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quick question (speaker vs. instrument cable)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by p0k, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    I have a short cable and i think it might be a speaker cable but i'm not 100% sure. is there an easy way for me to tell? i can unscrew the tip but i don't really know what to look for. i don't want to break my amp! thanks!
  2. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    If it's not a molded plug cable, unscrew the shell of one of the connectors and look at the wires that attach to the solder lugs. If it's coaxial, i.e., one wire in the middle and the other a braided or twisted shield around it, then it's an instrument cable. If it's two parallel wires, it's a speaker cable.

    If it is a molded plug design, it's more than likely a cheap instrument cable.
  3. There's a few ways to tell. Is there anything written on the cable itself? If you unscrew the plug, you might see a shield, indicating instrument cable.
  4. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    i'm at work but i'll give it a look when i get home. thanks guys.
  5. bassman10096


    Jul 30, 2004
    The biggest difference between the two is that an instrument cable is insulated, to protect the rather weak impulses coming from your pickups (or preamp) to your amp from electrical interference. A speaker cable is built to carry much stronger electrical current - enough to move the magnets in your speakers. That level of current is nowhere near as sensitive to interference, so generally less insulation and a lot thicker wire (to carry more juice).

    All that said, plug your bass into your amp with the cable. If it's an instrument cable it will sound fine. If a speaker cable, you'll usually hear at least some noise.

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