I had a chance to go through another instrument cable crafting session and used the traditional method for clamping the ground lug to the cable and shielding braid this time. This method makes for a stronger connection since the lug is clamping to the tough outer insulator of the cable instead of the shielding braid. I thought I’d make a mini tutorial on doing it this way to compliment my other guide. This guide will be linked to from the other guide as an alternate method. Let’s get started.
Stripping the Cable
This time we’ll be stripping the cable a little differently. See the following illustration. This photo is a bit clearer than the one in the other guide. You can clearly see the different layers that have been stripped. First we removed about 3/4″ from the outer insulator only. Then we fanned out the copper braid that was exposed by pulling it all one direction around the cable and then the other direction until it was fanned out all the way to the orange insulator. Then we pulled it all to one side and twisted it together into a single lead.Next we stripped the tip down to the core wire just enough to make a good lead for connecting to the hot lug on the plug. Then we removed the thin black layer of conductive insulation to expose the non-conductive clear plastic insulation below. This is important to keep from shorting the circuit.
This project is a continuation of the Homemade Pedal Board project. Once a pedal board is constructed you need good quality patch cables to hook all of your pedals together with. You can buy these pre-made, but finding good quality cables can be tricky. To avoid this I decided to make my own with components I knew were of good quality. The details of this project can be applied to making patch cables or full size instrument cables.
Selecting the Components
I chose a Japanese instrument cable called Canare GS-6. This is a very widely used quality cable that comes at a very reasonable price. As an alternate, Mogami cable of similar construction is also considered a very high quality cable.
I chose to go with Switchcraft, a quality US manufacturer for the tips. These tips are widely used in quality cables. The straight tips are pretty well priced, but the 90 degree tips are about twice the price. They are still worth it to me.
I chose a 3:1 heatshrink tubing to seal my connections after assembly. 3:1 gives you plenty of room to slip it into place and still shrinks up nice and tight.
- Cable Strippers: for stripping multiple layers of the cable
- Soldering Iron and supplies: for soldering your cable to the tips
- Needle Nosed Pliers: for crimping your ground connection from the plug to the cable
- Hot Glue Gun: for potting the electrical connection after soldering
- Knives, scissors, rulers: for measuring and cutting your materials
- Heat gun, or lighter: something to shrink the tubing
Assembling the Cable:
Measuring Your Cable:
The first thing you want to do is determine how long your cable needs to be. In this example I’m going to be making a 12″ patch cable with one straight tip and one angled tip. To start, I’ll use my 4 foot straightedge to measure off 14″ of cable.
We are measuring 2″ longer than we need to account for the cable that will be housed inside of the tip casing.
You can go ahead and cut your heatshrink tubing as well. You’ll need 1-1/2″ sections for the angled connectors and 2″ sections for the straight connections.
Relining a guitar case can be a lot of work, but don’t let that scare you off. The results can be worth it as you are about to see.
I recently bought an old 1986 Ibanez RG530 Roadstar II. It came in a generic TKL chip board case. These cases aren’t that great but it served the purpose well enough. The problem I ran into was that the case and the guitar had been in storage for so long that the case lining had soaked up a musty nasty smell that no amount of cleaning or deodorizing could seem to remove. So my only option was to remove all the lining, seal up the chip board and reline the case with new materials. The following steps are the process I followed. I’ve never done this before so this was another learning experience, but it turned out fairly well.
This is what I had to start with.