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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:49 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 6:52 pm
Posts: 24
Sad thing is that many experienced
guitarists, particularly those of us who survived the 70s stacks, might be able to play great but not notice a sonic difference in cables.
Many of us use far more treble than we used to (sound familiar?). Although we now try to play at less ear threatening volumes, the damage has been done.
As a result I am more likely to go for cables that do not crackle and are hard to break.
Planet Waves American series are my current favourites.


Last edited by yelly on Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:20 am
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tl;dr it all.

Cables are cables, unless they're THE cheapest. Quality of parts, wire gauge, and workmanship do matter. Gold plated, sliver wired, mojo-dust cables are bullshit as a selling point, because guitar is too lo-fi to even need conduction for the lowest lows and highest highs, but a good cable that won't break down easily is worth a few more dollars. I have DiMarzio, Planet Waves, and Monster. They are all good. My Planet Waves cables are about 15 years old and still work great.

The only other consideration with cables is the capacitance that builds up after the first 20 ft and creates a low pass filter. A buffer at the end of a pedal run or sitting on the amp is a good idea in some instances to defeat the capacitance issue. I go both ways, depending on what I'm doing. I sometimes like the lack of top end sheen, but running 60 ft to 100+ ft of cable, including the wires on "true bypass" will suck tone. Two 15 ft or 20 ft cables and a wah probably won't be as much of an issue, but still cuts some presence.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:52 pm 
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Donating Member

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:56 pm
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For those of us who think cables are cables; go grab a couple of different cables and plug them in and then tell me they all sound the same. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:16 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:15 pm
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The only thing that comes into cables is capacitance. Gold plugs are a nonsense used to hike prices. There is something to be said for gold being a better conductor. It doesn't come into play unless the socket you're plugging a gold plug into, is also gold.

A good lead will not affect your tone one way or the other, but a bad one will. It won't give you anything in the same way a guitars tone control doesn't give you anything. In a passive circuit. All it does is detract, the capacitance causes treble loss.

It's a constant gripe of mine that guitar lead packaging will give you a load of nonsense information (misinformation) that you don't need. Yet leave out the capacitance per foot measurement, that you do need. You can get low capacitance cable regardless of price. I don't buy the Monster hype.

This bloke built a bunch of great transistor amps in the 80's, called Session amplifiers. He wrote a good article on cables. Available to view here.


http://www.award-session.com/pdfs/GEAR_TALK_1.pdf

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:52 am 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:20 am
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Nicklotsaguitars wrote:
The only thing that comes into cables is capacitance. Gold plugs are a nonsense used to hike prices. There is something to be said for gold being a better conductor. It doesn't come into play unless the socket you're plugging a gold plug into, is also gold.

A good lead will not affect your tone one way or the other, but a bad one will. It won't give you anything in the same way a guitars tone control doesn't give you anything. In a passive circuit. All it does is detract, the capacitance causes treble loss.

It's a constant gripe of mine that guitar lead packaging will give you a load of nonsense information (misinformation) that you don't need. Yet leave out the capacitance per foot measurement, that you do need. You can get low capacitance cable regardless of price. I don't buy the Monster hype.

This bloke built a bunch of great transistor amps in the 80's, called Session amplifiers. He wrote a good article on cables. Available to view here.


http://www.award-session.com/pdfs/GEAR_TALK_1.pdf


You're my new buddy. lol.

Sometimes I make or modify cables using readily available spare parts. As long as the build is good, the wire is thick enough, the shielding is correctly made, and the length is kept to a minimum, it's going to work just fine. Aside from capacitance, the shielding is a really important part for tone, as it rejects hum and other interferences.

Honestly, the cables with molded ends are probably the best thing ever. The spots where a wire would break most often are armored and/or flexible and I love that. It turns repairs into replacements, but the durability is worth it. A company willing to spend the money to do that isn't skimping on materials.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:12 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:15 pm
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I don't like moulded ends personally. Cos I'm a skinflint and not scared of a soldering iron. And when I was a kid, penniless. It was a case of fix it or play unplugged.
Though I have no problem with them if they're what's kicking around.
Yes shielding is super important, I completely forgot. I've been using Fender cables for around three years now. One of them has gone dull. I don't understand how capacitance creeps into a lead. If you could explain that to me I'd be really grateful Afu. The other two leads I bought at the same time are fine though. I've gigged plenty with them in that three years. Where they do get pulled around and caught in things and then yanked. (one reason I always wrap around the amp handle before plugging in)
Fender cables come with a lifetime guarantee too. Not bad for £20 each. You certainly don't have to spend a fortune to get good quality.

When I built my 18watter. The guy who sorted all the problems and mistakes I'd made (I'm assured it always happens on the first DIY build). shielded the wire going from the input jack to pin 2 of v1. He just doubled up some cable, wrapped tightly around each other. Both cables wired to the input socket but one end not fixed on the shielding cable. I wonder if similar would work for guitar cables?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:40 am 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:20 am
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Location: Tucson, AZ
I can't see it, so I could be wrong, but when cables start to sound dull, either a cold solder joint or corrosion would be my first thought.

Capacitance and resistance naturally occurs when a wire has an electro-magnetic field running through it, even if the totals of each are very small. Metal wires have very low resistance and as they get longer, the capacitance grows as resistance goes lower. When it reaches the input of an amp, the input resistance (usually 470k to 1M) will interact with the capacitance of the cable and act as a low-pass filter, throwing highs to ground.

