George L cable's, instrument and patch

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by rjtwangs, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I don't know if this is the right place or not, but any experience, opinions or thoughts would be appreciated. Mods, if this is in the wrong place feel free to move it.

    RJ
     
  2. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Holic

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    I’ve used them and really like them. Super easy to wire up a pedalboard or rack nice and clean without soldering, and emergency repairs are also dead-easy.
     
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  3. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm currently using them. They're easy to wire up with custom lengths for your board.

    I've used guitar cables from them in the past (actually still use them around the house). The thinner wire is easier to wrap up and lay out. The thicker cable doesn't want lay flat--the jacket is stiff.

    For playing out I use Magami cables. I just leave them in my cases and/or accessories bag. I leave the George L's at home hooked up to the practice kit--less stuff to chance forgetting when packing for a gig. The Mogami's are more flexible and thus lay down better on stage. I don't like tripping while playing.

    They are brighter sounding cables though so if you're not use to that it can be too much with tele's and blackface amps. Obviously you can adjust with tone controls, but the brightness is definitely there.

    They are a little pricey, but their right angle plugs are pretty small in profile for using on a board.
     
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  4. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    The right angle plug fits a regular Telecaster jack cup, so there's value in that.
     
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  5. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Holic

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    No, I gave up on them plugs ten years ago. I do a crossover. Using George L's CABLES but different plugs. The plugs has been nothing but trouble to me and they crap out intermittently no matter how good you've made them.

    I challenge anyone to hearing any diff between soldered and non soldered plugs. Especially short patch cables. There are better ones out there these days (these flat short ones) and George L is a thing of the past. I'll say those sealed molded cables have hold up better. I've have had to re-do George L's much more often than any other cable since they always crap out sooner or later.

    The solder is shielding the copper wire from patina, and verdigris, later down the road. The small tiny amount it will "better" anything is so subtle that it ain't worth the hassle. I use George L cables on regular pancake plugs as patch cable, and solder Goerge L cables onto anything else, like Neutrik plugs, or the sturdier ones for guitar leads. I thought they were a tad expensive too. If they crap out, well I'd rather buy a spare cable (just like you have spare strings) instead of tinkering with them finicky things again. Same with that other brand, was it Lava? or Evidence, Free the Tone you name it. The DIY soldering I've made so far hasn't crapped out on me as of yet, and it's been some 15 years by now.

    The CABLES (thin ones) are great sounding though. Especially with vintage passive pickups. But as I use more and more active EMG pickups you can use barbed wire or some posh audiophile cable in between and you can't tell the diff.

    Once they had some merit but has been overrun, and left astern these days. On bass guitar, I hear their shortcomings and liabilities. While they retain some bit more treble, all the bass range is gone. And not in a so subtle way. Cables I mean. Compared to other ones. Can't hear the difference between plugs anyway.
     
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  6. ahnadr

    ahnadr TDPRI Member

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    I have had mine for maybe 15 years and they're still good.
     
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  7. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

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    They short out. Even the ones they preassemble. I’ve tried numerous times, but I’m rough on cables.
     
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  8. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Learning to solder properly is a very valuable skill for a guitarist so invest in a good soldering station and just make your own with Mogami wire. You will be light-years ahead in doing so comprared to the solderless kits.
     
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  9. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Holic

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    Just anecdotal: KORG made these synth patch cables in the 70s. Came in package of 10 pieces. Molded, completely sealed. I bought one package of them in 1979. Not a typo. 1979. They are not angled, but straight ones. Still to this day, just one of them has died. 1 out of 10 since I happened to accidentally roll over my office chair wheels over it once. I e not crapped out due to wear or regular use. My fault. But 9 of them still working and sounding the same.


    1 out of 10 since 1979. I still use them and pull them out and push them into units ever so often.
    1979 - 2018, almost 2019 by now. 40 years. Lots of mileage. Can't remember if I used George L's back then, I don't think they were around, maybe they came as Bill Lawrence cables.

    With solder you isolate the copper from oxidation. If you have solderless, you have to, eventually, de-assemble them and cut a new fresh cut to get rid of the oxidized copper. And if you keep doing that the cable will get shorter and shorter each time. I've also discovered that those switchcraft pancake plugs actually takes up less real estate space between pedals. If you measure how much or little they "protrude" out from the back or side of the pedals. Verdict on George L''s:

    The plugs = bad. And then some.
    The cables = great. And then some.


