Guitar gear is not cheap, so looking after each and every piece of your precious equipment is important, even something as little and inconspicuous as a guitar cable. Properly looking after a guitar cable can ensure that it lasts over a decade. Conversely, simply throwing a guitar cable into the corner of your room will lower the lifespan of your cable.
Half of the care that goes into looking after a guitar cable is wrapping it properly. It will not only look good and ensure your cable is safe, but it will also make unwrapping your guitar cable when it is time to practice much more painless! Read on if you’d like to learn the best way to wrap a guitar cable.
Best way to wrap your guitar cable
Many guitarists don’t put much thought into wrapping a guitar cable. Cables are often haphazardly wrapped around, stuffed into a bag, or tossed into a corner after practice or finishing a gig. But once you learn the best way to wrap your guitar cable, you’ll never go back! Although it may seem a bit more complicated than what you are used to, I guarantee that all it takes is practice with one cable. You’ll be an expert at wrapping your guitar cable in no time!
Over and under
The single best way to wrap your guitar cable is the over and under method. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to do this:
Step 1: Shake out any knots
First, ensure you’re working with a knot-free guitar cable. Shake it all out, so you have a nice, untangled guitar cable in your hands.
Step 2: Hold the cable
Put the quarter-inch jack in your non-dominant hand and put your dominant hand on the cable about a foot down. Pinch the cable with your dominant hand with your thumb and index finger.
Step 3: Twist the cable away from your body
Take your dominant hand that’s on the cable and twist it away from your body and create a loop that eventually connects back to the non-dominant hand on the jack.
Step 4: Twist the cable toward your body
For the second loop, place your dominant hand, one foot down on the cable once again and twist the cable toward your body. Again, create that loop. Make sure all the loops are the same size for a nice and even cable wrap.
Step 5: Keep alternating
Continue alternating between twisting away from your body and toward your body until you reach the end of the cable.
Step 6: Finish up
With the over and under method, your guitar cable should stay in place once wrapped. But if you want, add a velcro strap for extra assurance.
Why wrap your cable like this?
Wrapping your cable with the over and under method is the best way to ensure your guitar cable doesn’t go bad. The last thing you want when connecting the jack to your amp is for the cable to not work. Guitar cables may not be your most expensive piece of equipment, but replacing them can certainly add up if you do not properly care for them. Good guitar cables can last more than 10 years if they are properly looked after, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Another significant advantage over and under wrapping is that it’s tangle-free. So, when you take your guitar cables out to use them, you can simply un-velcro them and shake them out. Instead of laboring over kinks and knots when you get your guitar cable out of storage, a quick shake will have you jamming with your guitar in mere seconds!
Biggest guitar cable wrapping mistakes
Some of the most common methods of wrapping guitar cables actually do more harm than good. Although these methods may keep your guitar cable neat and out of the way, over time, these methods can damage the wires inside.
Elbow wrapping is a method of wrapping cables by using the elbow as a guide to loop the cables around. When wrapping in this manner, you force the cable to bend in unnatural directions, which can cause strain and eventually cause your guitar cables to go bad before their time.
Over and Over
This is the easiest way to wrap your guitar cables. Although the over and over method is not necessarily the worst way to do so, it can cause tangles and wrap around itself when released. Plus, just as with the elbow wrapping method, your guitar cables can get stressed due to being forced into this wrapping position.
The tying method involves tightly wrapping the guitar cable in a loop and then tying it to itself by wrapping the rest of the cable around the loop to create an almost bow-like shape. This is perhaps the worst way to wrap your chord because the tightly wrapped bow is unnatural and can quickly damage or fray the wires.
Tips for storing your guitar cable safely
Correctly wrapping your guitar cable is just half the work. You’ll also need to store it safely to ensure your equipment lasts. Here are some of my top tips for storing your guitar cable safely:
- Use velcro to secure the cable once it’s properly wrapped.
- Use hooks on the walls to hang your cable up and out of the way.
- Organize your guitar cables by length, so you can easily grab the right one for your needs.
- Store your lesser-used guitar cables in a safe box or drawer.
To wrap up (pun intended), something as simple as correctly wrapping a guitar cable can really affect the lifespan of your equipment. Even if you’re used to wrapping your cables with the over and over method or elbow method, a quick change in habits will make a difference, and your cables will thank you for it!
Looking for a new guitar cable? Check out my guide on the best guitar cables!
More questions? Feel free to reach out, I’m happy to answer them.