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WATCH: Moon Duo Covers The Stooges’ ‘No Fun’

Iggy Pop turned 70 last Friday, April 21. To celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest frontmen in Rock’n’Roll, Moon Duo covered The Stooges’ ‘No Fun’ on BBC Radio 6.

On this video, Moon Duo singer / guitarist Ripley Johnson uses, as usual, his Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom, his own signature guitar and also an unique model in the Airline 59 family, as it features our Transwarp Drive boost.

Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom

Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom

Rock on, Ripley!


Moon Duo’s worldwide tour continues in the U.S. and Canada. If you’re around to catch one of those dates, don’t miss it!

21/4/17 Chicago @ The Empty Bottle w/ Jackie Lynn 
22/4/17 Detroit @ El Club w/ Jackie Lynn 
23/4/17 Toronto @ Horseshoe Tavern w/ Jackie Lynn 
25/4/17 Montreal @ La Sala Rossa w/ Jackie Lynn 
26/4/17 Boston @ Great Scott w/ Jackie Lynn 
27/4/17 Brooklyn @ Rough Trade w/ Jackie Lynn 
28/4/17 Philadelphia @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Jackie Lynn 
29/4/17 Washington DC @ DC9 w/ Jackie Lynn 
30/4/17 Cleveland @ Beachland Tavern w/ Jackie Lynn

More info:

Moon Duo official website

View Airline 59 3P Ripley information

USA guitar sale

USA Clearance Sale

THREE DAYS ONLY. Up to 45% OFF with FREE SHIPPING. All items are brand new. Limited Quantities! 

Airline H77 Black – Reg: $699 SALE $579 SAVE $120





Eastwood LG-50 – Reg: $599 SALE $425 SAVE $174




Mandocaster 12 Sunburst – Reg: $469 SALE $369 SAVE $100




Eastwood Fire Bird – Reg: $799 SALE $579 SAVE $220




Sidejack Baritone 1P – Reg: $499 SALE $375



Eastwood S-200 Black – Reg: $699 SALE $399


Eastwood S-200 Sunburst – Reg: $699 SALE $399



Microfret Martian Green – Reg: $999 SALE $749



Eastwood Swinger – Reg: $499 SALE $299



Liberty MS-150 – Reg: $599 SALE $479



Eastwood Wedgtail – Reg: $899 SALE $599



Be Stiff Bass – Reg:$499 SALE $399


  Kingston Flying Wedge – Reg: $649 SALE $399



DEVO Whip It – Reg: $499 SALE $399



Mandocaster White – Reg: $399 SALE $329



RD Artist Sunburst – Reg: $699 SALE $529


Canada sale

CANADA SALE – No Taxes – No Duties – Dollar at PAR

Canadians can save over 35% with NO TAXES, NO DUTIES and Canadian Dollars at PAR! All items are brand new stock.

We only have one of each of these in stock, so pull the trigger NOW:


