A Note About Making Cables

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We get a lot of tech support calls from our customers asking why their signal sounds dull and muted when turning on certain loops on their RG-16 or Effect Gizmo. So far, every time it's been traced to cables that have not been made properly.

Most guitar cable (or most good guitar cable) is made with a conductive layer over the center insulator. It's there to combat the triboelectric effect - without it, you'll actually be able to plug the cable into the input of your amp, shake the cable, and hear noise coming through your amp.

If that conductor comes in contact with the center signal conductor, then you have a problem. It's equivalent to connecting a resistor between signal and ground, and that resistance (usually around 10k) is more than enough to cause your signal to lose treble and overall level.

Here's an example of such a cable. This is Mogami, but they all pretty much look the same. Note that the inner jacket is black. This is a pretty good sign that it has a conductive layer.

The correct way to deal with this is remove some of the coating so it doesn't get anywhere near the center conductor. The coating is pretty thin, and there should be a clear or white insulator underneath it.

Doing this will prevent any shorts and will keep you from spending several hours cursing your rig, wondering where your tone went!


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Here's a quick note on cable testing.

To test a cable, you need a ohmmeter or multimeter. If it has a range setting, set it to the lowest range. (usually 200 ohms) Put the probes on the tip of each cable. A good cable should read only an ohm or two.

Next, measure from the ground/sleeve of one end to the ground/sleeve of the other. This should also read just an ohm or two.

The next step, and most important step for detecting the problem shown above, is to measure from the tip to the sleeve on one end of the cable. Set the meter to a higher range, like 1Meg for this test. A good cable should read infinite resistance (be sure not to touch the connectors with your fingers while testing - it will throw off the measurements!). The lower the reading, the more this cable will screw up your tone.
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