Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Instruments > Gear Building & Customizing
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 12-07-2007, 08:18 PM   #1
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
TwoString's Cable Tutorial

It's time for another TwoString tutorial...gather 'round and listen up.

One of the most overlooked parts of our signal chains are the patch cables that are linked beteen our pedals. Several questions are often mentioned about these cables (what do I buy, how much do I spend, etc). Here is a cheap way to get great cables that are also the exact length you need.

You will need...

1. An old guitar lead - everyone usually has an old one laying around. We're finally going to put it to use.

2. 1/4" plugs - I purchased Switchcraft 1/4" right angle plugs on Ebay for about a dollar each. You can usually buy them in lots and haggle with the seller for cheaper prices.

3. Tools - a soldering iron, rosin core solder, wire cutters, a razor blade/utility knife, and pliers.



The process.

1. Cut your cable into the lengths you need. You can choose to re-use the 1/4" plugs on the ends of the cable if you want. If not, just cut them off and throw them away.



2. Strip the ends of the cable. Take note that there are two conductors in a coax cable. The outer conductor is the shield. The inner conductor is the lead. You will need to strip each one independently. You only need to strip about 1/4" off of the outer jacket and 1/8" off of the inner jacket. I usually do this with a razor blade or utility knife as the wires inside of the cable are usually very thin and break easily when a wire stripper is used.





Once you have the outer jacket removed, carefully gather and twist the shield wires together.



You can now strip and expose the inner conductor.



You can also tin the wires if you choose to. My iron is rather low power and cannot keep up with the heat being drawn down the length of shielding.



4. Test fit the cable into the plug.



Let's look at the components of the plug in detail...

There are usually three parts to a plug. The plug body, the sheath, and the cap. The plug body is self explanitory. The sheath is a nylon tube that fits over the connections after soldering so the two conductors can remain separated. The cap is the part of the plug that screws on the bottom to protect the wire/plug joint.



The plug itself also has a few parts to take note of. The sleeve conductor will connect to the shield wire in the cable. The sleeve conductor is the long arm at the bottom of the plug in the picture below. The sleeve conductor also includes a clamp to hold the cable in place. This prevents the cable from being ripped out of the plug. The tip conductor will connect to the lead wire in the cable. This conductor is the small solder tab that extends off of the plastic mounting tab closer to the plug body.

__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 08:19 PM   #2
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
5. Connect the plug to the cable. First you will thread the lead conductor through the tab on the plug body. This connection will be soldered in place. Second, wrap the ground conductor under the jacket of the cable. Lay this in the clamp on the plug body. Using the pliers, clamp the cable in place. You do not need to solder the ground conductor in place as the clamp will hold it tightly enough to keep the connection solid. You can solder if you like, but I don't for ease of removing the cable should I need to make a longer/shorter cable.







6. Cover the cable connections with the nylon sheath.



7. Screw the cap onto the bottom of the plug body.



You've completed the first side of the cable. Keep in mind that before you clamp and solder the other plug in place, you will need to thread the plug cap and sheath (in that order) onto the cable from the other side. If not, you will not be able to put the sheath and cap on without removing the plug body from the cable again. You may want to place both caps and sleeves on the cable before clamping and soldering.

So that's all there is to it. You now have a custom patch cable that should stand up to years of abuse. In my book, this certainly beats paying $5+ for each patch cable on your board. My cables cost me $2 each, considering I didn't have to pay anything to cut up a cable I wasn't using.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhr - added 10/9/2008 by twostring - VERY IMPORTANT SIDE-NOTE!!
I was looking for a picture example to illustrate a problem a customer is having and see it repeated here so I thought I would warn you all. There is a step being missed here, that secondary inner black jacket has to be stripped back so it doesnt touch the tip connection in any way, obviously touching here. The black jacket is conductive, not enough to shut things down but enough to have 20K or so of resistance to ground robbing you of precious tone. You need to double strip cable that has that black inner jacket, you can just peal it away if the cable is already made. This is a very common problem since cable has been "improved" even from manufacturers making guitar cables, they rarely double strip this and it must be done ! I urge you all to check your cables even when store bought. This is a real issue and can be intermittent but it is easy to fix. This drove me crazy one long day in the mid 80's. Finally the manufacturers are warning people
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.