Liberty MS-150 –$529 CAD was $799 CAD + tax Save over $300*





Sidejack HB DLX Black – $549 CAD was $729 CAD + tax Save over $225*


Deerhoof DLX (includes trem) – $799 CAD  was $929 CAD + tax Save over $175*


Norma EG 512-4 Sunburst – $699 CAD was $929 CAD + tax Save over $280*


Microfret DLX Martian Green – $979 CAD was $1599 CAD + tax Save over $700*


Airline Swingmaster STD – $979 CAD was $1299 CAD + tax Save over $380*



Ichiban K2-L Metallic Red – $599 CAD was $799 CAD + tax Save over $250*


Deerhoof DLX(includes trem) – $699 CAD was $1129 CAD + tax Save over $500*


Airline H59 – $699 CAD was $749 CAD + tax Save over $85*


Astrojet Tenor DLX – $799 CAD was $1069 CAD + tax




Classic 4 Orange – $499 CAD was $729 CAD + tax Save over $280*






Classic 6 Blueburst Red – $579 CAD was $769 CAD + tax Save over $240*



Classic 6 DLX Walnut- $649 CAD was $869 CAD + tax Save over $270*


Classic 6 HB Cherry – $549 CAD was $729 CAD + tax Save over $200




Mandocaster Black – $399 CAD was $499 CAD + tax Save over $130*




RD Artist Sunburst – $699 CAD was $929 CAD + tax Save over $260*


Sidejack HB DLX Cherry – $549 CAD was $729 CAD + tax Save over $200*




Warren Ellis Mandostang – $399 CAD was $529 CAD + tax Save over $160*




Sidejack Baritone 1P – $499 CAD was $669 CAD + tax Save over $200*


* Savings include between 9%-17% taxes and duties.
Playing a wide neck guitar

All You Need To Know About… Wide Neck Guitars

Wide neck guitars – what’s it all about? Do you need one? Here’s a look at all you need to know about this niche (for now) market which is increasingly growing…

Playing a wide neck guitar

A few years ago, Gibson announced their 2015 range of electric guitars, which featured several changes that didn’t please many of their core customers – and one of those changes was a wider neck. The move proved a big PR fiasco, with many players thinking that Gibson had finally lost the plot, and that the wide necks were one of the most visible signs of that.

Looking back, perhaps Gibson had the right idea, but just dealt it the wrong way, by having all their 2015 models being made with wide necks – thus depriving their customers of choice: there is indeed an increasing market for wide neck guitars, no question about that… but it’s not for everybody!

Why play a Wide Neck guitar? Is it for YOU?

The fact is, if we’re honest, that a good chunk of the population is, well… getting chunkier! To be totally blunt about it – fatter people have fatter fingers, and it can (sometimes, for some players) make it harder for  them to play a guitar which has a narrower neck. But also, anyone who’s bigger and thus got bigger hands might find it a bit troublesome to deal with a standard, narrow neck guitar…

For those players, opting for a wide neck guitar can make a huge difference! It’s in fact quite remarkable that for so many years, the industry has not focused on this problem, but now guitars with wide necks are not such a rarity anymore.

Please bear in mind that when we say “wide neck” we don’t refer to the thickness of the neck, which is something else altogether – as most players will be aware, different guitars my have different neck profiles, with different shapes and different thickness (which is a subject that’s itself worth a separate blog!)

We are, of course, talking about the actual width of the fingerboard. Visually, at a quick glance, many people might not notice any difference in some cases, but the relationship between the player’s hand and the fretboard is so crucial and subtle, that just a matter of tiny millimetres can make a huge difference – the difference in fact, between you loving a guitar or maybe even loathing it!

Take two very similar guitars, such as the Airline Tuxedo, and the new Airline Tuxedo WN Wide Neckrecently announced:

Airline Tuxedo

1) Airline Tuxedo

Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

2) Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

The first picture is of an original Tuxedo, with a width at nut of 1 11/16″, while the second one is a Tuxedo WN, with width at nut of 1 7/8″.

We’re talking about minimal differences here, but which play a crucial factor on how much playable you will think a guitar is – depending on how comfortable either of them feels on your hand!

Going back to Gibson, here’s another comparison: the maligned 2015 Les Paul had a width at nut of  1.795″, whereas “normal” Les Paul Standard has a width at nut of 1.695″. That’s right – 0.1″ of difference that’s enough to make someone simply hate an instrument!

But that’s the crux here – it’s not about the instrument, because there’s nothing wrong with a wide neck, it’s just a matter of: do YOU actually need one?

Other Guitar Companies Who Make Wide Neck Guitars

Eastwood / Airline is the latest brand to embrace wide necks, but the Airline Tuxedo WN is currently still just a custom shop project. There are other brands who’ve been adopting the wide neck design too, over the years, besides Gibson.

The Zarley Wide Neck Guitars was founded by Tracy Todd, who decided to make wide neck models after years struggling with playing standard guitars, and their instruments have been welcomed by players who fancied wide necks:

Zarley Wide Neck

Zarley Wide Neck

Many “Heavy Rock” brands such as Ibanez, Jackson, BC Rich also make guitars with necks wider than the usual Fenders, Gibsons etc you see around. 

