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View Full Version : How do you know when you have a bad guitar cable?


dnauhei
01-13-2012, 11:19 AM
There is a very pronounced buzz, which stops when I tough the strings or the bridge. There also seems to be more noise than usual. The issue arises with different guitars, so I think I can rule out a problem with the guitar. All of the cables etc appear to be firmly in place. Is it a bad guitar cable?

tjinca1
01-13-2012, 11:21 AM
Only one way to find out. Try the chain taking out 1 cable at a time.

Luke V
01-13-2012, 02:37 PM
That is normal. When you touch the strings or bridge YOU are grounding the guitar. All guitars and amps do that. Turn the volume on the guitar all the way and there should be no buzz whether you are touching it or not.

chervokas
01-13-2012, 04:27 PM
That is normal. When you touch the strings or bridge YOU are grounding the guitar. All guitars and amps do that. Turn the volume on the guitar all the way and there should be no buzz whether you are touching it or not.


Actually I think the buzz goes away because you're grounding yourself through the strings, not because you're grounding the guitar through your body.

The guitar and strings are connected through the cable to the amp chassis ground. Your body is actually an antenna for noise and a source of noise and when you touch something on the guitar that's grounded you ground your body and channel that noise to ground. That's normal. The pickups and people picking up noise from various sources of EMF and RF radiation is normal (dimmers, transformers, computer monitors, florescent lights, etc). If you had a bad ground connection in the cable the buzz wouldn't go away when you touched the strings. Look for environmental sources of noise in the room where you're playing.

iama
01-13-2012, 04:42 PM
Sounds like a bad cable or amp ground issue. You aren't playing next to a neon beer sign, are you? That will definitely cause noise.

Certainly you've tried a different cable, yes? It had to be asked!

Hornacho
01-13-2012, 04:46 PM
I had a buzzing sound for 10 years on my guitar... when i switched to certain pickups. I had been using the same $20 guitar cable for those 10 years. Well, recently I picked up a new Mogami Platinum... Buzz completely gone. It was my crappy cable that was making the noise and I always thought it was the guitar. Not sure your problem is the same, but picking up a good cable is something I would suggest. If it doesn't help... then you can always return it.

dnauhei
01-13-2012, 05:35 PM
I am using what is considered a "good cable." And I didn't have this problem before. It makes me think something went wrong with the cable. I suppose I didn't take good care of it, stuffing it into gig bags and accidentally stepping on it. The only cable I have to compare to is a crappy one, so not much help.

willyboy
01-13-2012, 05:41 PM
best be checking your power sources as well. make sure your whole rig is powered by the same common source, otherwise you've got a high likelihood of ground loops especially with most residential and commercial wiring jobs.

dnauhei
01-13-2012, 05:50 PM
best be checking your power sources as well. make sure your whole rig is powered by the same common source, otherwise you've got a high likelihood of ground loops especially with most residential and commercial wiring jobs.

interesting. You mean the pedals and the amp need to be powered from the same power source?

chervokas
01-13-2012, 07:54 PM
best be checking your power sources as well. make sure your whole rig is powered by the same common source, otherwise you've got a high likelihood of ground loops especially with most residential and commercial wiring jobs.

Ground loop hum won't go away when you touch the strings.

AXXA
01-13-2012, 11:29 PM
That is normal. When you touch the strings or bridge YOU are grounding the guitar. All guitars and amps do that. Turn the volume on the guitar all the way and there should be no buzz whether you are touching it or not.

I don't think that having your guitar's volume full on changes anything, did you mean when your guitar's volume is all the way off?

Loop-Master
01-14-2012, 08:59 AM
Bad cables can do all sorts of whacked out problems. My dog had the squirts one time and I eliminated a bad cable in the batch and voila! Squirts gone.

zztomato
01-14-2012, 09:06 AM
It's true. I had a goitre for the longest time- bought some Lava Soar cables and it was gone in a week. A miracle I tell ya', a MIRACLE!!!

Once Far Off
01-14-2012, 09:13 AM
Bad cables can do all sorts of whacked out problems. My dog had the squirts one time and I eliminated a bad cable in the batch and voila! Squirts gone.

HAHAHA!!! Awesome!

Start by unscrewing the ends and inspecting the solder points. There should be no loose or broken strands of wire on either the tip or the sleeve.

If you have a multimeter that can test continuity you should be able to test the cable. Check from tip on one side to sleeve on the other, and also tip-tip, sleeve-sleeve - the resistance should be just a little above 0, and there should be no continuity at all between tip and sleeve.

The hum could also be with the guitar.