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sheraton

Guitar Leads

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sheraton    20

How'do folks ;)

it came to mind, that as Guitar enthusiasts we are all concerned, obsessed even with our equipment and we think a lot about which Guitar and Amp would give us a better sound. however one thing that doesn't get as much time/thought is our leads.

i remember seeing a Guitar lead for £100 and initially thought this was a crazy price for a piece of cable. but if you have spent £1000 for a Guitar and maybe £500 for an amp (or more for each) then £100 is not crazy for a lead - why spend so much and connect them with a cheap piece of wire - it really does have an affect on the sound - after all an electric Guitar creates an electrical signal and a lot of signal quality can be lost with a cheap piece of cable.

if you have spent £100 on a guitar then Yes £100 for a lead is a lot - it's all relative to our budget

my Guitars are pretty inexpensive and my budget won't stretch quite that far for a lead, but it doesn't mean i need to buy the cheapest lead available there are good quality leads to be had for a reasonable price.

i recently replaced the patch leads on my pedal board with better quality leads - not really expensive, but i had initially bought cheap leads to connect my pedals - the difference is definitely noticeable - i also replaced my main Guitar cable, again this was not expensive (not the cheapest one available) but good quality ;)

oh aye - the leads i have are from Fender

Paul...........

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mset3    158

Paul,

I believe you get what you pay for up to a point. Beyond that point, I think your paying for the brand name. An inexpensive cable that is of good quality and properly shielded in my opinion will serve you well.

Mike

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sheraton    20

spot on Mike ;)

my Fender leads were £9 for a 10ft Guitar lead and £10 for two 6inch patch leads :) and are guaranteed for life - not the cheapest available but not too pricey - even for me...lol......and i have noticed a big difference in signal quality :)

for the record - quality was my point, not cost - i've known people (who shall remain nameless...lol) who have spent £3500 on a guitar and maybe a £1000 for an amp, then connected them with cheap, noisy, tone sucking leads, because they feel spending a bit more money on a lead to be of no significance.

also i don't believe any Guitar to be "worth" anything like £1000 - they are just tools

the £100 lead just got me thinking of expense being relative to budget - if a guitar can be worth £3500 then £100 for a lead seems reasonable - my "expensive" guitar was £300 and my lead at £9 is the same in terms of relative cost - i'm not promoting £100 for a lead, but quality should be top of the list - there will always be cheaper options but it may be false economy. i bought a pack of cheap patch leads for my pedalboard initially as i thought the Fender leads to be pricey at £5 each, but the jacks proved to be a bad fit for my pedals and the skinny cable had poor shielding..........

lol.......i rant on a bit........but, the point being - Leads are as important as Guitar/pickups/strings etc......

Paul.........

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zanadude    1

Yeah, I agree. Cost is my main goal.

My home made ones are probably about the same quality as the Fender leads, but come out a lot cheaper, I bought a spool of the Belden shielded wire probably about 20 years ago and still have half of a spool left. The plugs are pretty cheap to buy as well, but since they are soldered on instead of molded on I can repair them if the ends get damaged.

I'm pretty handy with the soldering iron so it only takes me 15 minutes or so to fab one up.

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scotty_b    16

I used to think expensive leads were a load of rubbish, until I was given some Monster Cable from a studio I had done some work for. They had some speaker cable left over and gave me a few metres for my home setup. It was pretty generous, as the cable the gave to me sold for $150 a metre at the time.

I was convinced that only idiots would pay for that until I connected my studio monitors to it - what a difference!

I have never tried the $150 Dimarzio leads floating around, but I would be curious to see what they are like. My biggest concern would be leaving it at a gig or having someone knock it off.

There are many factors in the signal chain and the lead is only one of them. It comes down to what we can hear, what we care about, how much we value the increase in tone that a certain lead will produce, etc. No right or wrong to it, just a matter for personal preference (and possibly some wisdom!).

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sheraton    20

Yeah, I agree. Cost is my main goal.

My home made ones are probably about the same quality as the Fender leads, but come out a lot cheaper, I bought a spool of the Belden shielded wire probably about 20 years ago and still have half of a spool left. The plugs are pretty cheap to buy as well, but since they are soldered on instead of molded on I can repair them if the ends get damaged.

I'm pretty handy with the soldering iron so it only takes me 15 minutes or so to fab one up.

i have repaired leads in the past, but my soldering skills aren't up to scratch - i managed to get a signal again, but i think excessive solder and dry solder affected the signal too much - a dodgy soldering iron and no flux doesn't help either...lol

how'do Scotty - it was a Monster cable i had seen that got me thinking of quality vs cost

another thing i've noticed is the affect pots and caps etc... have on the quality/tone of the signal

most of us would consider changing pickups on a guitar when a change of pots and/or caps may achieve the change in signal/tone we seek

i have a Yamaha guitar that i bought secondhand (for the locking trem) it had high output ceramic humbuckers, which i found a little too harsh sounding for my taste - i replaced the pickups for Epiphone Alnico humbuckers and found it was worse (to my ears/taste) until i changed the volume and tone pots (with original caps) (capacitors) that the (Epiphone) pickups were wired to originally.......this made a huge difference and the guitar is now better suited to my playing style..

it's some of the wee things that we often overlook in the quest for (individual) tonal perfection (or imperfection in my case)

i'd say pots and/or caps is one of the least expensive mods/upgrades we can try with an electric Guitar - bearing in mind even a company like Gibson will save money with cheaper components in these areas - £1 or £2 pounds saved on each guitar all adds up........

Paul............

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zanadude    1

I, personally, am no longer in search of tone.

I've been playing since the 50's and gathering my equipment for years, so I'm pretty set as far as gear goes. That is not to say that gear or modifications are not important, but rather that I have worked that all out and am satisfied with what I have. I suppose I can share my gear in another thread if there's any interest.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with searching for your tone nirvana, however and I wish you success if getting to your goal.

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sheraton    20

my opinion is that Guitars etc.... are tools to express what's within - and individual tone comes from within us

i have only ever used what equipment i had available to me(begged, borrowed or stolen...ok maybe not stolen...lol) - my recent purchase of leads was down to signal failure rather than tweaking tone, i decided to splash out a wee bit to get slightly better quality - a side affect was noticing the change in tone - as with the pickups i changed, a friend gave me his old pickups and as they were the same pickups as i have in my Sheraton i decided to change them - again this is when i noticed the change in tone after changing the pots and caps, more of a change than the pickups alone...

play what you've got i say :) and find your tone within..............and if you feel the need to tweak, some of the often overlooked components are worth considering ;)

Paul........

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