Best Fingerpicking (“Fingerstyle”) Guitars?

Another common use for wide neck guitars is for those who play guitar “finger-picking” style… whatever the size of your hand! Though most fingerpicking guitarists use acoustic guitars, you can also use electrics for that style, and wider necks offer a distinct advantage, due to the wider width at nut and string spacing.

Wide Neck Guitars: for Beginners, too?

Perhaps another angle we could look at, is that wide neck guitars are also perfect for beginners and less experienced players, as it may be easier to try chords. Many people start on guitar playing a cheap Classical acoustic guitar (also known as Spanish or flamenco guitars) which are usually about 2″ wide (approx 49-52mm).

So we can’t see why wouldn’t beginners opting for an electric guitar not enjoy a wide neck model, in fact it could make learning even easier.

Is wide neck right for you? Well… first look at your hands, then let us know!


Limited Edition Twin Tone Double Cut – only 24 Made


Limited Edition Airline Twin Tone Double Cut – only 24 Made. (Reg Price $499)

Airline Guitars has produced a limited edition Twin Tone Double Cut. Order yours TODAY!


20% OFF this week only. Just $399 while supplies last plus FREE SHIPPING




  • Colours: White
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple, Bolt-on
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood, Block Markers
  • Scale Length: 24 3/4″
  • Width at Nut: 1 5/8″
  • Pickups: Two Hot-Rail Humbuckers
  • Switching: 3-Way
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone
  • Bridge: Fully adjustable Tune-O-Matic
  • Hardware: Gotoh style Nickel/Chrome
  • Strings: 10-46 D’Addario
  • Case: extra – gigbag $39, hardshell case $99
  • Unique Features: Limited Edition – only 24 available

Watch this product demonstration by Keith McFadden:

twintonedc2 twintonedc3 twintonedc4 twintonedc5


Tips on Tone – Issue #17

Vincent’s Tips on Tones 

Issue 17

“You are what you eat” is an expression we all know and understand as truth. Simply put, if you want to live a healthy and balanced life, you need to eat a healthy balanced diet. That said, the expression can be used with a much more metaphorical meaning for a number of different things. Your experiences, your friends and what you surround yourself by play huge parts in the person you are. Often you have no choice but to live through something that can change you for the better or worse. On the other hand, there are many things you have the ability to choose from that will have an impact your life, or at least some aspects of it. Music is one of these things.


For a musician, what you listen to plays a large role in what you end up creating, whether you are trying to or not! We are like sponges. We hear something we like, it soaks in, and later on it leaks out in our writing, playing, and the tones we decide to create. I can recall more than a few occasions where I’ll be listening to a track, and then hear a riff that sounds almost identical to something I’ve written without having any intention of doing so.



Keeping this in mind, you can actually increase your guitar “vocabulary”, and, in a roundabout way, improve your guitar tone without even having an instrument in your hands.

Here are some things to consider:

1) Listen to various genres

Even if you know the style you want to play or create, try not to limit your listening to that genre.

The most famous and signature guitar tones out there were not created by someone re-hashing something that had already been done, but by blending a variety of influences and sounds. Tony Iommi didn’t have a metal band to listen to for inspiration and look what he created! You’ll find that different genres call for different tones, and you will grow to appreciate subtle nuances that you can incorporate into your own playing and writing.


2) Try to isolate the guitar

The overall sound of a song is comprised of all the instruments mixed together. So, sometimes when you try and recreate a tone while playing by yourself you can over compensate in some areas. Adding extra gain, treble or reverb are a few examples. It might sound great alone, but throwing that into a band situation may just make everything sound muddy and convoluted. You’d be surprised to hear how some of your favourite songs’ guitar tracks sound on solo! It’s tricky, but try going back and forth between isolating the guitar in a song and then listening to the whole mix.

