Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
MaxHart85231281734137

head to cab cables?

Recommended Posts

Hey guys i have a black heart lil gaint, and i was just woundering, this being my first attempt into the tube world, and its the head and cab option one, it did not come with a cable to plug the head into the cab with, can i just use any old guitar cable or do they make specific cables for this particular application?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to buy a speaker cable... an instrument cable will technically work, but I don't know what the drawbacks are of using it... I know instrument cables are shielded, where speaker cables are not. Also, speaker cables are generally thicker gauge wire than instrument cables.

 

Don't buy one any longer than you need, either... the longer the cable, the more it sucks out of your tone. Excessively long cables will change the impedance of the speaker even, sometimes enough to have adverse effects on the amp. You'd probably be fine with something in the 1 to 3 foot range, I doubt you'd need to go longer than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know, shielded guitar cables tend to hold in heat caused by electrical energy, whereas unshielded cables dissipate that heat. Using a shielded guitar cable to connect an amp to a speaker can cause heat buildup from electricity, which can turn speaker voicecoils into "toaster elements" and burn them out. This same heat energy can burn out tubes, power transformers, etc. in the amp. On the other hand, unshielded cables can be used to connect a guitar to an amp, but lack of shielding causes the cable to act as an "antenna" for radio waves, electrical interference from lighting, etc. Compared to the electrical energy flowing from an amp to a speaker, the electrical signal generated by guitar pickups is very minute. I was not aware of this fact for the majority of my years playing guitar, so I often used guitar cords to hook speakers up to amps. I was very fortunate I did not burn anything up!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a short (2-3 feet) cable 16 gauge wire is ok, 14 is better. If you run 25-50 feet use a 12 gauge speaker cable. Unshielded cable should be used for speakers. Shielded cables can affect impedance and are generally much smaller wire that can't supply full power to the cab (18-22 guage wire).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
any good brands that yall could recomend?

 

Speaker cables are plain jane. You could actually use 16 guage lamp cord with a 1/4" plug on each end and be just fine. What ever your music store carries will do the job. Buy the shortest cable that will hook up your cab with a little spare length for repair in case some joker grabs the head and jerks it away while it is connected to the speaker cab.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like really robust stuff, because flakey doesn't last very long on the road and it's just not worth messing with. If you want truly stout cable but don't feel like spending $80 for a 4 foot length, make your own. Go to a home supply store and buy a few feet of 14/2 cable. That'll cost you about $2-$3. While you're there, grab some heat shrink tubing in two different sizes, one that'll fit over that cable and the other that'll fit over these:

 

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Switchcraft-184L-14-Phone-Plug-Large-Handle?sku=330351

 

I think you'll need 3/4" tubing, if I recall correctly. You'll need it to fit over the entire barrel of the plug assembly. The tubing will set you back about $2-$3, and the cable ends around $6.00 each. GC carries these (but call first, because they don't always have them in stock, and it sucks to make a wasted trip to GC), if you don't want to pay shipping from MF or somewhere else.

 

Now, just strip about an inch of the insulation on each end of the cable and about 1/4" of each wire, then slide a sleeve of the plug barrel, the plug insulator, and then a sleeve of the smaller heat shrink tubing over each end.

 

Twist the bare wires so that you don't have frays, and insert the white end into the hole on the plug end, bend the end around, and solder in place. Make sure you heat the surface, and not just the solder. Melt the solder onto the surface, not onto the iron.

 

Now, position the bare wires from the black lead onto the ground strap of the plug, and solder into place. When done with one, do the other side. Then, let it cool for a couple of minutes before you push the cable flush along the strap of the plug and into the crimp slot. Check your work for any loose wires or potential future problems. Think "Factory connections" as you examine. It should look like you would expect a very high quality cable connection to look...shiny solder, no clumping or dullness, no stray wires anywhere, etc.

 

Grab an ohmmeter and check for continuity. Check both hots, both grounds, and then ground and hot. You should have a small resistance on hot to hot, similar resistance on ground to ground, and no reading on hot to ground. If that's not the case, re-check your work before locking everything down. You're making a permanent cable end here, so you'd best make sure it's rock solid before you seal it up.

 

Crimp down to secure the cable.

 

Slide the smaller heat tubing all the way up the plug (it shouldn't be big enough to slide over the plug end...it should stop right at the flange, just before the actual plug portion begins), and put a heat source to it to shrink it tight.

 

Slide the plug end insulator up, then the barrel, and screw that on tightly. Now, take a sleeve of the large heat shrink tubing and slide it over the entire plug assembly. Line the end up so that it goes over the part that screws together. You want this tubing to lock down the plug, so that it never comes unscrewed, so you want it to overlap the front of the plug.

 

When you heat shrink this larger tubing down, you'll have an overlap of heat shrink tubing that extends a few inches beyond the cable end, and will give you oustanding cable relief.

 

Do the same on the other end, and you'll have a pro-level speaker cable that'll last many, many years, for about what you'd pay for a poor quality store-bought cable...about $20.

 

This may seem like a lot to go through for a simple $20 cable, but I can assure you that if done correctly, your finished product will rival cables costing several times that, and it will last you quite possibly for as long as you have a need for it. I have a pair of 3' patch cables that were made like this by a local tech in 1979, that are still fully useable and have never failed.

 

If you've never soldered before, this will give you some needed experience. Every guitarist should be able to perform basic electronic repairs on their cables and guitars, imo. Just remember to be patient and overly meticulous. Always think "factory" when you do this work. Don't take any shortcuts, because they will always lead to ultimate failure at some point. There's a reason why factory cables look the way they do, and why they work for a reasonable amount of time before failure. You want to follow the same basic procedures in making your own cables that a decent manufacturer would. Pretend that you're making this cable for your best friend, the electronics engineer, and it will give you many years of trouble-free service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...