We often find that the humble cable is the most overlooked item in many peoples inventory. While guitars, amplifiers, mixers, etc are usually well cared for, cables generally get a pretty rough ride.
Damaged cables create a lot of problems, ranging from bad signal through to complete rig failure.
In the event of a problem, check your cables before deciding that the problem lies elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for an amp or another critical piece of equipment to be sidelined during a gig, only to find later that a simple lead failure was the cause.
Here are some simple suggestions to help you avoid cable induced problems:
1/ Take care to store your cables correctly. Always wrap them so that they lie in their natural coil state. Screwing them up, or wrapping them around other objects will cause the conductors inside the cable to fail prematurely.
2/ Avoid pulling on the cables – it is too easy to yank on a snagged cable in the rush to pack up after a gig. If a cable is snagged, release it from the grip of its captor before wrapping it up. Many cable core breaks or connector failures are caused by over zealous tugging on snagged cables.
3/ Always use the correct cable for the job. Do not use a signal lead as a speaker cable, or vice versa. Using a signal lead as a speaker cable will ensure that at best you will sound bad, and at worst you will damage your amp.
4/ Check your cables regularly (it’s a good idea to keep a cable tester in your kit for this purpose) and clean the connectors with good quality contact cleaner on a periodic basis. Do not use WD40 for this job.
5/ Keep some spare cables and leads in your kit for emergencies. If you carry only just enough cables, you know what will happen one day….