3) Study and analyze different players

Ask two guitar players to play the same riff with the same guitar and each will sound different. Did they just play a hammer-on or did they slide to that note? Was that the open D string or the A string in the fifth fret? How fast is their vibrato? What is their note selection and phrasing like?

These are all things that every guitar player does slightly different from another, resulting in a unique play style and tone. Usually you will be able to find repetition in a player, and if you can tap into that then you can expand your repertoire in no time.


Put it this way: your guitar, your amp, and your foot pedals are all inanimate objects. Sure, they will sound different depending on what they are and how they’re set, but it’s you who is actually telling them how to sound.




BARITONE GUITAR: What It Is & Why You Need One

One of the best selling models from Eastwood Guitars is the Sidejack Baritone. More recently they have also introduced the Airline MAP Baritone. Why are they so popular? First, let’s take a look at what a Baritone guitar is.

Baritone guitar

Simply put, they are exactly the same as any standard electric guitar but with a lower voice. A standard guitars tuning (from lowest string to highest) is E A D G B E. Baritone guitars are usually tuned a fifth lower (A D G C E A), or a fourth lower (B E A D F♯ B). Therefore, all the chord patterns you already know are exactly the same on a baritone, but simply produce a lower voice.

Why use a baritone when I can tune my standard guitar lower?

“So why not just take my trusty Fender and tune it lower?” you might ask. If you did, you’ll find the strings to be too “floppy” and not enough tension to produce a useable sound. The solution? Make the neck longer and use heavier strings. More precisely, make the “scale length” longer and use heavier strings. What is the scale length?

Airline Baritone Guitar & Eastwood Baritone GuitarAirline Baritone Guitar & Eastwood Baritone Guitar

The scale length is the precise length of the suspended string, the length between the nut and the bridge. Generally speaking, most Gibson style guitars have a 24 ¾” scale and most Fender style guitars have a 25 1/2” scale. String sets of 10-46 gauge are typical for these guitars tuned E-E. On the other end, tuned a full octave below the standard guitar at E-E, a Fender Bass has a scale length of 34” and strings in the 45-100 range. Eastwood produces a number of “short scale” bass models, with a 30 ½” and 32” scale, also with the 45-100 string sets.

Most Baritone guitars fit in the middle and have a scale length ranging from 27” to 28”. Eastwood’s Sidejack Baritone has a 27” scale and uses D’addario Baritone Light strings, 13-62, tuned B-B.


Tension Chart

        Diameter     Tension  
Item # Note Inches mm lbs kg  
PL013 B 0.0130 0.3300 20.940 9.500  
PL017 F# 0.0170 0.4300 20.100 9.120  
NW026 D 0.0260 0.6604 25.020 11.350  
NW036 A 0.0360 0.9144 25.920 11.760  
NW046 E 0.0460 1.1684 23.020 10.440  
NW062 B 0.0620 1.5748 23.780 10.780  

Why is a baritone guitar useful and why should I buy one?

OK, with all that technical stuff out of the way, the next question, “why is a baritone useful and why should I buy one?” The real advantage is that ANY guitar player can pick one up and be an expert baritone player immediately as the tuning is identical to their standard guitar, just lower. So every chord pattern you play is identical on the baritone. For example, when you play an open E chord on your guitar, you’ll do exactly the same on your Eastwood baritone, but it will be an open B. Get it? So you can play any song or riff you already know, right out of the box, but you’ll notice a darker, more haunting texture in your tone.

Coming Soon: Classic 6 Baritone semi-acoustic

New Eastwood Custom Shop Classic 6 Baritone

New Eastwood Custom Shop Classic 6 Baritone

Truth be told, baritone guitars are still a little bit of a niche, though not as much as it used to be, and we’ve notice a steady increase in the number of users over the years. But still, you won’t find many semi-acoustic models available out there, which makes this recent Eastwood Custom Shop very appealing: Imagine a George Harrison Country Gent-style guitar… but with longer scale for a slightly darker tone! Sounds amazing… at the moment, the Eastwood Customs Classic 6 Baritone is a crowdfunding project, and those interested need only leave a small deposit to guarantee theirs and make sure the guitar gets made. 

