I often get asked about George L's solderless cable. It's a wonderful product that sounds great, but I see a lot of musicians trash it because of problems with cable failure. This is unfortunate because it is a great sounding cable with very low capacitance (treble loss over long lengths) and is quick and easy to customize. I've been wiring my pedalboards with George L's for well over a decade. In that time, I've experienced zero failures! My equipment gets subjected to some pretty harsh treatment, too! International touring, flights, local loading crews, crazy temperatures, etc... Why have I been so "lucky" with the reliability of my George L's cable? Proper assembly! Using my tips below & 3 crucial steps, you can enjoy the same success rate!
First, a note on application: I do not like George L's for certain cable runs. The connection from my instrument to amp or pedalboard, from pedalboard to amp, or any other longer run that is subject to direct cutting-abuse. The George L's product features a very small diameter cable (perfect for tight pedalboards, but less so for an active stage environment!). While this small cable size is perfect for tight spaces, I don't feel it offers a robust enough outer jacket for anywhere that it might get stepped on hard, road cases rolled over it or other heavy abuse.
Pliers, a sharp utility knife or razor blade, cable, plugs and a cable tester (optional, but recommended for peace-of-mind). Note the absence of scissors or cable cutters! (More regarding that below!) I use an old cutting board as well.
STEP 1: Cutting
Use a razor blade or sharp utility knife to cut your cable to length. Roll the cable while you cut (see video below), letting the sharp blade do the work. You don't want to press down too hard. The goal is a flat, clean cut that leaves a perfectly round cut-end. It should be clean and round like this:
Using scissors or cutting pliers will result in a crushed cut-end with a flattened oval shape. This is the #1 cause of a dead George L's cable! There's a tiny pin inside the plug that needs to be fed straight into the center of the cable, this prospect is a little sketchy if the cable isn't perfectly round! In the pic below, the cable on the left was cut with scissors and the cable on the right using my method. See the difference?
Step 2: Insertion
Press the cable in to the plug until it stops, then rotate the plug 360' while applying light pressure inward to 'seat' the connection. Then, pull the cable down into the groove lightly & only far enough to enable you to start threading the cap portion of the plug- don't bend too far!
You need to let the threaded cap push into & pierce the black insulation of the cable while you thread it on. This is the only way to ensure a good ground (shielding/sleeve) connection. If you pull the cable back all the way to 90', the cap might not have enough time to pierce the jacket adequately. Let the cap do the work!
STEP 3: Tighten
Use a pair of pliers to firmly tighten the cap. Using pliers will help you torque the cap down, thus eliminating any need for thread-locking solutions like Lock-Tite or those little plastic sleeves George L's makes. If you tighten it enough - it won't come loose!
Using the following 3 crucial steps, you should have perfect success with your custom-made George L's!
1) DON'T use scissors! Use a sharp razor blade & a rocking motion to ensure a perfectly round cut-end.
2) DON'T bend the cable too far before threading the cap on! Let the cap cut into the cable jacket.
3)DO use pliers! Pliers will ensure a tight cap that doesn't work itself loose.
If that all seems complicated & time consuming above, just watch the video below.