Guitar Bar: Make Your Cables Last, Jack!

Just the other day at a rehearsal preparing for a tour, my fellow guitarist asked me if the guitar cable I was using was the same one I’d had “forever.”

I realized then that I had indeed been using that same cable for at least the past three years on tours around the world without it once ever giving me a problem. Why was that? I realized that with some basic cable care, I’d probably saved myself some money -– and more importantly -– embarrassing cable failure during a performance.

Follow these easy steps and you may just be able to do the same:

01. When pulling your cable out of a jack, always pull it from the barrel itself; never yank on the actual cable.

02. Get in the habit of looping your cable through the bottom end of your strap, and through the handle of your amp. This little bit of slack will not only help take the tension off where the cable is soldered to the jack; it also will keep you plugged in, should your cable get stepped on and yanked. You will also avoid the possibility of damaging your input jacks or bending the barrel of your jack.

03. I only lay out my cables after all the gear has been put in its proper place onstage and everything is miked up. Amps rolling over cables or folks stepping on them is a sure way to shorten the life of your cord.

04. I’m a big fan of coily cables. I never get tangled in them or step on them; they go where you go. Besides, they look cool!

05. Try right-angle cords. They can help take some stress off the jack if it gets yanked.

06. Learn how to wrap your cables properly. Take a few minutes and do a search online for how to do this properly. There are a lot of helpful videos folks have posted. It’s easy, and again, it will save you money and face down the road.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned, stay plugged in, and see you soon,

Jim @ Guitar Bar

Guitar Bar, at 160 First St. in Hoboken, New Jersey, 201-222-0915, has been serving New York City and New Jersey musicians since 1996. Vintage, new and used guitars, effects, amps and other cool stuff abound, and expert repairs and lessons are done on site. Owner James Mastro is an active touring and recording musician whose credits include Ian Hunter, Patti Smith, John Cale, Health & Happiness Show, The Bongos, Garland Jeffreys and Donovan, to name a few. Ask him gear-related questions (or anything!) by commenting on this and future blog posts.

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