    Also in the case of warranty. I've bought lifetime warranty cables by Klotz. They've built it in, in their price. I did return a Klotz cable to the music store after 9 years. Crapped out for no reason. They just handed me another new fresh one, no question asked. How does one deal with warranty, if a George L cable you've assembled (and for that matter soldered) yourself and it doesn't work? They keep on bickering "you've made them wrong" and keeps on saying that until hell freezes over.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Watch that HBO concert of Eric Johnson from the 90s (House Of Blues I think) , who swears by George L's cables and plugs, since way back, when it craps out on him, during the intro and first song. You can hear it too, during the spacey, hippy-trippy ambient intro of his. He just puts his hands up in the air. Crackles and pops. After the first tune, you can see him swapping some switches and cables out, at the back. If they do crap out on you, it's at the least convenient moment, of course. During your solo, during the gig. Never at a soundcheck where you can take care of the issues.


     
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  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The regular cables work fine for me, although they are a little stiff. Actually, too stiff to use onstage or even in my home studio. My legs are at about 80% capacity and I have balance problems as well. Anything onstage that loops up even a few inches is dangerous.

    I've used the patch cables for a long time, and love their flexibility and small right-angle plugs. They even come in cool colors, and several types of plug (nickel, brass, gold?). But, with every single one, no matter how aware I was of the potential problems, would suddenly crap out. I can clean up the crap by jiggling the cable at the plug ends, and if I position it just right, it will work until I touch it again (or if I touch whatever it is plugged into).

    This just makes me weep. The patch cable look and work great in a pedal arrangement. But they have zero credibility in my book, and I can't use them onstage (and shouldn't at home, except that they look so damn cool). From what I read here and elsewhere, it seems like almost everyone else has this problem.
     
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  11. Gin Mill Cowboy

    Gin Mill Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    I used them for patch cables and they lasted years. In fact I still have my original set. Lately I’ve been using mogami with the pancake ends. Great cable and the pancake ends allow me to fit my pedals to more neatly.
     
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  12. denny

    denny Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    i too have used them for at least 15 years. The small right-angle kit for pedal patches, and three long straight cables. Be aware that the small diameter cable, in lengths longer than about six feet, will tangle if you just look away. The larger diameter is best for longer cables. I have only had one long cable fail, and I just cut the end off and reinstalled the connector, two minutes, and has worked since. Maybe not the most robust connectors, but easy to fix. Still using them.
     
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  13. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Bill Lawrence cable's.

    I've been using mine for 15 years for everything... pedalboard's, guitar's and amp's. Probably a 1000+ gig's, and have had almost no problem with their performance. They actually amaze me and contribute to a very pristine sound. I love them!

    Very much like George L's (which I also have and rarely use).

    Get the Kit with 50ft (or so) of cable and plug's.

    IMO, it's a bargain.
     
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  14. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    They sound good, but they never worked right for me. One always flaked out, and I'd end up unplugging all my pedals and plugging straight into the amp.
     
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  15. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Holic

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    It's always 50/50. With these George L plugs.

    You know, even I had one of its proponents actually DO a cable or two for me, who said "You're assembling them wrong" and really was apt at the assembly. Took a couple of weeks, and then they crapped out again on me. The thing is with patch cables, is that those ones are the most prone to re-arrange, take in and out of pedals, moving them around. Any cable should at least stand for such treatment. Even if you handle them with outmost care when swapping them in and out of all jacks George L plugs craps out.

    And then again, you won't hear the slow degragation of the high end treble down the years since the copper wire inside, both shield and lead, are exposed to oxygene which no one of them are when it's soldered. They eventually grow patina (look at any green copper roof) and will put a veil on the sound. And if you have tiny grip on the cables with solderless, you can't have the too long, because the acutal cables weight will pull on the solderless connection and make it short out sooner. This is mostly guitar leads, and not patch cables.