Classic 6 baritone

A brief history of… Baritone guitars

Next, let’s take a look at the history behind the baritone. Danelectro was the first to introduce the electric baritone guitar in the late 1950s where it soon appeared in a lot of 60’s surf music as well as background music for many movie soundtracks, especially spaghetti westerns. These days you’ll hear baritone in all types of music from folk to rock to heavy metal. The voice of the baritone is low enough to stand out in the mix next to a standard guitar and is high enough to cut through well above the bass.

The Evens

Ian McKeye and his baritone guitar, live with The Evens

Brian Wilson used baritones often in his arrangements with the Beach Boys. Glen Campbell used them in great songs like Wichita Lineman.  Ian Mackaye from Minor Threat uses a Sidejack baritone with his band The Evens. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny uses baritones in his arsenal of guitars. Pat Smear of the Foo Fighters also uses a Sidejack Baritone. Colin Newman of Wire (who came up with the idea) uses the Airline MAP Baritone. The great Richard Hawley (can you tell I’m a big fan?) uses a Sidejack Baritone on his recordings, many of which were inspired by one of the earliest adopters of the baritone, the fabulous Duane Eddy.

If you have a studio, you really NEED a baritone electric. You won’t have to invest any time in learning to play it and you will quickly discover many useful applications. Eastwood produces a few variations and price points to suit every need. The Sidejack Standard and Deluxe baritones are under $500, great bang for the buck. The new Airline MAP and MAP DLX are killer baritones and come in under $900.

shop for baritone guitars

OK… How does a baritone guitar sound?

Here is a great example, where RJ Ronquillo rearranges Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus using the new Airline MAP DLX Baritone. The result is a deep, dark, beautifully haunting and more tearful composition than the original – “stripped” down to just a Baritone, without the need for gratuitous nudity.


Check out RJ here again, riffing along with his Sidejack Baritone giving “Hey Joe” a darker bluesy vibe, then showing the versatility of a baritone in surf and western styles.

Here is Lance Keltner taking a Sidejack Baritone for a spin with his band. Note the clarity when played along with a Stormbird Bass.

The baritone is also very useful when paired with a wide variety of effects:

..and with a little dirt too to give you that garage rock sound.

..and you can have hours of fun driving the baritone through GuitarRig 4:

So there you have it. Starting at just $429, it’s time to jump on the baritone bandwagon! Take home one of Eastwood’s family of baritone guitars and add some punch to your playing and recording endeavors. You’ll be glad you did.

update Oct 5/2014: here is a link to a recent Premier Guitar review of the Airline MAP Baritone:


Also just announced the MAP Baritone received the 2014 “Premier Gear Award”

Vincent’s Guitar Workshop – Issue 7

Before you set out on your mission to level your guitar’s frets, the fret rocker was swaying like a baby’s cradle all the way up and down the neck. Now, your baby is fast asleep as the tool stays straight as an arrow no matter where you position it on the fret board. You’re nervous about disturbing its slumber with even one more small stroke of a file, potentially ruining all the work you’ve just put into getting it level. So, what if I told you now that the next step would be to use another file to go across each fret individually before the guitar will be ready for playing?



Well, that’s what I’m telling you! But don’t worry; the process is rather painless, and as long as you use the right tools and follow this guide, you’ll have your frets properly crowned and polished in no time.

First off, what does it mean to “crown a fret” and why is it necessary? If you look at your recently levelled frets, you will notice they appear very flat on top with tons of horizontal scratch marks.


This is not a good thing because: A) it is not very visually appealing, B) the strings will scratch up and down the fret when you bend, causing a “nails on chalkboard” effect, and C) the strings will contact too large a portion of the fret, causing your intonation to be off.

