overdrive, then both the Gain and Drive Volume contribute to the volume of the amp. Turn the levels up on all connected devices to solve this problem.

Bad ¼” Instrument Cable or Connection ¶ 

Most sound problems are stemmed from bad cables, not from faulty equipment. Be sure that the cable connecting the instrument to the amp is plugged in to the “Input” jack and not the “Headphones” jack. The jacks look very similar, but are labeled differently. If you are sure that the cable is inserted correctly in both the instrument and the guitar, check the cable itself. In order to do this, you need two amps and two cables. Try to play the guitar in each amp using the same cable. If sound comes out of one amp, but not the other, then the problem most likely lies within the amplifier. If no sound comes from either, then it is probably a faulty cable. To make sure the problem is with the cable, play the guitar through one amp with two different cables. If sound comes out with one cable, but not the other, then it is a bad cable. If there is no sound when either cable is connected, then the problem is with the amp. If the problem is with the cable, a new cable needs to be purchased.

Blown Speaker or Speaker Wires ¶ 

This is a more complicated problem. This actually requires opening the amp up and looking at the wiring and speaker. First, you want to check that the wires coming from the circuit board are securely attached to the speaker. If they are not, re-attach them to the appropriate pegs. If they are connected properly, use a multi-meter to test for ohms by attaching the probes to the +/- poles respectively. If the multi-meter records zero, infinity, or no reading at all, the speaker is dead and a new speaker needs to be re-installed.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Blown Transformer ¶ 

This is a more complicated problem. This actually requires opening the amp up and looking at the transformer. First, you want to check that the wires coming from the power switch to the transformer are securely attached and the solders on the wires going from the transformer to the circuit board are secure. If they are not, re-attach or re-solder them to the appropriate pegs. If they are connected properly, use a multi-meter to test for ohms by attaching the probes to the input and output cables. The wires need to be live and plugged in, so be extremely careful when dealing with the live currents. The multi-meter should read infinity (or 1 depending on the make and model of the multi-meter). If it reads any other value, a new transformer needs to be installed.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Distorted Sound or Poor Sound Quality ¶ 

The amp is functioning properly except that the output sound is impure.

Overdrive Volume or Drive Select ¶ 

There are two drive (mode) settings on the amp: normal (clean) and overdrive (distortion). If the amp is set to overdrive mode (drive select button pressed in), the output sound is supposed to sound fuzzy or heavy. The gain knob is located next to the drive select button (the small white button on the front), and controls the level of distortion in the sound when the amp is in overdrive. If the drive select button is pressed in, repress the button and the resulting sound should be clean. Also, if the drive select button gets stuck in between the normal setting and overdrive this may cause poor sound quality. This can be fixed by shimmying the knob until it returns to a set state.

Bad ¼” Instrument Cable or Connection ¶ 

See section in “The Amplifier is On, but There is No Sound.”

Faulty Speaker ¶ 

A possible cause of poor sound quality is a blown or faulty speaker. The speaker itself may be physically damaged in a way that affects the sound that is produced. In this case, the damages would most likely be visible and identifiable. The speaker could also be blown. This means that the speaker has been overworked or had too much power fed through it and the cone no longer produces the right sounds. There are usually no visual signs of a blown speaker but the cone will make a scraping noise when pushed in and out. In this case, a new speaker needs to be installed.

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Reverb Springs ¶ 

The distorted sound may be caused by a problem with the reverb component of the amp. If the springs inside the reverb tank are loose or disconnected this may cause the amp to produce an overly distorted sound. The amp then must be opened and the springs need to be re-connected to fix this problem.

Blown Transformer ¶ 

See section in “The Amplifier is On, but There is No Sound.”

See the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Bad Wiring or Circuitry ¶ 

Another cause for poor sound quality may be a loose or disconnected wire or circuit component. It is important to check all of the wires and connections inside the amp. These connections include: the input jack, knobs, circuit board, power input, ground wires, speaker, reverb tank, etc. Make sure that there are no loose or bad connections and that none of the wires are stripped or have exposed metal.

No Amp Control ¶ 

There is sound coming out of the speaker, but the knobs on the amp do not adjust volume or tone.

Stripped Groove on Knob ¶ 

A stripped groove on a knob may result in the external component spinning without turning the metal within it. The larger knob on top will not turn the smaller knob connected to the main board, and nothing will happen when the knob is turned. Normally, there is a set limit to the range of rotation for the knobs; if the dials can be rotated a full 360 degrees with little resistance, the knobs are stripped. To check, pull off the larger knob to see if it still has grooves to turn the smaller knob. If the inside of the larger knob seems stripped or too smooth for it to turn the smaller knob, the larger knob will need to be replaced. If this does not fix the problem, the entire knob will need replacing.

Bad Knob Connection to the Board ¶ 

If one of the sound control knobs (i.e. pitch, treble, bass) is not performing its desired function, it may be disconnected from the board. Remove the plastic knob from the face of the amp, and try to determine if the smaller knob underneath is connected as it should be. Pushing in on the smaller knob may reestablish this connection, but if the problem still persists after doing so, the entire knob may need to be replaced on the board, or there may be a problem with the board as a whole.

Bad Wiring or Circuitry ¶ 

Poor wiring or bad circuits may cause you to lose control of the amp. If certain connections have come loose, or parts of the board have worn out and no longer work, the amp may still turn on, but the front panel won’t work. In order to determine if this is the problem, the amp must be disassembled and each connection must be checked. Any bad solder, loose crimp, or loose wire may cause this problem. Fixing this problem requires replacing each bad wire or circuit component. If none of these things seem to be the problem, another issue is present.

None of the above ¶ 

Nothing above matches your problem, or you've tried a solution suggested above, but it didn't help.

If you tried all of the solutions but the amp still is not working, it is most likely that the board needs replacing. This will probably end up being difficult and expensive, and purchasing a whole new amp may be the best solution.

3 Comments

I have a fender frontman 15g amp .... when i select the drive channel no sound is comming out... but the clean channel works perfectly ! I am not an expert in amps so does anyone know what should i do ?

daminos ben hekel - Reply

I accidently broke the 5U4GB rectifier, replaced it with a new one and blew a fuse. Now nothing works, no pilot light nor de filaments on all the tubes (6.3v) circuit.

JP LeBlanc - Reply

Fender Frontman 15G has buzz but goes away when I bump the top with my fist, is this a ground wire perhaps loose or not soldered properly?

Woody - Reply

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