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Higher Quality Barrel Jack Than Switchcraft

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ddnidd1, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Does anyone make a higher quality stereo barrel jack than Switchcraft?
  2. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    No. They all suck, and fail, eventually; consider going to an electrosocket & a good Switchcraft "normal" jack, stereo if you need to have a battery turned on & off.
  3. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Barrel jacks are fine, they will give you plenty of service life. When they wear out they are cheap enough and easy enough to swap out that it is really no big deal. Especially because they look so much more professional than a jack plate, or even an electro-socket.
  5. Matt Lake

    Matt Lake Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2010
    Lost in the Ozarks
    I've replaced a lot of mine too. If the plug pulls one way or the other, they hum and pop. The barrel jacks don't seem to hold the plug as tight as a chassis mount style. You can't access the contacts to bend them in for more pressure. And because they are skinny, they naturally don't have as much spring leverage on the plug. I've used switchcraft and All-parts. They both seem about the same. I wish we could get a stronger spring in the same type of jack.
  6. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

  7. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Yes, they look great, but sorry - they suck for quality.

    It's not difficult to swap them out, but they just don't last and you can't 'adjust' them (as in bending the contacts) like a generic jack.

    I'm definitely going to give the Neutriks a shot.
  8. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I've never replaced one in all my years of playing guitar and bass why are people replacing so many?
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I have had some of them in service for over 5 years now without a failure. Are you not looping your cord through your strap, or putting excessive side force on them somehow?
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Probably haven't discovered the beauty of the right angle plug at the instrument end.
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    It's good that some people have had good luck with barrel jacks but maybe that's all it is: good luck? I've replaced several in my own instruments and when I was road teching I carried half a dozen barrel jacks and replaced several failed ones. This vs a big 0 replacement of failed 1/4" open frame jacks in mine or anyone else's instruments.
    Tinderwet likes this.
  12. Hi.

    IME Neutrik sucks the least, and I have also (re-)replaced quite a few barrel jacks over these few years I've been building/repairing MI gear.
    So Neutrik is the only one I'll install if anyone really prefers a barrel jack.

    The comments about the inability to retighten the contacts isn't quite true.
    Before the availability got better, people used to use dentists hooks to bend the contacts, but there's only limited amount of times one can do that.
    Then the contact just snaps in two.


    All the barrel jacks I have installed have failed again at least once (except the one in my DB tailpiece I installed a few months ago ;)), most of the other designs I've used or replaced have been going strong for a few decades.
    The oldest one I know I have is from ~67.
    Some may be even older.

    Tinderwet likes this.
  13. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    I only use right angle plugs and run the cord through the strap. I baby all my gear and my 20 year old basses are in mint condition.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    first i've heard of those "neutrik" versions being any better than switchcraft; judging by how many of each i've had to replace over the years, i kinda think it's a wash, they both suck compared to regular open panel jacks.
    Tinderwet likes this.
  15. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Neutrik are about par with Switchcraft. Barrel jack life seems to be user dependent. And yet, even the jacks that are carefully used go down.

    None of them are great. They all fail.

    But they are pretty. That's important to some folks.

    I used to use dental probes to re-tension the contacts, no charge. Then the complaints would come in when the jack would fail again a year later. Now we remove and replace. No complaints.
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    that, and they're easy to originally build for; one 1/2" hole drilled into the control cavity, done. that's why you see them on lots of cheap basses.
  17. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's been my experience, too. I haven't noticed any significant difference in quality.

    While barrel jacks aren't quite as butch as open frame jacks, I wouldn't go so far as to say they "suck". I've replaced them for other people and on used instruments that I purchased but I've never worn one out myself. I'm not going to speculate whether I'm careful or lucky, but I usually use right-angle plugs and always loop through the strap and I don't jump around much when I play. Players whose stage shows are a bit more - er - athletic than mine might have a much different experience.

    Jacks are inexpensive and easy to replace. Probably best to just think of them as expendables - like 9V batteries or even frets.
  18. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I usually run a stereo jack, but wired for mono. The extra prong that isn't hooked up to anything helps keep the 1/4" plug in place. I've only ever had one of these go bad, and it was one that came with an EMG set up. I replaced it 4 years ago, and it's still going strong.