When a fret is installed, its intent is for the string to contact the center of the fret and not such a large surface area. What crowning does, then, is shave off the edges of the fret to make it round on top, or at least leave a very fine flat surface down the middle. The idea is not to take a bunch more fret off the top, but instead to just round it out. You don’t want to make all the time spent levelling a waste! Here’s some things you’ll need:



(From left: Diamond crowning files, sharpie, fret erasers, masking tape)

The crowning files shown here are a tad expensive, but I find they work the best for me. There are plenty of other options out there that don’t cost you an arm and a leg. I tend to use the 150 grit as it gets the job done faster. Note: these files are double sided, each side shaped for a different width fret.

As I stated in my last article, it’s a good idea to use masking tape to tape the fret board between frets as a backup in case you slip. To save tape and time, just use two pieces and move them from fret to fret as you work your way up. I didn’t use tape for the following photos.

To begin, mark off the entire length of each fret with your sharpie like so:



(sorry about the black mark on the fretboard, there’s a chip on my camera lens.)

The marker will serve as a template for when you start to file. When you file each fret, watch as the thick marker line gets thinner and thinner. When you’re left with a very fine line down the center that’s barely visible, you know that the fret has a nice crown:



Continue this process all the way up the neck, and you’re done crowning! When you’re finished, you’ll have something that looks like this:



Before you string up the guitar, it’s a good idea to use those fret erasers to polish up the frets, followed by some compressed air to get rid of the fret filings and residue left over from the polish.

The “fret erasers” from Stewmac are good because they’re colour coded depending on the grit they are. The best is to use a combination of a couple different grits for each fret; I like the green #600 and the yellow #1000. Steel wool is a good alternative for this step.

After you’ve polished the frets, you can clean the fret board and give it a nice dose of lemon or linseed oil, and your fret board should now look something like this:



All that’s left to do now is string it up, and have fun!

Happy playing!

asd8Airline BOBKAT: http://www.eastwoodguitars.com/airline-bobkat-red/



Vincent’s Guitar Workshop – Issue 6

If you’ve been following along with my articles, you’ll know that I’m not such a big fan of fret buzz. Then again, who is? Last time, I talked about how to deal with minor fret issues that could cause buzz from one or two frets. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes necessary to have to do an entire fret level to get your guitar playing properly and today I’ll go over the first steps for this procedure.


The absolute first step before you do any kind of fret leveling is to ensure that the neck is as straight as possible. I explained a good technique for doing so in my “Worksop Issue 5”, so you may refer there before reading on if you like.

There are some contraptions available to help keep a neck straight, or apply force to simulate string tension while you work (such as the Erlewine Jig), but said contraptions are relatively pricey and to explain how to use them would fill up an article on its own! For now, we’ll go without.

With a straight neck and the strings off, you can begin to map out the bad frets. Using a fret rocker or straight edge, test each fret in the same way I explained in Issue 5. This time, however, you need a way to remember where the problem areas are. With a sharpie, mark along each fret where the rocker… rocked. If you’re nervous about slipping with the marker, you can tape off the entire neck as seen in this picture:


When it comes time to filing, you can use these markings to indicate where you need to pay more attention. Keep in mind the person in this picture is likely making markings for crowning the frets – only mark the fret in the area it’s actually high in.

Once the markings are done, you can get ready to start filing! Again, as a precaution and to save from cleaning up metal “dust” afterwards, you can tape off the neck. It’s also a good idea to lower the neck pickup if you feel you may slip and hit it, and taping off the whole top section of the body will prevent fret filings from flying into the pickup cavities or onto the guitar.

There are a couple different tools you can use to file the frets, my favourite being:



These fret level bars from Stewmac. I use the 16” and the 8” as the 24” tends to be too long for the instruments I’m working on. The idea is to wrap sandpaper around the beam, and slide it back and forth on the frets to make them level with each other. The weight of the beam should be enough force on the frets, so you shouldn’t have to push down very much. I like to use a 220 grit paper, but there are many who start with a lower grit and change to a higher grit as they progress. This helps make any file marks in the frets get smaller and smaller, eventually resulting in a smoother fret. Personally I prefer to do this step afterwards while I’m crowning each fret, so I find sticking to a 220 grit works just fine.



