Need help on making cables for amp setup.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Hugh Jazz, Oct 3, 2001.

  1. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    First of all, I don't know if this is in the right forum. Probably not. But the mods can move it if they so desire.

    Anyway, here's my situation. I've a new rig now, and I want to make sure I don't have crappy cables. I've searched the forum, and I think the best solution is to make my own cables. Now my question is, what guage and type of cable do I need to get to make my instrument and speaker cables?

    I'm assuming that anything under 16 ga. is good for speaker cable, with 14 being a pretty common selection. Also, are there any specific 1/4" connectors/jacks that I should use? I'm considering something that's gold plated because I hate static and want to avoid it at all cost, and the quality is important too.

    As for instrument cables, would it be ok if I just used the same guage cable as I do for the speaker cables, or would I need something a lot thinner? If there are any ideal guages, please let me know. If I don't make my own instrument cable, I'll probably end up getting a 10-15 ft. DiMarzio or George L cable (which guage for George L?).

    Either way, I want to get all these cables taken care of asap so I can get back to playing! :D

  2. ryan morris

    ryan morris Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    hey, sorry i don't have much info about the cables but i love your name. it almost sounds like huge a**, ha. i'm only speaking on experience from car audio, but as far as speaker cables go it depends on how many watts and lengths and all that jazz. the more watts the bigger. i believe 14 is a bit small, but someone has to know more than me. might have something useful. later
  3. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm glad you caught on to that. ;)

    But yeah, thanks for the site. I'll check it out.

    As for the wattage mumbo's 600-625 watts (Mesa M2000) into two cabs (8 ohms each).
  4. First off, speaker cables and instrument cables are very different and should not be made from the same type of cable.

    Speaker cables should not be shielded. 16 gauge is probably fine if you are connecting a bass head to the cabinets. The shorter the better (3 to 8 feet).

    Instrument cables must be shielded wire. The shorter the better (less than 25 ft). The capacitance of the cable and connectors is what makes the difference here but I'm not sure what the technical specifics are.

    Second, I'm not sure what you find wrong with commercial cables (do they fail too often?, do they affect the sound?) Without knowing what problem you are trying to fix, it will be hard to improve on what you can purchase.

    Some good commercial cables should work just fine.

    Note: Good does not necessarily equate to most expensive.
  5. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    A friend of mine uses George L's and they keep breaking on him. The are nice in that they are easy to fix, but he has problems with them all the time. My $15 store-bought cable works fine and has for nearly a year!
  6. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    What about speaker cables? Which ones do you use, since you have the same amp?
  7. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I use George L's for all my interconnects, but I'd never use them for the cable from my bass to the preamp - I don't think they were made to withstand the abuse, unless you're sitting down all the time and not moving around. (For my bass I use cloth-covered Spectraflex cords - they never tangle).

    Homemade speaker cables are cheap and fun to make. Go down to your favorite hardware store and find some 16 GA rubber-covered power cord on a spool (usually comes in black and is made by Carol). I make mine 3 or 4 feet long and solder the ends to my jacks. If you are using Neutrik Speakons, then you can use up to 12 GA, but that's harder to find in the stores, so you'll have to get it mail order.

    Oh, and forget the gold plating - that's not for high-powered connections such as speakers. Gold plating sometimes experiences "burn through", and gold plating is therefore not used in high-amperage connections.

    If all else fails, you can't go wrong with 12 GA Whirlwind cables for $20 or so. Cheaper than Monster, easier than doing it yourself, and they work great. I have a Whirlwind cable that I bought in 1972 and it's still ticking...

  8. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks man, that helps a lot. :)