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Guitar Cables
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beatlecustom



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 59
Location: McHenry, IL

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:15 am    Post subject: Guitar Cables Reply with quote

I know I may get quite a few opinions on this question but the more the better. I am looking for a great high-quality guitar cable. I have a planet wave cable now and it sounds as though it is shorting out. Once in a while when it moves or lays a certain way it screams through the amp. They also coil up badly and become tangled.

Anyway...I have always ended up spending quite a bit on cables and never having great luck with them.

What do you guys use/recommend? Thanks in advance!
~Scott
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Bootsypratt



Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 1236
Location: Columbia, SC

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make your own, buy the parts from Redco.

Here's the cable I used:
http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=507

and here are the jacks they have:
http://www.redco.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=62&cat=TS+Connectors

and here is a video on how to do it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smg68qgJa-I

I spent about $80 bucks and have about $225 bucks worth of cables, and it was easy.
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BluesmanDave



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2816
Location: Sacramento CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things:

1) COIL YOUR CABLES PROPERLY. Learn to do the old left twist/right twist cable wind, and it'll double or triple your cable's lifespan. No tying knots in 'em, avoid letting the drummer drop cymbals on them, etc. etc. etc.

2) Planet Waves has a lifetime guarantee on their stuff, even if you don't have the receipt. Get on their website, find the instructions, and mail them the cable and you should have a new one in about a week.

Here's the link to the page with the Return Authorization form. They say they need a receipt, but they don't actually require one. Oh yeah - it says D'Addario & Co, but they own Planet Waves.

Planet Waves defective stuff
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Travst



Joined: 15 Jul 2008
Posts: 9535
Location: Birmingham, AL

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff, Bootsy. That's very affordable, I ordered enough to build a couple of 8' cables. All I have are 20-footers.
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beatlecustom



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 59
Location: McHenry, IL

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boots-That was awesome! It looks pretty simple too!

Bluesman-I may have to contact Planet Waves for a new cable in the mean time. I had no idea of a lifetime guarantee. Thanks!!
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dougk



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 9440
Location: About to lose his head in Sacramento

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using these and I LOVE them: http://www.armorgoldcables.com/

I've tried quite a few of the boutique brands and these sound great, don't tangle and have outlasted any other brand I've used so far.
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Mr. Pumpkin



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 1414
Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a couple of ProCo cables since 1981 that have never let me down. I'm sure they've changed, but the prices seem reasonable:

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Joeglow
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Posts: 11054
Location: NY/NJ

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've built a few cables already. Besides being a cool project, you get to decide on the quality of parts you use. I used Mogami cable, heat shrink ends, expandable sleeving, Amphenol 1/4" audio plugs all made a really nice cable for me.

If you want to just buy a cable, Monster Cables are decent cables and if they break, just bring them into any GC and they replace it no questions asked, no receipt necessary, just the cable.
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Kregg



Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 3333
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you like coil cables I cannot complain about Bullet Cables.
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beatlecustom



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 59
Location: McHenry, IL

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for the replies. I think building one would be fun and if that doesn't work out for me then I also have some recommendations on what to purchase. Thanks again!
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rjhalsey



Joined: 15 Sep 2005
Posts: 13935
Location: Central Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to placing Lava cables on sale on Sunday on my site. 10% off.
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headstack



Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 1425
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are making your own, I would seriously consider looking this line of connectors...

http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=1111 (straight compact)

http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=837 (straight compact silent, right angle version available)

http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=970 (right angle compact)

http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=202 (bullet proof full size)

All of thses are super strong, the body and plug are machined out of one piece of metal and the jacket slips/mates with it.
The strain reliefs are integral and AFAIC are the best in the business.
You can use cables made with these and the above mentioned Mogami cable or Canari GS-6 (I have used this for the last 15 or so years IIRC) and use them for tow ropes... Well, just about.
No failures yet in hundreds of cables and a couple thousand plugs in studio wiring and road rigs... Yet...
Knock wood Laughing
No, I do not work for Neutrik, nor do I know anyone who works for them.
I wish because a break would be really nice!

p.s. All of the compact plugs work with the Electrosocket Jacks, even with the connector set flush to the outer face which is definitely rockin.
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Structo



Joined: 21 Nov 2004
Posts: 26415
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Neutrik connectors as well. Very Happy

Something you should be aware of is how a cable can change your tone.
All shielded cable has capacitance.
By it's virtue it is one long capactitor since a capacitor is defined as an two conductors separated by an insulator.

