Lead trouble

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Coeball, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Coeball


    Aug 25, 2007
    My bass leads just keep on dying. There are of a good quality as well any suggestions as to why this is happening?
  2. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    There are high end guitar cables and they can get expensive. If you have been using cheap cables and get a good guitar cord you will hear a difference in level and in tone.

    But you have to take care of your cables, don't wrap them up in a tight little circle, or make any make them bend into tight loops. That starts breaking down the strands of wire inside the cables. Wrap them up in loose circle. Avoid stepping on your cables, again bad for the strands of wire inside. Make sure the jacks are clean. If you playing everyday they should be, but if they sit for awhile they can't get some corrosion depending on the climate where you live. A little steel wool will clean the jacks up. Make sure you unplugging your bass by grabbing the jack and not just yanking on the cable. Make sure the solder joints in the jack are good hot solder joints.

    Your cables are your life blood as a musician gigging or recording. He need to be able to depend on them, no crackles, or buzzz from disconnects. Take care of them they will last a long time.

    I used to do roadie for band back in the day. Before every tour I would sit and make new(or repair) guitar and speaker cords so I knew they were all good. I never had cord trouble on stage. When I first got into recording I worked in a studio breaking down sessions and caring for the mic's and cables. You learn to wind cables right and see first hand if people are stepping on cables they start to break. Then as a computer IT person supporting 24/7 server the cabling again is important that is where you learn a lot about how tight a radius a cable can tolerate.

    So yes there are good cables and high-end cables, but either way you need to care for your cables or no one gets to hear you.
  3. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Most guitar cords seem to fail somewhere very near the plug ends from being repeatedly bent and tugged on. Try unscrewing the ends of a few of your old damaged cords for a close inspection. Have either one of the wires been torn loose from its soldered connections?
    If not, try removing the defective cables insulation back a few inches to find if the center wire or even the shielded-ground is broken.

    I usually wrap my guitar cords around my basses strap first, and then also run the cord through one of my cabs carry handles at the amp to gain much more strain relief for the cables ends and soldered plug connections. Unless your cords themselves are being somehow crushed or damaged from some other source, I'd guess my strain-relief cord advice would really help your situation.
  4. DocBop is right quality makes a difference and even more how you treat those cables. I have cables that have been in use for 30 years and the only times I've had a cable fail is when I loan one out, they often come back dead.
  5. Coeball


    Aug 25, 2007
    Thank you for your useful responses. Another related question:

    Is it good practice to leave the small leads that connect pedals in all the time?
  6. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Generally yes, unless you have a reason to disconnect them. Like there's a chance someone will trip on them and break the connectors.
  7. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004

    Personally I just use the over over technique it works and it suits me fine.

    Never have a cable tight on anything (like wrapping it around the elbow and forearm) Metals are open to a phenomenon known as work hardening. When you keep beating or bending a piece of metal it becomes more hard (feel free to make your own innuendo) keep going and it starts to crumble. Your cables are prone to the same thing. Avoid this by putting loose bends on the cable never wrapping it tight or putting extra pressure on it (standing on it for example)

    Any cable with a decent solder joint is sufficient. Never pay for improving tone or whatever no need for special magic cables that are extra expensive. Simply look after your cables and they will last you a long long time.

    No point putting extra wear on anything by constantly plugging and unplugging it when you don't have to. But I'm sure the jacks and 1/4" connectors have a decent life span. So I wouldn't let it worry too much either way.
  8. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    If your pedals run on batteries, you should disconnect the cables when the pedals are not in use or you'll run the batteries down.
  9. Coeball


    Aug 25, 2007
    mine run don't run on batteries but thanks anyway.
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