Episode 036: The Cable Guy

Here are some tips on how to keep from dealing with cable spaghetti at gigs, and keep your sound rocking.

Tell me a story about badly run cables!

  • Dave
    • Floor level stage area, a sloppily placed XLR cable, and a dancer who exited the dance floor…with my mic…and stand.
  • Paul
    • Guitarist had run his cable straight from his instrument to amp
    • Did one of those slide across the stage on his knees moves at the solo climax
    • Guitar came unplugged and ruined the entire moment

Covering the stage area

  • Have enough length to cover what you need to do on stage
    • Idea: Use a guitar extender like Radial’s SGI unit if the stage is big
  • Think about where people are going to be moving, traveling, etc.
  • Balancing preparedness and overpacking – how many cables are too many?

How does your cable plug into your amp, and your bass?

  • Dave
    • I use a shorter (12’) cable from my bass to the pedal board
    • From the pedal board, cable goes around my “space” to the amp
      • With power cord and sometimes XLR if possible
    • I try to have just enough slack – not too much, not too little
  • Paul
    • At the bass, I do two things: (1) use a right angle connector for less stress on the jack in case of an unforeseen yank; (2) loop the cable around my strap to provide stress relief and an early warning.
    • At the amp, I route the cable with either a loop through a hardware handle, or use velcro tie on the amp to hold it in place on a cabinet

What about on the floor?

  • Dave
    • I like to group together my lines
    • Create personal space (4’x4’)
  • Paul
    • Always have a roll of gaffer’s tape available… sticky enough to hold, but doesn’t leave residue on wood, tile, glass, or — most important! — cables

Floor tips

  • Pick a couple places (not everywhere) to route things together
  • Use tape to hold down cables to floor, a few feet apart
  • Avoid spaces where it’s easy to slip a toe under and trip
  • Try to stick to the perimeter of the stage
  • Also be thinking about patrons in the venue, make sure they’re safe and can’t easily mess up your cable or sound

Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash

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