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Cable Snake – How to assemble a pedalboard cable snake

A six-metre cable snake will serve as our example.

For a finished six-metre snake you’ll need:

– Six metres of audio cable

– Seven metres of AC power cable

– Five metres of cable sock

That’s right, you need a longer piece of AC cable and a shorter piece of cable sock to end up with the desired length of cable snake.

This is true regardless of the final length of your snake. Your AC cable has to have enough length to comfortably reach the floor at the amplifier end and enough slack to reach inside the pedalboard without cable sock on the top.

If you’re using a full stack you can add additional half metre for already added extra length for the power cord. In the end, it is far easier to cut something off, should you feel your AC cord is too long after all, than having to redo the complete snake due to an insufficiently long power cable.

Measuring and preparing cable snake

  • Measure lengths of six metres for all the signal leads you require – like pedalboard output, amp switching, or audio cables for an FX loop.
  • Cut off seven metres of AC cable.

    • Cut off five metres of cable sock. Use a cigarette lighter right away to melt the fibres around the cuts, otherwise the mesh will start to unravel.
    • Use electrical tape to tape off the board-facing tips of the cables meant for the cable snake. The ends have to be as smooth as possible, otherwise they will catch in the cable sock and rip its inner surface.

    • Lay out and straighten all the cables. You can’t feed looped or tangled strands into the sock.
    • Feed the whole bunch of cables into the cable sock in one go. You have to go very slowly, taking care to straighten the expanding sock, so it will fit on easier. Proceed slowly and calmly.

      Once you’ve fed the cables successfully into the sock, and the bunch has come out at the other end, straighten the sock material once more and remove any kinks.

      Both ends of the snake should have equal lengths of cables sticking out from under the sock. Then roll up the half-finished cable snake cleanly to wait for the next step.

      Choosing when to attach the cable snake to the pedalboard depends on where exactly all the different outputs are situated on your board, and if they’re still visible once all pedals are in place.

      This guide is written with a pedalboard in mind that gives you easy access to all connectors even with the pedals in place, which is why we attach the snake at this point of the project.

      A cable snake is like the finishing touch to a board, especially when attached last, which gives you the opportunity to disconnect the snake, or modify it, without having to touch any of the patch cabling.

      Think where do you usually stand on stage? If you’re standing to the left (from the drummer’s viewpoint) it’s called Stage Left, and this means your cable snake should leave your board from its left side.

      • Roll back enough of the cable sock at the board-facing end of the snake, so that you will be able to route the different cables neatly on the pedalboard frame.
      • Make a quick sketch of how the different cables will need to be spread across the frame to get to their connectors – either on top or beneath the board.
      • Connect all signal cables, along with possible cables for MIDI or channel switching. Use the same Safety Clips for attachment that you’ve used for the patch cables, to attach and secure the cables to the frame.
      • Once you’re satisfied all the cables are secured correctly, roll back the cable sock until it ends up a few centimetres inside the frame’s outer edge.

      Heat-shrink tubing or electrician’s tape?

      We don’t use heat-shrink tubing for our cable snakes, because it makes later adjustments to the snake's placement more difficult. We use a pro-grade, slightly vulcanizing black electrical tape manufactured by 3M. This tape is easy to roll onto the snake tightly, and it makes for a very neat look when trimmed with scissors. Additionally, this tape is extremely easy to peel off and reapply, should the need arise.

      • Tighten the cable sock’s end – the last few centimetres – around the snake’s cables using electrician’s tape.
      • A cable snake can build up a surprising amount of torque, which makes it very important to install it in such a way that keeps the flow of the snake natural.
      • Usually the clips’ own adhesive needs 24 hours to settle completely. In some instances the clips will need some additional help provided by a drop of superglue.
      • Cut off the cable ties right next to their locks, and make sure no sharp edges stick out.

      Attaching the cable snake fixedly with the Safety Anchor set

      • When the cables in the snake are attached to the board in their own places, place the snake against the bottom of the pedalboard so that the pedalboard end of the cable sock goes under the board for about 5 cm.
      • Attach three Safety Anchors to the board side by side and slide the cable ties into them.
      • Tape up the end of the cable snake for the length of the bit that goes past the Anchors.
      • Attach the snake with the cable ties.

      If the snake is thick, you can also attach the Safety Anchors by clipping two pieces of the black 3M Dual Lock tape of the length of the three Anchors and attaching the Anchors with it. Thus the Anchors are unlikely to ever come out by itself, because the glue in the 3M Dual Lock is much stronger than the one in the Safety Clips.

      The glue takes time to gain its full adherence, so it might be a good idea to use for instance the cable ties that came with the pedalboard or a clamp or a vice of some kind to secure the attachment to the pedal board for the time the glue in the Safety Anchors or in the 3M Dual Lock dries. Usually 24 hours is enough for this. If you’re okay aesthetically with the extra cable ties you can always leave them in permanently.


      SHOULD YOU, FOR ANY REASON, decide not to finish your pedalboard yourself, let us put the finishing touches on your pedalboard with the parts you have purchased from us. This way, nothing will have gone to waste.


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