One of the first things I learned to do when I was a young musician was to solder so I could build and fix my own cables and gear. The number of hours I spent in my parents basement burning my fingers while learning the art is forever seared in my brain.
I rarely do it any more, mostly because we’ve learned to build better cables and connectors that break less frequently, and because I don’t gig anymore so my cables don’t take the abuse they once did. And I no longer build and repair the electronic gear that I use. I hate to say it, but most of the time it’s cheaper to buy something new, and in the case of digital gear, you can’t easily repair a multi-layered board. Ah, for the days of point-to-point wiring!
All that said, soldering is still a valuable skill to master, and it’s something that every musician and everyone that works in a studio should not only learn, but get good at. It does you no good to repair something with a bad solder joint that either won’t work or will fail soon.
This excellent article on common soldering problems is a must for anyone who practices the art to take a look at. The pictures of both good and bad joints are well worth the time and even a bookmark. Some of the examples of ugly solder joints make me cringe, but these are things that you see occasionally. Best to identify and fix them before they cause you a problem down the road. The side graphic tells you a lot, but the article is even better.
There’s nothing like fixing that bad cable yourself while saving a few bucks in the process, but it doesn’t do you much good if it keeps breaking, and this article will help make sure that doesn’t happen.