For the past few years I have used George L’s solderless patch cables. Honestly they have had great tone and build very well from the start. I have never had any issues with them coming apart or connections breaking. That being said recently I downsized my pedalboard and the pedals that I needed to use would not fit just because the George L’s jacks were so huge. After going to the George L’s site it became apparent that new jack sizes and technology would not be coming anytime soon so I started to look at other options. My first choice was Lava Cable as they have been the other huge player in solderless cables.
After chatting with Lava Cable I was very impressed with their communication and willingness to answer questions. Their site was built well and it is very evident that they are pushing forward with more ground breaking patch cable products than perhaps anyone in the cable industry. I had read and heard both good and bad reviews about the Lava Solderless plugs so I did not know what to expect upon getting them. I went ahead and ordered 10 feet of TightRope cable and 30 right angle solderless plugs to wire up my board and have a few extras should I ever decide to go with a bigger board again.
They arrived only 3 days after ordering them along with a 5′ Tephra Speaker Cable that I also ordered. I began disassembling my board and the George L’s thinking, “Man I hope these things are good”. I mapped out my new pedal layout and got to work making the cables. While the cable making process takes a bit longer than George L’s I love the fact that the plug is threaded onto the copper core of the cable. It just felt sturdier to me. I did not have a cable tester so I started testing each cable one by one between two pedals. Nearly three quarters of the cables i made did not work or had a bad ground connection. Needless to say I was frustrated.
I did however hear from some friends that you have to follow Lava Cable’s Tightrope video (View Below) to the “T” and if you do your cables will all work. Well being a man I glanced over the video and did not watch it all of the way through. Stupid. I know! I went back through and remade all of the cables according to the exact instructions of the video and bingo every single one worked. The lengths and measurements of all of the cuts are extremely crucial.
I have changed my pedalboard up twice since switching to Lava Cable and I must say I have yet to make a cable that did not work now that I know the “Correct” way to cut and make them. The people that are complaining on forums likely did not follow the video or are just not understanding it because these cables are very sturdy.
Now I mentioned before that the George L’s always had great tone. I really only switched because I needed less wasted space on my board. I was pleasantly surprised upon plugging into my board after the switch. There was a definite difference in tone. I won’t go as far as to say better but it was definitely different. The Lava Cable seems to allow more of the bass and lower mid range through while the George L’s have a brighter characteristic to them. I have read and heard that tonality changes is all in our minds but to me that is what I hear.
I must say that if you are willing to put in some extra time assembling cables and value higher quality and a company that is pushing forward in the industry then Lava solderless is the way to go. Can’t say enough. I do keep some George L’s in my guitar tool kit just in case a patch cable goes out because they are so fast to assemble. I have yet to have that happen though.