Twelve reasons why all handmade
cables are NOT created equal
Only extraordinary manufacturing techniques
make an extraordinary guitar cable
Beware of copy-cat companies who claim they use the same materials to produce a better, less-expensive guitar cable than the Death Valley Cable Company.
Some materials may be similar, but our manufacturing techniques always set us distinctly apart.
Many of our techniques are completely different. We designed them to produce a superior guitar cable in signal throughput, longevity and durability.
We do everything to make our guitar cables sound better and last longer; and NOTHING to make the manufacturing process cheaper and faster.
We take no short cuts, and we do everything by hand. We don't even use traditional wire strippers because many actually damage the wire (more on that later).
Here's what separates Death Valley Cables from the others:
1. We are the only guitar cable manufacturer — as far as we know — that hand insulates the wires INSIDE the plug housings. Yes, there are other manufacturers who quickly slap cheap shrink tube OVER the plug housing. We don't do this for a variety of structural reasons (see 9.). But we do hand cut and place each piece of shrink tube inside each
plug housing, which is extremely time consuming. In the straight plugs, this is three extra layers of insulation — making a catastrophic short almost impossible.
|ONLY DVCC insulates bare wires inside the plug housings by hand. Red shrink tube insulates the hot wire; clear shrink tube is applied over that. A plastic sleeve will be applied over these two layers to insulate the assembly further from the metal plug housing — a total of three insulation layers.
More importantly, it prevents a tiny stray wire hair from degrading the signal. This hand insulation process is NOT the same as a cellophane or paper tube inside the plug housing. Our shrink-tubing process segregates hot from ground. It doesn't just simply cover the wire assembly inside the plug housing, although we do that too.
2. We only use the top price tier of G&H plugs. G&H copper-core plugs — we think — are the best plugs going. G&H has several plug types. We only use the TOP price level. Our G&H plugs are ALL metal. When you order gold-plated plugs from us, our plugs are completely gold-plated, not just the plug barrel.
3. Order ANY length guitar cable from us, from about three inches to 500 feet. Five feet, six inches ... No problem. 21.5 feet. We make them. Try finding those sizes at your local guitar super store.
4. No automated machines are used .... and that includes hand wire strippers for the outside insulation on TS coax. We don't use them. We use only an Xacto knife to slice off the outer insulation. Plier-type strippers can nick tens of wire hairs, which will lead to premature guitar cable failure.
5. Both shield and hot wires are hand twisted before soldering to stop wire furring and completely tinned. We backflow solder up to the beginning of the insulation.
6. We fold over a hefty twisted length of shield wire and solder that to the ground lug under the cable. So, the harder you pull on the guitar cable, the more you pull on the ground lug, not on the lug cable clips. The cable itself will snap mid-cable before that ground wire would ever come loose from that ground lug. Most manufacturers simply solder the ground to the END of the ground lug. Our folded-over ground-wire soldering
technique requires a lot of practice. And wires must be held in place at three areas during soldering.
|Death Valley Cables hand twists both hot and ground wires AND notches the insulation to prevent furring (see 5 and 8).
7. The cable wires are pressed FIRMLY in contact with the plug lugs and held in place with heavy clips during soldering (see photo, below right). Therefore, the signal passes directly from wire to plug lug. It doesn't have to pass through a pool of solder.
8. We slightly notch the outer cable insulation by hand, so the ground wire is pulled back inside the insulation, a real pain to do, but it adds years to the guitar cable's life because the wire "hairs" can't escape the insulation to cause a short (see photo to left). The harder you pull on our guitar cable, the farther the ground wire recedes from a possible short, instead of being pushed so that nothing but a short can result. Impossible to do with a machine.
9. We do NOT use vinyl coverings OVER the plug housing and cable, nor do we use cable locks. Some restrict the cable "bend area" where it leaves the plug housing. Since the guitar cable has to bend always in that tiny area, it fails faster. With G & H plugs and traditional clamps inside the plug housing, the bend area is spread over a few inches. More wire bends less --- and the cable lasts longer.
Plus, frankly, we agree with customers who have told us that they think shrink tube covering a plug is FUGGLY. Why would anyone want to cover a beautifully designed gold-plated plug with a penny's worth of smanky plastic? It's like covering your guitar in a plastic slip cover. Yeah, sure it prevents scratches, but it's like seat covers in a Ferrari. Can you say completely tasteless? What were they thinking?
10. We retin the exposed wire AND smooth the cuts with a file when excess wire is cut off at the end of our soldering process (by hand of course). Sharp edges would
over time cut through the insulation on the inside of the plug housings and cause a short (four extra manufacturing steps per plug).
|Death Valley Cables firmly clamps wires in direct contact with the plug before soldering, so the signal goes directly from wire to plug without going through a big pool of solder (see 7).
11. Each and every guitar cable is tested with a multimeter and with an actual guitar through an amplifier. When we test with a guitar, we move and squeeze the guitar cable along its entire length to make sure there isn't a rare internal intermittent short in the cable.
12. We ONLY make guitar cables. We do not make USB cables or TRS cables or MIDI cables or coax for broadcast TV or whatever. We only make guitar cables --- period.
There's only one
Death Valley Cable!
Just because you have the materials to make a Death Valley Cable doesn't mean that you have the know-how to make one. Yes, the best materials play a big part in making Death Valley Cables the best guitar cable. But without the best manufacturing process, you would just have a useless pile of the best parts. Let's face it kids, you may have the same equipment as Keith Richards, but that doesn't mean you know how to use it as well as Keith.
Some of our manufacturing steps are visible to anyone who unscrews one of our plug housings. Others are downright invisible, like the aforementioned nonuse of commercial wire strippers. But just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they're not important.
Some customers ask us why we don't compare our manufacturing techniques with the competition, point by point. The answer is simple. Other manufacturers change
their specs and materials continually. (They say they're improving the product when they're actually many times looking to contain costs).
|Just say no to fuggly
cheap plastic on
the plug housings
Another trick is the famous fine print at the bottom of the page: "Specifications subject to change without notice." A price and a specification list for Super-Brand-X cables somewhere on the internet does NOT always mean that Super-Brand-X cables are really available in that exact configuration for that exact price. DO NOT assume that what you read is what you get.
With us you really do get exactly what you read. The last thing we want to do is change manufacturing steps without notice. It took years to hone these manufacturing steps to make the best traditional guitar cable on the planet.