Like I mentioned before, the markings you made are reference points while you file. Make sure you hit those points in particular with the file and essentially get rid of those markings. You can also look and see the filings coming off each fret – there will be more buildup beside the high frets of course.



While you want to make sure your frets are level, don’t overdo it! A fret only so high, and the more you file, the closer you get to needs a re-fret job.  The fewer strokes it takes you to get the frets level, the better.  With that in mind, it’s a good idea every few strokes to go over with the fret rocker and check those problem areas.


When you’re confident with the height of the frets, you’re done! It’s time to move on to crowning and polishing. That’ll be next time on Vincent’s Workshop. For now…


Happy playing!


Tips on Tone – Issue 6

Tips on Tone: issue 6

by Vince Schaljo

Here in the great white north, winters can be… well… pretty great and pretty white! Unfortunately they can also be pretty annoying for your everyday commute, just trying to get from point A to point B.
One thing that can really help keep you safe and make your drive easier is, of course, a decent set of snow tires. If you just spent a small fortune on a brand new car, the last thing you want is to slip on some ice and have the thing destroyed!



Snow tires are a small price to pay for a better drive and reduced risk of damage. What does this have to do with guitars? Nothing! But here comes my analogy anyway. If you’ve spent a small fortune on a nice guitar and a nice amp, wouldn’t it make just as much sense as snow tires to want to represent their sound to their full potential? To reduce risk of damage to components? To help the signal flow from point A to point B well?
The term “it’s just a cable” is one I hear far too often, and while it’s true that most cables can get the job done, (to a degree) not all cords are created equal. Taking good care of your cables is important, and using a quality cord where it is required can actually improve your tone. Not to mention using the wrong cords can potentially cause serious damage to some expensive equipment.



One example of an error (and I’ve been guilty of doing this myself in a pinch) would be: not using a proper speaker cable when connecting an amp head to its cabinet. Just because the connector end fits into the input doesn’t mean the cable is meant for that purpose. Speaker cables should be used with your amp to head connection at all times, while instrument cables should be used from the guitar to the amp at all times. Why? The biggest reason is the shielding (or lack thereof) in the cables. Your guitar puts out far less power than the amp does, and as such your cable will need a good amount of shielding to keep unwanted external noise out. An amp that pushes so much power out needs a cable that will allow for more electrical flow, and does not require as much (if any) shielding to keep out the unwanted noise. When you plug an instrument cable from the amp into your cabinet, it struggles to feed signal through. It’s used to the easier flow through a speaker cable. You run a huge risk of damage to your equipment by putting this kind of strain on the amp. Not to mention, the small speaker cable required to make this connection will generally not cost you as much (depending on quality) as a longer instrument cable anyway!


The flipside of this error is: using a speaker cable to plug your guitar into the amp. As I mentioned, a speaker cable typically has far less (if any) shielding. With the low output from your instrument, outside noises have a much easier time getting into the cable which can result in lots of feedback, squealing, and static. It’s a good idea to spend the extra money on a better quality instrument cable for this reason.  You get what you pay for!


Make sure you buy only what you need. If you’re only ever going to be playing venues where you will never be more than 5 feet away from your amp, don’t use a cable longer than 10 feet! Just like when you throw a baseball or shoot a water gun, signal loses strength as it travels. The longer the cable, the more distance that needs to be covered which can actually have an effect on your tone and output.


Lastly, do a good job of maintaining your cables. When you’re packing up, don’t crumple them up and throw them in your car! Not only can this ruin your cables, but it also just makes it that much more difficult to untangle everything when it’s time to set up again. Learn how to properly wrap your cables, and try to keep them from being tied to each other like spaghetti. A small piece of tape or velcro around each separate cable coil is a good way to do this.


Save your money! Take care of your cables, and take care of your equipment by using the right cables!


Happy playing!