Last edited by TwoString : 10-10-2008 at 12:03 AM.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 08:25 PM   #3
NOtrab
UG's Pearl Jam freak
 
NOtrab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minto NB, CANADA
sweet
__________________
Fender American Standard Stratocaster
Ibanez TS-9
EHX Big Muff Pi
Companion Fuzz Box
EHX Pulsar
Boss DD-6
Fender Hot Rod Deville 212
NOtrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 09:15 PM   #4
kurtlives91
Let The Pretend Take Over
 
kurtlives91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto, Canada.
Nice tutorial.

So I got to ask. I see a lot of tone freaks and such go on about cables. How do cables differ? How can some be so expensive?
__________________
Shove me out to see
The sea
The quiet of December
To the deep I turn



My DIY Site: Amps, Pedals and More...
kurtlives91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:00 PM   #5
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtlives91
Nice tutorial.

So I got to ask. I see a lot of tone freaks and such go on about cables. How do cables differ? How can some be so expensive?


Mojo. The last set of cables I made were made from leftover coax from Time Warner when my cable TV was installed. As long as the cable has low resistance, low capacitance and doesn't suffer from microphonics or other noise, you're in good shape.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:09 PM   #6
christianbassis
UG Senior Member
 
christianbassis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
so an old coaxial cable is useable?
__________________
GEAR
Guitar
Ibanez RG42DX
Peavey Valveking100
Avatar 4x12 cabinet w/ Celestion Vintage 30's
Line 6 Spider 3
DOD Flanger
Ernie Ball Strings
Bass
Dean Edge 4
Peavey TNT 135
GHS Strings
christianbassis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:13 PM   #7
Ippon
Amped
 
Ippon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Left Coast
Nice! *subscribed*

__________________
Who To Listen To EG/GG&A and GB&C .. 7/ERG Field Marshall .. e-peen
Ippon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:14 PM   #8
Used666
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Nice tutorial, ive been making my cables for quite a while now and i wouldnt have it any other way, Mogami + Neutrik for me

Used666 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:16 PM   #9
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
Quote:
Originally Posted by christianbassis
so an old coaxial cable is useable?


Yup...you'll only be able to test it after you make it, but if you find a good cable, go with it.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 10:31 PM   #10
christianbassis
UG Senior Member
 
christianbassis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
kool, thnx.
__________________
GEAR
Guitar
Ibanez RG42DX
Peavey Valveking100
Avatar 4x12 cabinet w/ Celestion Vintage 30's
Line 6 Spider 3
DOD Flanger
Ernie Ball Strings
Bass
Dean Edge 4
Peavey TNT 135
GHS Strings
christianbassis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 11:17 PM   #11
XibanezedgeX
ME, yes me!
 
XibanezedgeX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dallas, PA
Noice!
TwoString strikes again with another great tutorial.
XibanezedgeX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2007, 06:35 AM   #12
Thewolf_and_man
Gain Addict
 
Thewolf_and_man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Between anode and cathode
Nice tutorial
__________________
Quote:
"I never liked those Deep Purples or those sort of things. I always hated it. I always thought it was a poor manís Led Zeppelin"
// Angus Young

+1
Thewolf_and_man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2007, 09:35 PM   #13
Miggy01
UG's Journey Fan
 
Miggy01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Gil Grissom > Horatio Drabble
what happens if the cable is kind of ****ty?
Will that transfer to the patch cable?
This is probably a stupid question.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chikitty_China
Good lord. You are amazing.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Jestersage
It's stereo amp, and I don't think it's tube. However, for a stereo amp, it is very good. Don't plug guitar into it; just use it as hi-fi if it works.
Miggy01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2007, 09:52 PM   #14
the_random_hero
UG's Fabricator
 
the_random_hero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: QLD, Australia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miggy01
what happens if the cable is kind of ****ty?
Will that transfer to the patch cable?
This is probably a stupid question.



