Guitar cables may not seem like a huge deal; however, for some, they are the only thing that differentiates between good and bad quality of the resulting sounds. Despite the difference, many musicians treat cables as an afterthought and grab the first ones that they see, without putting much thought into it.
This strategy may work for novices but when it comes to seasoned musicians that are doing gigs on a daily basis, having a good guitar cable can make a huge difference. Additionally, the need to have multiple sized cables is also necessary to facilitate gigging requirements. So, instead of buying guitar cables of varying sizes, it is better to create one within the comforts of your home!
Procuring the Material
When it comes to making guitar cables, you cannot just work with anything and hope for the best results. To ensure that the end product is worth the efforts, you need to procure high-quality material so that the cables last long. Here is a complete list of everything that you need:
- Wire strippers
- Cutters and pliers
- Solder and soldering iron
- High-quality jack plugs
- A low capacitance 1m cable
Required Steps to Making Your Guitar Cable
Before starting, here is a little pro tip: you can do all the soldering with your hands but the problem with this is that there is always the chance of burning yourself in the process. The professional way of dealing with this would be investing in a soldering stand with crocodile clips to hold everything in place.
Additionally, carry out the soldering guidelines on a heat resistance surface as to lessen the damage to your property.
1. Strip the Cables Down to the Shielding
With the help of wire cutters or pliers, cut off the ends of cable at the measured distance of 1-2cm. Once the outer covering is removed, carefully strip back the insulation layering along with some parts of the wire shielding. Be careful with this step as you need to avoid cutting through the copper conductor. Additionally, you need to ensure that your cable can easily fit into the jack plugs.
2. Tin the Contacts (Copper Wires and Lug of Plug)
The basic requirement of soldering is that both the ends of the wire need to be secured. Through tinning, adding tin to the contacts, you can prepare the contacts for soldering. For this purpose, you will still be using your solder and soldering tool to achieve the tinning of contacts. So, carefully tin the exposed copper wire’s contacts to ensure that they do not move too much or unravel during the actual soldering process.
Do not forget to tin the lug of the plug as well, but make sure to keep a light hand as you do not want to cover the surface with excessive solder.
After this step, the cable should easily fit right into the plug. Replace the plug casing back on the cable, lay down the wire shielding, and solder each strand carefully. Do not rush this step and take all the time you need.
After all the shielding has been secured, connect the cable’s copper wire with the plugs’ central terminal and solder it in place. Keep in mind that copper wire should never come in contact with any of the jack plug’s wires and the only point of contact between the two should be through the central terminal.
Take extra care when soldering the copper wire into the jack plug as any misstep can facilitate a connection between the plug’s wire and the copper wires of the cable.
4. Reconstructing the Cable Parts
Tightly screw back the plug’s casing so that the cable wires do not move around or dislodge from the connector’s casing. Once you are done, you can check the cable with a multi-meter.
A good guitar cable is an important part of delivering a good musical experience. Because of this, it is important to always invest in good quality material, regardless of the price tag.
All in all, make sure that you have properly soldered everything to minimize the instances of frying your cables for good!