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Why No Nuts?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Awesome Sauce, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Every time I read a thread or an article on guitar wiring, the author says to tie off any unconnected wires w/ tape or shrink tube. Are wire nuts off-limits or bad for some electrical reason of which I am not aware, or is it merely aesthetics?


  2. I use shrink tube, it is easy to use and everything looks clean after work is done.

    I think wire nuts are more suitable for thicker wires, but I use only electric tape for electrical works
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    The small wire size and the fact that a single wire is being capped off, can make it
    difficult or impossible for the wire nut to grab the wire end.
  4. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    Plus, a wire nut might flop around inside the cavity and that wouldn't sound too cool.
  5. cricman


    Feb 23, 2013
    West of Dallas
    Movement. Wire nuts are great for static applications, but the movement and vibration of a bass guitar being played may cause them to loosen and cause a poor or failed connection.

  6. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    All good points.
  7. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
    I already have a loose nut holding the bass don't need 'em rolling around in the control cavity too. :D
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    wire nuts and electrical tape (along with JB weld, gorilla glue and WD-40) have no place in guitar repair.

    (OK, electrical tape will get you by for home pickup installs, but pros don't touch it and use heat-shrink instead, far more reliable and less sticky.)
  9. "Q"


    Feb 9, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    I've used wire nuts to hook up many many garbage disposals in the last 8 years and never had a problem.
  10. "Q"


    Feb 9, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    Walter, you give great advice but, wire nuts are as valid as any other connection provided they fit the wire. I'd certainly prefer them to a bad solder job which is what most ppl will do unless they have some good experience soldering.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    [QUOTE="Q";13958082]I've used wire nuts to hook up many many garbage disposals in the last 8 years and never had a problem.[/QUOTE]

    But then you weren't worried about the tone your disposal had when it was running either!

    Big problem with wire nuts is they can vibrate against the inside of the cavity making noises and of course, vibrating themselves loose. Shrink tube over a soldered joint won't make significant noise no matter what it gets up against. Electrical tape won't either but unless you use the highest quality tape, it will tend to get sticky later and even worse come unstuck and come off allowing the joint to short to ground. Just save yourself the headache and stick with Radio Shack shrink tube and the hair dryer.
  12. I feel like they gave my disposal an upper mid range harshness that I wasn't fond of. Nothing beats the quility of a dispoal wired with 00 welding cable. I used monster cable to the switch. Sometimes I drop a fork in it if I'm in the mood for dub-step.

    I hope no one takes me seriously. IRL my disposal is broke :(
  13. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    I can't remember the exact situation, but I found that twisting isn't enough and solder on that connection fixed the problem I was having. I think a nut would have worked too. Sorry I can't remember the exact situtation.
  14. Just have to use the correct size wirenuts,if you're worried about them loosening,tape over them.I've been using wirenuts in commercial industrial applications(including nuke plants) for 35 years and if they're the correct size and installed properly,they're a great connection.
  15. chaosmic


    Feb 6, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Sounds to me like you should've tried some wire nuts from '63....they don't make 'em like they used to.
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Because I have to solder things anyway, it's easier to solder everything than to solder some connections and twist & nut others.

  17. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    I can't think of any good reason to use a wire nut to cap off an unused wire. The control cavities in my instruments are cluttered enough without excess wire and a wire nut taking up space.
  18. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    It is surely best to solder wires and use shrink tape.
    Soldered wires can last for many decades and there is no way to get loose. No mechanic influence can loose a soldered connection - it would break the wire before.

    Normal tape "glues" - and glue "fanishes" through the years.
    Professional electronic tape can be okay for decades! My father was a professional electronic. I still have electronic tape that does its work for 28 years now ...
    High quality electronic tape is a good solution if you may "cut" the conjunction sometime.

    Shrunk tube works different.
    Heated, the tube molecules change "their position" and the tube shrinks - forever.
    The only way the shrinked tube can be damaged are knifes, rubbing until it is gone, nuclear explosions or an asteroid impact nearby ...

    Reasons to use tape are the posibility to loosen it and forgetfulness of mankind (oops, wires already soldered, but forgot the shrink tube.
  19. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Wow, this thread has really gone places; I didn't expect 5-6 replies to be honest. I wasn't postulating any habit or action of my own, but rather posing a question conceived out of ignorance and naivete. I am far from an expert on electrical/electronic matters and was merely curious.

    It seems the matter it quite simple. While one can use nuts if one so desires, the ready availability of tubing, along w/ it's easy workability, negligible cost, aesthetic benefits, and the fact that every hardware store stocks it right next to the nuts, provides no logical reason to use anything else. Of course, if you really don't want to make that trip to the hardware store...well, logic tends to take a back seat.

  20. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    I am NO skilled electronic!

    But I'm a skilled "German industrial mechanic". This means 3.5 years of education. 3-4 days per week in the factory from basics to full skill ans 1-2 days a week in school to learn theoretical background of materials, read, learn and draw technicals schematics, engeneering standards, pneumatic, programming and running CNC machines +++

    So I know what "form-closing", "force-fit" and "material-closing" mean, advantages and disadvantages of the methods, when to use which form of "closing/fit".

    As I am no skilled electronic, I can only transfer my knowledge as a skilled metal worker to electronic issues and bass needs (which may differ from wiring in a house etc.).

    Nuts and the "modern" SD screw connections may be good for "easy wiring".
    But a bass vibrates. Every force-fit contact will get loose sometime when vibration occurs. Vibration also damges material-closing (soldering) and shrunk tubes - but MUCH later!

    Tape uses only adhesive force - so, the vibration (and aging processes) have influence. The quality of the glue (adhesive force) has great influence.

    The question is: What do I need?
    Do I only play a bit at home or have 5 gigs a year?
    Am I a professional who has 100 gigs a year and has to rely on the bass 99.9%?

    When you know that XY is your wiring, you will "never" change it again and you have to rely on your bass with as less care and maintenance as possible: Soldering and shunk tubes are the only correct way.

    But there are thousands of good reasons for hobby musicians to choose another way!!!

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