    On top of this, even George L himself recommended a drop of Tite-bond glue on top of their angled plugs while assembling. Go figure. Go figure big time, and then some... :confused:o_O

    - - - - - - - -

    Also, such nitpicky thing as solderless, and ability to assemble them yourself at different lengths and make great sound at passive pickups and "passive" pedalboards is a thing of the past. These days, if you have buffer preamps such as Lehle, Skydstrup, or multi-fx pedalboards, the line is turned into low impedance anyway, and all such advantages of George L cables, plugs, will turn futile, and worthless, because as fast as you're turning your pedalboard chain into some low impedance signal, you can use any cable/plug at any lengths. All theses advantages of short cable lengths or solderless goes out of the windows. And this is the same if you happen to run any active pickups as well.

    Both Bill Lawrence, and George L's came forth in the mid/end of 70s when actually all these Asian made cables with totally molded and sealed plugs hit the shores at low prices. I for one thinks that a short patch cable will still have to have the plugs soldered anyway like the long one, so it's just as expensive in the manufacturing. Now, George L's left that one up to the user, and got rid of soldering, but still they cost more. If there should be some merit to these cables/plugs these days you should maybe sell them for a third of their former price if they went to hype this IKEA mentality upon to us all.

    But then, placebo works, and if people pay more than they should for something, the endownment effect plays tricks with our minds and all of us thinks it sounds better. And that the physical hassle with them from time to time, is worth the gorgeous sound they're making. The difference between George L and any other plug/cable with an active EMG pickup is basically nil. Not basically even, it's nil. In sound, in treble, or transparency.

    That some people never have had any problems with them for 15-20 years at all, doesn't make sense, since the comparison with other kinds of cables and plugs isn't there, which may have lasted just as well for 15-20 years or even more. I think those cables who had lifetime warranty (where I returned it 9 years later) is a better bet anyway. They have included that one in the price anyway. You have to leave the faulty one back, so you can't start some scam with them.

    - - - - - - -

    No music shop in Sweden carries them anymore, just because of the DIY, and their warranty. People are coming back and return them. And the warranty is a shady one, on these plugs. I e some customers fix this, and don't bother with them, but the majority of the customers are coming back, asking the shop to assemble them anyway for them.

    And as you could see with the EJ video above. They crap out anyway to the most meticulus professional players out there anyway. And, here it comes, always at the wrong time. But so it does with strings too. They snap in the middle of a gig, not at soundcheck and out from stage, in the studio or so...

    - - - - - - - - -

    I've tried to find Evidence cables old site on the way back machine, where the founder wrote a blog about drawbacks on solderless plugs and cables. Which was done slightly before they hit the market with their own take on solderless. They'd - very wisely - removed that "opinion blog" since people got wind of it, and it contradicted their own new products. Pity you can't dig out old web sites, from before they were edited. It was some ten years ago.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    EDIT: Here I've found something and I will print it in Verbatim. From a company Evidence, who once bad-rapped stranded cables, but still are selling them, and bad-rapped solderless so here we go:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20090302190701/http://www.evidenceaudio.com:80/product.html

    You have to read the FAQ of the MonoRail. It's tricky to get there:

    "Q) What are the pros and cons of solder-less cables?

    A) The pros are described well enough above. The cons? Let's break it down. While a mechanical connection is actually superior to a soldered connection, this is not the sort of mechanical connection we are talking about. You need a good mechanical connection where a joint is made from two similar metals pressed together so hard that they actually form an alloy. This can be described as a cold-weld. Or a crimp. A connection which is gas-tight; preventing any oxidation from occurring where the two materials make contact.

    With common solder-less cables you've got two connections to make. The center conductor must mate with the tip portion of a 1/4" plug and the shield must provide the ground contact by mating with the ring portion (or body) of the plug

    One of the challenges of building a quality cable is to maintain concentricity. Simply put concentricity is the ability to keep the middle in the middle. This happens fairly well however when you feed the cable into a solder-less plug, any tiny amount of slack coupled with any tiny deviance in concentricity means the small center pin inside the plug will make limited contact with some number of small strands available to it. Plus or Minus. It might end up between most of them. It may end up to the left of the strand bundle. Or the right.

    Whatever number of small strands the center pin lies against, there is a fixed amount of contact area available which doesn't approach "optimal". More importantly there is a fixed level of contact pressure which falls well short of that adjective.

    If you solicit feedback on solder-less cables you will find people falling into two camps with regard to the assembly process: "Love it" or "Hate it". The lovers woo the haters by convincing them to spend more time and caution building their cables. Cut carefully so as not to crush and change the concentricity. Develop the "feel" for how far in you need to push the cable to get good contact with the center conductor. The haters generally give up and tell the lovers they need to learn how to solder or find a friend who can do so.

