If you are wondering how to keep your guitar cables in top shape and get the longest useful life out of them we have put together a quick guide to getting the most out of your cables year after year. Following the simple tips below, your guitar cables can easily last a decade or more.
With proper yet simple care techniques you can avoid issues like humming, popping, and complete guitar cable failure. These simple steps will prolong the life and effectiveness of both the copper shield which prevents EFI/RFI from interfering with your signal and your center conductor which carries your signal from guitar to amp. Lastly, proper care will prevent a very common issue that arises in guitar cables which are heavily used, and that is a broken connection between the cable and the connector/jack plug.
Sometimes Shorter Is Better
Always use the shortest guitar cable possible, but long enough that you have sufficient excess as to not have tension on your connectors/jack plugs. You will not have to deal with excess cable getting in the way or ending up near a power source introducing noise to your signal. Also, shorter guitar cable is always better for sound quality.
Protect Your Guitar Cables While Using Them
When using your guitar cables, keep them out of the path way of foot traffic and especially out of the way from getting smashed by heavy equipment like speakers and large amps. This will keep your jacket in tact which protects the copper shield in the cable and will help prevent any problems with your shielding breaking from kinks and pinches by heavy equipment smashing your cables. The guitar cable shielding is very important in preventing noise and interference from entering your signal.
How To Store Your Guitar Cables
After using your guitar cables the most important thing to do is to coil them up into a circle, the larger the better but the diameter of a basketball is a good rule. Remember, a circle is always better. We see people all the time just balling them up or coiling them in a figure 8 which is terrible for cable. You want to avoid any sharp bends or kinks in your cable as this will introduce tiny breaks in the shielding, rendering your shield ineffective and introducing noise to your signal.
Keep Your Guitar Cables Clean
Every few weeks or as needed under heavier use if you actively play live gigs, take a damp cotton cloth in your hand and run the cloth up and down the cable to remove any harmful dirt and build up. For the connectors/jack plugs, spray them with a little of Hosa’s DeoxIT contact cleaner and rub them with a soft cloth. This will remove any corrosion or oxidation that may have built up on the connectors which will improve the contact between the cable connector and guitar/amp improving the signal chain if needed.
These quick simple steps will dramatically increase the life of your guitar cables. Some of us have been using the same cables for more than a decade using the simple steps outlined above. It is easy to follow, start caring for your cables now!