From barte–(at)– Fri Oct 28 11:23:41 CDT 1994
Article: 31046 of
From: barte–(at)– (Adrian Bartel)
Subject: Re: Guitar Cables
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 21:58:47
Organization: Electronic Eng, UND
Lines: 69
References: <1994Oct18.143501.2242--(at)>
X-Newsreader: Trumpet for Windows [Version 1.0 Rev A]

In article <1994Oct18.143501.2242--(at)> “Bob La Force” writes:
>From: “Bob La Force”
>Subject: Re: Guitar Cables
>Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 14:36:15 GMT

> This may be just a guess, but I think it has something to do with the
>direction of the winding in the braided ground. The cables I use are made by
>a local music store and are marked with the proper direction. Perhaps
>electron flow is better going with the winding than against it. (Hey, I’m a
>guitarist, not a physicist…..)

Oh no! Not more speculation…. as you say, guitarist, not physicist 🙂

I seem to remember typing a nice long posting about why cables can be
directional when this thread started. Maybe it got lost? It’s actually got
to do with the screening of the cable – the outer screen may be connected at
one end of the cable only, usually the amp/input end, to help reduce
inreference problems.

>>Another thing is cable directionality, got this from Eric Johnson’s engineer.
>>It DOES matter which way the signal flows through the cable, I did not
>>believe it at first, but… I adhered to this when building the cables for
>>my rack.

>I’m sure that you’ll understand when I say I’m a bit dubious concerning
>this, but I do try to keep an open mind. Can you tell us:

>1) What do you perceive to be the difference between each direction?
I doubt it makes any difference to the instrument sound, just reduces the

>2) Can one determine which is the “correct” direction by physically
> examining the cable, or does one need to play through it in
> order to find this out.
If the jack covers unscrew and the insides aren’t covered by heat shrink, it
should be easy 🙂

Otherwise, here’s my ASCII version…..

equipment output equipment input
eg. guitar eg. amp

TIP ———-signal——————– TIP

RING ——–signal ground———- RING

SLEEVE xx — screen ————– SLEEVE

xx = no connection this end.

>3) Can you propose any reason founded in the science and engineering
> of electronics that accounts for any difference?
Yup. But it’s late and I left my flameproof suit at home, so I leave that for
when I can write technical stuff WITHOUT silly mistakes. Check any good book
on PA if you doubt me.

>4) Have you performed any double blind tests to determine whether
> can actually tell a difference or have simply convinced yourself
> that there is a difference and you must therefore hear it?
We’ll leave “directional” cables that “sound different” to the hi-fi freaks
that can hear anything they want…. and have budgets for those crazy
ultra-pure silver aligned-crystal oxygen-free cable things that they like
using 🙂


From scowel–(at)– Sat Oct 29 20:36:39 CDT 1994
Article: 31116 of
From: scowel–(at)– (Steve Cowell)
Subject: Re: Guitar Cables
Date: 26 Oct 1994 10:40:42 -0600
Organization: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro NM
Lines: 47
Message-ID: <38m0qa$h3--(at)>
References: <1994Oct18.143501.2242--(at)>

In article ,
Adrian Bartel wrote:


>Otherwise, here’s my ASCII version…..
>equipment output equipment input
> eg. guitar eg. amp
>TIP ———-signal——————– TIP
> RING ——–signal ground———- RING
> SLEEVE xx — screen ————– SLEEVE
>xx = no connection this end.

Uh-oh, this won’t work. Better forget about the ring part, we’re only
talking about tip-sleeve here. The above diagram is the correct way to
wire TRS stuff, which is what a lot of rack and high-level stuff uses.
Try this:

TIP ————signal—————-TIP
SLEEVE———–signal ground———SLEEVE

xx= no connection

The above works only for two-conductor with screen, like used for mic
cable. Your store-bought cable, if wired for this, will have one
end labeled differently, with different colored heat shrink or
something. Most cables are not like this, and the cable will still work
either way. If you have or make on of these, hook the screened end
to the amp side of whatever you are doing. It is my opinion that
these cables will work best if you go straight from your guitar to
the amp… effects on the floor tend to negate the advantages of
this setup.

I don’t use this cable scheme, btw, and I’ll use any old 9v battery, too:)



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