What wire to choose for guitar cables?
Grinhooks
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#1
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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What wire to choose for guitar cables?

What's a good cable to select for making high-quality guitar cables? These will be for stage use. I want low capacitance, good shielding, durability, and flexibility. I've had good luck with Belden 9778 in the past, but that was 20 years ago - what's good now?

I'll be using Switchcraft plugs - standard on one end, Silent on the other. Connections will be soldered.

Thanx!

PS, Belden just answered my email and they recommend 9778 as the pro choice for years. Are there other choices from other companies?

George in Atlanta
#2
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
  #2
Gear Head
 

George L's ain't bad...

-Jake
#3
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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preben's Avatar
 

I'm with jwag on the George L's. I use the standard black ones but have heard good things about the newer red ones - haven't tried those myself, though.

In the plug department (without turning into Eric Johnson here): brass plugs WILL give you a slighter different sound than steel ones, but I believe the ones you're talking about are steel..??
Grinhooks
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13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by jwag
George L's ain't bad...
True, and I do use those too, both black and red, but the key thing about these cables will be the Switchcraft silent plug. I may be mistaken but I don't think the rubber strain relief grommet on that plug will squinch down tight enough on the skinny George L cable to be effective. This will be the final guitar-side cable, everything else in the signal path gets George Ls. Besides, the GLs tangle too easily for my taste - they're fine for stationary lines, once taped down, but don't act right on a moving player. A heavier (ie, standard size) cable lays down properly and doesn't tangle so much. I've had some Bill Lawrence cables, precursor to GLs, for over 20 years with no problems. I know they're good stuff, but not for this application.

The Silent plug is key in my stage life - I host 3 jam nights a week, and have players moving in & out all night. I want to make silent cables for both our guitar amps and our bass amp.

Before someone suggests I buy Planet Wave cables with the switch on the plug, as I understand that switch has to actually be squeezed to work. I guarantee a very small percentage of our guest players will remember to use that plug properly. The Switchcraft plug works the opposite way - it's automatically shorted out & fully silent until fully inserted.

One other hint - the only problem I've had with GLs is the right-angle jacks, the cap comes unscrewed. A drop of thread dope fixes that, apparently permanently so far.
#5
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
  #5
same here:
Guitar to effects, effects to amp = Planet waves
between effects = George L's

Andi
#6
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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Sorry - I didn't read your original post correctly. For stage use - particularly something like a jam session - I wouldn't pick George L. Whilst I love the sound of them, they are just to fragile for stage use (in my opinion obviously) and also to noisy when being moved around.

For live work I use Spectraflex with a silent plug. It doesn't quite as detailed as the George L. but hey, after just one pint it almost does... no F***ker will ever know the difference in that kind of setting. And more importantly: it has worked flawlessly for many many years.

Sorry for not paying proper attention to the original post
#7
13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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I was actually using Mogami Quad with Neutrik ends.... but... I just went back to George L.... with Switchcraft ends. The George L ends suck...but the don't ever connect right... no matter how good you are at it. So, I solder the switchcraft in. I hate that it's so hard to work with... but it's worth it.

I went back to George L because while the Mogami sounds "thick", the top end goes away. The George L sounds full, but will almost no discernable top end loss. I love the stuff. It is a pain to use live though because it tangles easily.

that's my 2 cents....
Grinhooks
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13th May 2004
Old 13th May 2004
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preben said:
Sorry - I didn't read your original post correctly. For stage use - particularly something like a jam session - I wouldn't pick George L. Whilst I love the sound of them, they are just to fragile for stage use (in my opinion obviously) and also to noisy when being moved around.
I haven't had problems with noise or fragility, but moot point for my question. I'll look into it.

For live work I use Spectraflex with a silent plug. It doesn't quite as detailed as the George L. but hey, after just one pint it almost does... no F***ker will ever know the difference in that kind of setting. And more importantly: it has worked flawlessly for many many years.
Now we're getting somewhere. I just looked up Spectraflex and I see they're finished cables, not raw wire. The "silent plug" they refer to is a Switchcraft #181 or similar? I didn't see an example on the site giving more details of the plug.

Sorry for not paying proper attention to the original post
No problem. I also didn't mention I teach about 60 guitar students, so there are lots more opportunities to benefit from silent plugs.
#9
19th May 2004
Old 19th May 2004
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Where is a good place to buy George L cables? I assume you could just buy the cable in bulk... right?
#10
19th May 2004
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#11
19th May 2004
Old 19th May 2004
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George L's are my fave, planet waves always sound hyped to me in the mids
#12
20th May 2004
Old 20th May 2004
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Grinhooks
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#13
20th May 2004
Old 20th May 2004
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An extremely helpful guy at Switchcraft recommended the Belden 9778, and suggested I also look into Gepco GLC20. While the Belden cable's capacitance is a respectable 47pF per foot, the Gepco comes in at only 32pF. He says he uses it in his own studio. The downside is that the Switchcraft plug's exit hole is .25" in diameter; while the Belden 9778 is a near perfect fit at .235" (which allows for heatshrink tubing) the Gepco GLC20 is .265", a tad too big. He said yes, he did have to drill out his plugs. Not something I want to do much of, especially since little metal bits and electronics do not play well together. All said & done, I'll probably get the Belden, but will also contact Gepco for an engineering sample.

I don't know what kind of cable the George L actually is, at first glance it didn't match the audio coax types listed at Belden. Thought it might be RG-178 at first, but now I don't think so. Anyway, it just wouldn't seem right to have that big honkin' Harley of a silent plug on the end of that skinny little cable, so I'm not even considering that.

A bit of Felix Unger correctness: the male part is the plug, the female part is the jack (sounds wrong, doesn't it?).

best wishes from Atlanta
Grinhooks
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#14
21st May 2004
Old 21st May 2004
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George L tip

Although I've ruled out George Ls for this particular application only (I'll use it for everything else), I can't resist adding one last tip.

The only malfunction problems I've ever had or heard of with George Ls are if they use the right-angle ends. The screw-on caps come loose, and since they are the part that makes the connection, the cable fails. A drop of thread dope (Tite'n, ThreadLock, VibraTite, etc) keeps the cap in place. Don't use very much, as you need a good electrical connection between cap & body - use only enough to fill the microgaps where the metal isn't touching. Perhaps you should even tighten the cap THEN apply the dope, so that parts already touching won't get coated. Either way, since I redid my ends a year ago with this method, no failures. GL sells cute little rubber endcaps that might also help with this, but at nearly $2 each I'll stick with my method.
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