How to Wire a Guitar Speaker Cab

Written by david medairos
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How to Wire a Guitar Speaker Cab
Learn how to properly wire your guitar speaker cabinet. (amplifier image by Darko Draskovic from Fotolia.com)

Guitar speaker cabinets (or "cabs") are synonymous with the electric guitar. Usually loaded with four 12-inch speakers, guitar cabs are vital to reproducing guitar tone on stage, and in the studio. Removing the back of a guitar cabinet reveals the speaker terminals and wiring. Re-wiring a guitar cabinet, or wiring one for the first time, can be done with a few basic tools. Standard wiring for guitar cabinets is for a mono configuration with series-parallel wiring.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Circuit cleaner
  • Speaker wire
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire strippers
  • Screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove any previous wire from your speakers. Clean all contact surfaces with a small amount of circuit cleaner and a paper towel. Circuit cleaner is available in spray can form at most electronic supply stores.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut six pieces of speaker wire, long enough to reach between each speaker, with two or three inches of slack to allow for easy soldering.

  3. 3

    Strip 1/4 inch of shielding from the ends of each wire with the wire stripper tool.

  4. 4

    Solder a wire connecting the negative terminals of both left speakers together. the negative terminals should be marked by the colour black or a "-" symbol.

  5. 5

    Solder a wire connecting the positive terminals of both right speakers together. The positive terminals should be marked by the colour red or a "+" symbol.

  6. 6

    Solder a wire from the positive terminal of the top left speaker to the negative terminal of the top right speaker. Repeat this connection for the bottom two speakers.

  7. 7

    Solder a wire from the negative terminal of the bottom left speaker to the negative terminal of the cabinet's input jack. The negative terminal of the input jack is the contact that connects to the metal ring at the base of the jack.

  8. 8

    Solder a wire from the positive terminal of the bottom right speaker to the positive terminal of the cabinet's input jack. The positive terminal of the input jack is the contact that connects to the metal arm that reaches up from the base of the jack.

  9. 9

    Check that all your solder connections are solid and reassemble your guitar cabinet.

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