    But wait there's more! We're not at the ground connection yet. I'm going to go fast here so stay with me... Solder-less cables in this application generally require you to turn a screw in order to cut through the jacket of the cable to make contact with the shield. Screws are meant to be durable. If they are soft they strip on the head or the threads. Soft metals such as copper conduct very well. Sadly copper plugs are impractical because they are so soft they would bend and oxidize. So we create alloys for our plugs with things like bronze and brass, and plate them for durability with something reasonably conductive like nickel. If we want to get fancy and charge more for something which sounds worse, we'll put a layer of gold over the nickel but that's a lesson for another day.

    But a screw? A screw must be much more durable than the plug. Keep in mind there is an inverse relationship between a metal's hardness and sound quality. When you realize how plugs are a step backwards from a good cable in terms of sound, think about the fact your ground connection is being made by a very hard screw made from material far worse than the plug itself -- with about the same random contact pressure and contact surface area obtained with the center pin. You're actually better off stripping the jacket off most solder-less cables, taking your chances on getting good contact with the center pin, and then screwing hard enough to press a large amount of the shield against the inside of the plug body on the opposite side of the screw. You heard that here first.

    With enough practice one can eventually achieve "reasonable" results in terms of making an electrical and mechanical contact with most solder-less plug solutions available today.

    Getting back to your question: The "Cons" then, as a result of the above factors, are a limitation placed on sound quality and ultimate reliability.

    For some, these cons are outweigh against the pros of a solder-less cable system being cheap and easy."

    Q) What am I trying to accomplish with a solder-less connection?


    A) Here's how it works. The various plugs out there have a hole you stick the cable in. At the bottom of this hole is an inverted needle which presses alongside the center conductor to make the positive contact with the plug's tip. Then a screw gets tightened on the side of the plug body until it cuts through the outer jacket and touches the shield to make the ground connection. Sounds pretty simple right? Well it is with some practice. You also need a nice clean cut that leaves the cable as round as possible. You may find yourself making three our four attempts before nailing a nice connection, but don't feel bad. You are not alone.

    If you can't get a nice cut after 2 or 3 tries you are using the wrong tool. Put the scissors away and try something else. Once you've got that clean cut, make sure the ground screw is fully backed out of the way. If it hits the cable as you push it in, you will be starting over."


    So there! An old (good) read from a company that makes solderless cables themselves, eventually! They've changed their minds on this, and did so on the stranded cables too. I do not think physics laws has changed a bit since 2009. Much of the stranded mumbo jumbo and skin-effect mumbo jumbo applies to audiophile stereo HiFi systems and not that much on guitars. This FAQ isn't present at their current website. They eventually saw their own contradicting theories (opinions, and physical law facts) to something which they sold. Luckily, Wayback Machine exists. :twisted:
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  16. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    If I am not insane, I believe I had a Maestro Fuzztone in the late 60s. Instead of two jacks, the guitar went into the input, while the output was sent out a cable that was attached to the unit. At the amp end of that cable was a solderless jack.

    Right?
     
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I have no issues with George L solderless patch cables. Some complain they loosen over time and fail. To make sure that doesn't happen, I give each cap a final twist with a pair of slipjoint pliers wrapped in a rag. Small price for lots of convenience, especially if you change your board once in a while.
     
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  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Do your cables last, then? Would you recommend that Eric Johnson do this? I mean, I'm trying to be serious, as I really do want to know if this is an option I should consider if I want 100% (99.9, 99.8,...) reliability in the studio and gigs.
     
  19. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's

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    I recently bought a Boss WL-20 wireless transmitter and receiver. Not cheap, but probably the best money spent on gear in a while. Came as kind of a surprise really, because I wasn't expecting to like it. The WL-20 is the version that simulates the capacitance of a regular cable. Sounds no different than the cheapish 10' cable I normally use into my pedalboard. There's a WL-20L version also that has no frequency roll off.
     
  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I wouldn't recommend anything to anyone. Just telling what works for me.

    But yes, they last. Once I started putting that plier twist on there, and of course checking each cable as it's made up... I've never had a failure. Maybe 6 years now... I make new cables as needed, but mostly I'm using the same set that I made up back then.
     
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