There's never and stupid questions, just stupid answers One of the huge things that's overlooked with cables are it's flexibility. Some cables will be able to be bent 180 degrees with no problems, some will start snapping conductors. If you've got stiff cables, then I'd suggest you use straight plugs so they will be bent less.
The good thing about patch cables is that they are only short, hence the effects of impedance are a lot less noticeable. Even the cheapest cables I've seen had had adequate shielding, so this shouldn't become too much of an issue.
Over my side of the pond, it's almost cheaper to buy patch cables for $5 instead of buying plugs + cable (unless you're making rather large quantities of them). I hate how much everything costs here
__________________
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and **** what everyone else thinks."
the_random_hero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 06:41 PM   #15
Miggy01
UG's Journey Fan
 
Miggy01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Gil Grissom > Horatio Drabble
I meant more like I have an old cable that I don't use anymore because it crackles and stops working randomly. Will that transfer to the patch cable?
I'm guessing yes.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chikitty_China
Good lord. You are amazing.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Jestersage
It's stereo amp, and I don't think it's tube. However, for a stereo amp, it is very good. Don't plug guitar into it; just use it as hi-fi if it works.
Miggy01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 07:59 PM   #16
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miggy01
I meant more like I have an old cable that I don't use anymore because it crackles and stops working randomly. Will that transfer to the patch cable?
I'm guessing yes.


You shouldn't have any problems with the cable...what you were experiencing was most likely the result of loose connections at the plug ends of the cable. The rest of the cable should be fine. Try it and see...what do you have to loose?
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2007, 10:36 PM   #17
kurtlives91
Let The Pretend Take Over
 
kurtlives91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto, Canada.
TwoString those jacks are damn expensive. I was ordering some stuff from Smallbear the other night and thought about this thread. Jacks can go from $3 - $5. Buying a cable from my local shop costs $5.

Where are you getting your jacks? It also appears you are buying in bulk....
__________________
Shove me out to see
The sea
The quiet of December
To the deep I turn



My DIY Site: Amps, Pedals and More...
kurtlives91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2007, 10:46 PM   #18
TwoString
AKA Chad
 
TwoString's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Houston
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtlives91
TwoString those jacks are damn expensive. I was ordering some stuff from Smallbear the other night and thought about this thread. Jacks can go from $3 - $5. Buying a cable from my local shop costs $5.

Where are you getting your jacks? It also appears you are buying in bulk....


Yes, I am buying in bulk (20, sometimes 30 at a time), but I buy from Ebay. Smallbear is way overpriced.

15 plugs for $22

Best deal I can find right now.
__________________
Gear
My Pedalboard
Pedalboard Tutorial
Pedalboard Build
Patch Cable Tutorial
GT-8 Thread
Slide Clinic
7 Way Strat
LP Intonation Mod
My SRV Rig Thread


I build rigs and custom pedalboards...PM me for help or advice.
TwoString is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2007, 10:50 PM   #19
kurtlives91
Let The Pretend Take Over
 
kurtlives91's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto, Canada.
Thanks!
__________________
Shove me out to see
The sea
The quiet of December
To the deep I turn



My DIY Site: Amps, Pedals and More...
kurtlives91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2007, 05:59 AM   #20
CorduroyEW
UG's pickup winder
 
CorduroyEW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: In my workshop building pickups
Two string, Your tutorial threads are great. Your workspace always seems to neat and organized. Is it really that way or just for our benefit?
__________________
Currently not taking orders but hopefully I'll be up and running soon.
CorduroyEW is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:44 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.