This is usually rated at pf/ foot. So the longer the cable the more capacitance it will have as well.
The higher the pf number is the more top end it will shave off of the top end of the signal.

You can use cables to tune your amp to your liking.
If your amp leans towards being very bright, you don't want a real low pf cable, unless you really want those ice pick highs.
A low pf cable will pass more high frequencies to the amp.

The reverse holds true as well, if your amp is already on the dark side, you don't want a high pf rated cable as it will just muddy up an already too dark signal.
A high pf cable will bleed off more highs to ground making the amp sound darker with less treble.

Some companies don't list this specification, particularly on a house brand which is just a cable they put their name on, but it can be a good cable and if you inquire or do some digging you should be able to find out the pf/foot.

I hope this doesn't confuse you, cables are just another tool in our tone drawer that we can use to our advantage to tune out amps tone to our liking.

The first higher end cable I bought from Lava Cable was a Sommer cable called "The Spirit".
It is rated at 78pf per meter.
Convert that and it is 24pf per foot.

The Mogami 2524 cable is a very good cable but it is rated at 40pf/ft.
So if you were to compare these two cables with the same guitar and amp, the Spirit cable would sound brighter with more clarity and articulation.

So you have to decide what you rig calls for.
You have to turn up the treble quite a bit using your current cable to get the guitar tone bright enough for your ears?
Then perhaps you need a lower pf cable.

Conversely if you find you have to turn down the treble on your amp, then a higher pf/ft cable would help.

If you have a digital multimeter, many of those have capacitance meters built in.
I know the one I have does.
You take the cable and lay it out on the floor straight and connect the meter probes to the plug at one end. Keep your fingers off of any of the metal there or it will screw up the reading.
So say you have a 10 foot cable, to make it simple, and it reads 400pf.
That would mean it is probably a 40pf/ft cable.

If you feel you need to brighten your guitar tone up, then you need a lower than 40pf/ft cable.
Or if you need to dull or darken the tone a bit, try to find a cable with more than 40pf/ft.

I was sort of a naysayer before I tried a good cable.
I used to use the Spectraflex cables, the ones with the cool looking color braided cloth covering?
So I ordered the Spirit cable.
Once I first plugged in the new Spirit cable, it was literally like taking a blanket off of the amp.
Much clearer, brighter in a good way. It just seemed to let more guitar through to the amp.
That cable is really at the lower end cost wise of the high end cables.
Currently $36 for a 10 ft cable.
So if you don't feel comfortable about soldering the plugs on this is a good place to go.
http://www.lavacable.com/index.html

Now you don't need to spend $200 on a guitar cable unless you can truly afford it but if you can go for it. Very Happy
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headstack



Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 1425
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Structo wrote:
I like Neutrik connectors as well. Very Happy

Something you should be aware of is how a cable can change your tone.
All shielded cable has capacitance.
By it's virtue it is one long capactitor since a capacitor is defined as an two conductors separated by an insulator.

This is usually rated at pf/ foot. So the longer the cable the more capacitance it will have as well.
The higher the pf number is the more top end it will shave off of the top end of the signal.

You can use cables to tune your amp to your liking.
If your amp leans towards being very bright, you don't want a real low pf cable, unless you really want those ice pick highs.
A low pf cable will pass more high frequencies to the amp.

The reverse holds true as well, if your amp is already on the dark side, you don't want a high pf rated cable as it will just muddy up an already too dark signal.
A high pf cable will bleed off more highs to ground making the amp sound darker with less treble.


I am a big fan of low capacitance cables in any case.
You can always back off some high end on the EQ or roll a bit off on the guitar, but if you play a gig with a dark amp folks will crank the treble control and with it, the noise floor.
When recording, it's important to have enough high frequency while tracking. First of all, there is no way to boost frequencies that don't exist, or where little energy in that area exists.
If you wanted a really "spanky" guitar sound, guys would crank the EQs and get all kinds of hiss from the EQ and noise from the amp, plus you hear lots of string noise. It usually was not pretty! However, if you got a nice full tone that was also good and bright, you could back off a bit of high end in mix down and get rid of some noise.
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Last edited by headstack on Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:09 am; edited 3 times in total
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Travst



Joined: 15 Jul 2008
Posts: 9535
Location: Birmingham, AL

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I received my Mogami cable and Amphenol connectors last week and just finished making up two 8' cables... one for pedalboard to amp, one for guitar to pedalboard. I used a right angle on one end of each cable and a straight plug on the other end. Worked great! I'll try the Neutrik connectors for the next batch.
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I need more practice, not more gear.
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