#1
Hi guys,

I'm preparing to change all the electronics in my guitar, all the pots, 5-way switch and even the output jack.

Naturally I'm gonna change all the wires for the electronics at the same time. So I'm wondering, what are the best wires to use.

I've seen tonnes of options around.

Solid vs stranded cores
copper vs silver-gold alloy
braided vs pvs insulation
uninsulated vs insulated
coated vs uncoated
teflon vs other coating
screened vs unscreen wires
Shielded cores vs shielded wires
any thing from 18 AWG up to 26 AWG.

I've read up a lot on quite the few various option and know quite a bit of their features, but I have no idea what's a good recommendation.

So I'm wondering, what do you guys usually use? Any recommendations for the best possible wires around? There are simply so many options I'm not even sure what's great.

Ooo and url links to some samples would be great.

Thanks guys.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Mar 24, 2009,
#4
BUMP.

Anyone got any other suggestions advice?
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#5
dude, we've already told you what you need. need proof? my gibson used braided shielded wire. it also has heat shrink tubing. also change the caps while you're at it. also, if a gibson isn't a strong enough example for you than what'd wrong with you? but seriously dude. just go with a braided shield and you'll be set. maybe put copper tape around the cavity, and ground it.
#6
No, I'd use solid core.
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Quote by handbanana
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#7
Quote by blandguitar
dude, we've already told you what you need. need proof? my gibson used braided shielded wire. it also has heat shrink tubing. also change the caps while you're at it. also, if a gibson isn't a strong enough example for you than what'd wrong with you? but seriously dude. just go with a braided shield and you'll be set. maybe put copper tape around the cavity, and ground it.


Nah don't need proof, I was just wondering what others would use. Obviously I appreciate your input too.

Also I need to check , do you actually ground the metal braids on your wires? I read a number of articles which suggested that the braids will need to be grounded as well, and an electronics engineer told me that the grounding of the braids might actually be more important than the grounding of the wire itself in some circumstances.

If you do ground the braids where do you ground them to?
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#8
the braids get grounded yes. and ground them to any ground, usually it'd be on the back of any pot the wire went over, the braid does the same job as the copper tape, it picks up radio interference, and puts it into the ground rather than letting it get into your hot.

will^ suggested solid wire, its really not a bad idea, it'll conduct a little better than stranded. but really the choice is up ta you.
#9
Quote by blandguitar
the braids get grounded yes. and ground them to any ground, usually it'd be on the back of any pot the wire went over, the braid does the same job as the copper tape, it picks up radio interference, and puts it into the ground rather than letting it get into your hot.

will^ suggested solid wire, its really not a bad idea, it'll conduct a little better than stranded. but really the choice is up ta you.


So after I solder the wires to wherever it needs to go, I'll need to draw out at least one braid and solder it to the ground / pot? Or would I need to ground a large strip to the ground / pot?

Yeah I was thinking about solid cores as well, but then the possibility of breakages and not being able to thin the wires kinda sets that back for me. The flexibility of stranded is probably what I'd go for.

Also, if I use gold or silver, would it be a little excessive. Since the wires from the pickups are already copper, there would be a reduction in the frequency response and conductivity of the signal as it comes from pickups would already have impacted the tone. Or am I missing something here.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Mar 25, 2009,
#10
typically you strip off the cover around the shielding, then you strip off about an 8th of and inch maybe a little more to connect the wire part, you kinda separate the braid and shift it all to the one side and twist it together, then solder that to the ground.

edit: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=730505&page=1&highlight=cable+tutorial
on the first page of that he shows how you gather the ground shield.

edit2: stranded is more moveable, but if you'll rarely go in, solid core would be better, and i would go with gold or silver, just a waste of money, shielded wire is shielded wire for this.
Last edited by blandguitar at Mar 25, 2009,
#11
Quote by blandguitar
typically you strip off the cover around the shielding, then you strip off about an 8th of and inch maybe a little more to connect the wire part, you kinda separate the braid and shift it all to the one side and twist it together, then solder that to the ground.

edit: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=730505&page=1&highlight=cable+tutorial
on the first page of that he shows how you gather the ground shield.

edit2: stranded is more moveable, but if you'll rarely go in, solid core would be better, and i would go with gold or silver, just a waste of money, shielded wire is shielded wire for this.


Awesome, thanx lots
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#13
Oh, one thing I'd like to add:

There's no question that using shielded wire will reduce interference. BUT, it will be extremely tedious, to the point of being impractial, to ground the shield on every wire in your guitar.

Using copper shielding tape to cover the control cavity (which I believe blandguitar already suggested) will almost completely eliminate any noise or interference, and it is much more practical the using shielded wire for everything.

If you want to do this to the fullest extent, cover the entire control cavity and the pickup cavities with copper tape, and use shielded wire just for the longer runs.

guitarnuts.com has a very good in-depth guide to eliminating interference, I think its called 'quieting the beast.'
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#14
It's better to use unshielded wire and shield the guitars body cavities than it is to use shielded wire and unshielded cavities. The reason is that the shielding acts like a capacitor and sucks away top end. I guess it doesn't make much difference in instruments where the volume pot is the 1st thing in the circuit, like an LP, but when the volume is the last thing in the circuit, like a strat, lots of high end will be lost when you turn the volume down. So if you are using a circuit where the last thing is the volume pot don't use shielded wire, just shield the guitar it's self. If you are wiring it so the volume is 1st then go ahead and use shielded wire.

Multi Strand wire is better than solid core

The wire should be insulated but it doesn't matter if it cotton, teflon, PVC, or whatever.
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#15
Soooo...

I should be looking at something with these specs?

1. Single core
2. Insulated - cotton or PVC... I suppose the push-back wires would be a nice touch
3. Stranded wire
4. 20 - 24 gauge
5. Unshielded wires - Since in this case I will be installing it in my Ibanez which hits the 5-way switch first, I should be using unshielded wires, then shield my guitar cavity
6. Copper wires - the higher the copper content the better?

Did I miss out anything. I'm planning to go wire shopping tomorrow, and I wouldn't wanna buy the wrong cables or miss out any critical specs.

So I should only buy shielded wires if the hook-ups go to the volume pot first.

Thanks everyone
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#16
^that sounds about right, but don't get too caught up in trying to find copper wire. If you are going to go with the push back wire (that is the easiest option) then just go to stewmac, allparts, or mojo and get the stuff that is recommended for strat pickup leads, it's not copper but you won't hear a difference.

I guess the shielded wire only really changes the tone when you turn down the volume and yeah... That will only change the tone when the volume pot is at the end are the circuit. It's not the end of the world to use shielded wire even if your volume pot is the last thing in the circuit but if you do use shielded wire I'd make sure you put a cap on the volume pot jumping the left and middle lugs, like you see on ibanez volume pots. If you have this cap then the shielded wire won't hurt anything.
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