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"telescoping shield" ...on instrument cable?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bob_Ross, Dec 24, 2017.


  1. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I posted this over on GearSlutz the other day but haven't seen any replies, thought I'd share here in case anyone has some insight:

    Is there any (hypothetical, anecdotal, etc.) reason for building a guitar cable out of 2-conductor + shield cable and tying the shield to the sleeve at one end only?

    iow, instead of using single-conductor plus shield cable and connecting tip>tip w/ the hot conductor and sleeve>sleeve w/ the shield, using 2-conductor + shield cable (i.e., balanced microphone cable) and tying tip>tip w/ the hot conductor, sleeve>sleeve w/ the cold conductor, and tying the shield to that cold conductor at one end only?

    I ask because I was just replacing a bad plug on a cable that's been in my collection for decades and I realized that's how it was constructed! Wondering if there's any possible advantage (real, or imagined) to constructing it that way, or if whoever made this cable was just being obsessive?
     
  2. That's a trick that's common in field instrumentation, think level gauges, flowmeters.
    Out there you'll have large gas turbines generating huge amounts of EMI, so the shielding connected at the ground end drains off the EMI & static electricity induced in the shielding.

    For what we do, there's no noticeable difference.
    Planet Waves has cables like this, grounded ended goes into the amp, but I notice no difference vs. a regular instrument cable.
    I guess you'd notice if you were playing alongside a gas turbine generator, but then you'd have bigger problems.
     
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  3. Indeed, some Planet Waves cables are done this way. Oddly enough, I found them for sale at Costco once!
     
  4. Our Fender dealer is using them for demo amps, because they wouldn't sell. I suspect D'Addario puts a higher price tag on them than standard cables & no one noticed a benefit.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that in the case of field instruments, the shielding is grounded to a separate item, usually to metal framing.

    So, the idea might be lost when you ground the shielding back to the amp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
    4StringTheorist likes this.

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