It's part of why I put "true bypass" in the other post. With a large enough pedal board filled with true bypass pedals, capacitance will be an issue. A buffer, or a pedal with one, is great for the last stage of a pedal board to kill capacitance up to that point and a buffer somewhere near the front, but after a fuzz, will keep the pedals sounding sharp if a person uses a long lead to the pedal board.

To answer your other question, two wires (one signal or hot, and the other ground) will be out of phase with each other. It will cancel electro-magnetic interference if they run parallel or are twisted around each other. It doesn't affect capacitance. A shielded cable does the same thing as a twisted pair and can be substituted in an amp or other audio device. Humbuckers work on the same principle, except, it's two signals going in opposite directions, instead of one being a grounded wire.

If a person steps on a shielded cable in the same spot enough times to break the shielding up a bit, it is more likely to have interference come into the wire. Same thing happens if the shielding was cut and soldered to the jack with many shield wires missing or making poor contact, because the ground potential will be weakened.

The last bit about all of this is: wires of any type should be as short and straight as possible. In an amp, it will create hum if wires curve, especially if they pass over a power supply circuit in a curve or at an angle other than 90 degrees. With a guitar cable, it could also hum. Not only is it about the length, but also about excess cable wound in a circle. If it is wrapped around a laid down, it creates its own magnetic field (a coil) and can act like an antenna. Place that near an electronic device, a power supply, a wi-fi hub, or a stray Christian/Classical radio station signal, and you'll notice the effect. (Those kinds of stations are generally low enough on the radio-band to be picked up by guitar equipment).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:59 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:15 pm
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Thank you sir. You just made a man of little knowledge, less so. I really do appreciate you taking time to answer. Likening it to how a humbucker works was a eureka moment for me. Makes perfect sense now.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:18 am 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:20 am
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You're welcome and it's no problem.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:47 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:16 pm
Posts: 20
They are definitely not necessary but YES, they do make a difference, even though it may be classified as a subtle difference, and many times hardy noticeable for most players. This type of difference can be more noticed with experienced ears, and definitely easier to catch for those classified as tone seekers (like my self).

If you are picky about your tone, you will start experimenting with many things such as; strings, woods, pick ups, picks, amps, cables, etc... They do make a great difference while recording for example.

But as I stated, they wont really matter if you only play at home, or even on small gigs.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:14 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
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Location: North Carolina
Some of the expensive cables if they have good control on the impedance (reduced capacitance and or inductance) will probably sound brighter vs the standard coax guitar cable. I have recently bought two Mogami cables. One was the high dollar cable, much thicker jacket and different construction vs the other Mogami cable considered to be standard. I actually prefer the lower cost cable more so than the high dollar cable but depends on which amp I am playing though. The expensive Mogami has more treble to it compared to my other cables (without changing amp settings). May sound better with a Roadster than it does though a Mark series amp. Is it worth the extra money, no. I would rather use a cable that can flex and bend easily vs something that is like using a thick coax cable that seems too rigid. Also the difference is not that dramatic. I would rather put my money in other places where it makes more of a difference.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:51 pm
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Monster Cables are great. They are so great that when I went all Monster leads from 2007-2010 I noticed they were too much for the wimpy Switchcraft jacks I use in my guitars. In those three years I replaced 20 jacks across three guitars I gig with.

I wrote Switchcraft thinking I ran into a bad batch my supplier had purchased. I was told that it was not Switchcraft, but Monster was the culprit. Monster decided to circumvent having to pay Switchcraft royalties by having their plugs manufactured slightly oversized a few hundredths of an inch. In other words, the plug ends of monster cables are not 1/4", just oversized enough to easily insert and remove from a jack, as well as giving a seemingly tight fit, but what is happening is the plugs are wearing out the jacks, which over time causes the sleeve contact to fail.

My Monster cables are now in the backup gig bag. Currently I use Mogami cable, Neutrik ends to make my own. I also buy that kevlar cable armor to cover the cables.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:04 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:14 pm
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bjorn218 wrote:
Monster Cables are great. They are so great that when I went all Monster leads from 2007-2010 I noticed they were too much for the wimpy Switchcraft jacks I use in my guitars. In those three years I replaced 20 jacks across three guitars I gig with.

I wrote Switchcraft thinking I ran into a bad batch my supplier had purchased. I was told that it was not Switchcraft, but Monster was the culprit. Monster decided to circumvent having to pay Switchcraft royalties by having their plugs manufactured slightly oversized a few hundredths of an inch. In other words, the plug ends of monster cables are not 1/4", just oversized enough to easily insert and remove from a jack, as well as giving a seemingly tight fit, but what is happening is the plugs are wearing out the jacks, which over time causes the sleeve contact to fail.

My Monster cables are now in the backup gig bag. Currently I use Mogami cable, Neutrik ends to make my own. I also buy that kevlar cable armor to cover the cables.


This is what I found out too, Monster Cables are oversized and can damage your jacks - too bad, they sound great. I still use the beefy Monster speaker cables, but switched over the Mogami cables for all guitar/effects connections. I highly recommend the Pedal Python for multiple cable runs (4CM).

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