Feb 06, 2016
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, the core of my guitar rig mostly goes unchanged from year to year.
My two electrics are Tom Anderson guitars; I have a Taylor Acoustic; I use two Mesa Boogie Mark IV amps; and for pedals I have several from Keeley, Diamond, Fulltone, Xotic, and Mesa Boogie. I also use Elixir strings.
I make sure to preserve my guitars with cleaning the necks and bodies with Stew Mac's Preservation Polish.
For my electric guitars, guitar pedals, and amps, I use CAIG DeoxIT Pot & Switch Cleaner. I replace my Mesa Boogie tubes when needed (and keep extra fuses).
With all these great items everything usually runs trouble-free. I say usually.
Recently I started getting random volume drops from my amp. Naturally I assumed it was the amp. Is the amp dying (One is a 1999 and the other 2006)? That didn't seem likely as these Boogies are solid, dependable amps.
Could it be the wiring inside the electric guitars? A bad tube? A problem with a pedal?
As I was troubleshooting, everything checked out great.
Something I have probably only done twice in 20+ years is check my cables, as I have seldom had any issues. I use Mogami OD cables and Mogami Gold Pedal cables. I can always depend on them to deliver the best tones, and they stand up to the rigors of set-up and tear-down for rehearsals, gigs, and recording.
Because I was curious, I decided to pull out my Behringer CT-100 Cable Tester.
To my surprise, out of seven instrument cables, not one, but four were bad!
So all the issues I had with volume drops, was not the potentially pricey problems with guitars, amps, pedals, or tubes, but simply cables that had gone bad after several years of use. Even with the most durable cables such as Mogami—the constant plugging and unplugging, coiling and uncoiling—will perhaps eventually cause the cables to go bad.
Since Mogami's have a lifetime warranty, I returned the faulty cables and they replaced them, with no questions asked.
So, Don't Make This Silly Mistake With Your Guitar Cables: Make sure to get a cable tester, and check your cables regularly.
It might possibly be the cheapest and fastest way to restore your tone.
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