Do Guitar Cables Make a Difference in Your Sound?

Most guitar cable manufacturers boast that their more costly options offer purer tone. Furthermore, many have thicker cables with gold shielding to increase longevity.

Capacitance is the driving force behind cable tone. To better comprehend it, let’s examine its construction in detail.


Many reputable guitar cable manufacturers boast that the more expensive models provide superior sound quality. According to them, these high-priced cables utilize better materials and construction methods, as well as creating more transparent tones with their transparent nature. This claim may hold water since more expensive cables tend to be more durable. They may even contain luxurious components like gold shielding or thicker insulation materials.

However, the key distinction between cheap and premium cables lies in their signal handling abilities. Cheap cables may cause interference and noise that reduce sonic transparency; on the other hand, high quality cables will mitigate these problems so you can hear your signal clearly.

Guitar amplifier cables must deliver an unamplified signal from your guitar to an amplifier without increasing in power, without resistance from electrical current flow; to accomplish this they need to be well insulated; typically comprised of one small diameter “positive” inner wire connected via braided shield conductor that acts as ground connection as well as various insulators and an outer jacket.

Capacitance, or its ability to store electrical charge, determines a cable’s high-frequency response. A cable with high capacitance may lose treble frequencies and therefore diminish clarity and detail; on the other hand, low capacitance cables allow more treble frequencies into your amp, improving guitar tone.

As part of your considerations when purchasing cables is length. A too short cable may cause impedance mismatch, while too-long ones may result in signal degradation or heat up the wires, as well as potentially tangled cords which restrict electron flow and alter your tone.

Therefore, it is crucial that cables are stored neatly and appropriately. Coiled up when not in use is ideal as this protects their insulation from twisting or kinking which could restrict electron flow, diminishing tone quality. Also be careful when connecting or disconnecting from guitar as excess force could damage internal wiring of cables; cable holders or Velcro straps should be used for security to reduce stress on them.


An effective guitar cable can make a world of difference to your sound. A quality cable should have two conductors and be properly shielded to withstand long runs; additionally, low capacitance and series resistance will help decrease noise and distortion caused by longer cables; finally it must be flexible enough to withstand use and handling while remaining easily mobile.

By replacing instrument cables with lamp cord, using lamp cord can result in buzzing and humming sounds as well as interference with signal transmission, leading to overall poor sound quality. It is essential to recognize there are two distinct types of guitar cables – instrument and speaker – and that they cannot be interchanged without experiencing various adverse side effects such as noise feedback or even complete equipment failure.

Genuine instrument cables can be purchased for an affordable price; however, beware of cheap imitation cables being sold as genuine. Counterfeit guitar cables often do not possess quality components to match those found in genuine cables and could potentially damage your equipment and may not offer adequate shielding against electromagnetic interference.

Shielding is essential to creating an airtight Faraday cage around the electronics and wiring in your guitar, protecting them from radio frequencies or electrostatic fields from other electrical equipment that might create unwanted feedback loops or electrostatic fields. There are various methods available for shielding guitars – conductive graphite paint, copper or aluminium tape are among them – however if you decide to do it yourself it’s essential not to allow hot connections from touching any shielding as this could result in short circuiting; heat shrink tubing or black tape can cover any potential short circuiting issues caused by missing soldered connections not being soldered onto pots and switches – as this prevents unwanted feedback loops or electrostatic fields generated from electrical equipment nearby.

Handling and storing your guitar cable properly is also key. Avoid twisting or bending it as this could damage its performance and compromise its integrity, so coil your cables neatly using cable ties or Velcro straps to avoid tangling them up. Furthermore, regularly inspect plugs on your cables for signs of wear or corrosion to replace as necessary.


Shorter cables generally sound better; most people agree. Longer cables tend to have greater capacitance, which reduces treble from your signal. Most guitar leads are 20 feet (6 metres). Longer cables also tend to have greater resistance which causes some loss of clarity.

When looking to reduce capacitance, the most effective approach is using high-quality cables with braided outer jackets – these will keep the copper wires apart as much as possible while thicker insulation reduces any potential hum or interference due to electrical current passing through it.

Many premium cables boast luxurious materials, such as gold-shielding and more flexible outer jackets made of flexible plastic. This can make a significant difference to tone as well as longevity – less likely to bend or flex, potentially damaging conductors and leading to signal loss.

Budget shoppers still have many options for affordable cables. Many companies sell low-cost models costing under PS20 that typically feature solid copper wire construction that’s less costly to produce compared to its stranded counterpart, as well as lower grade insulation which may increase noise levels in their cable.

Consideration should be given when selecting a guitar cable’s length; most guitarists require at least two cables – one from their guitar to their amp, and another to connect their effects pedals to it – in order to connect to their amplifier effectively. Both cables should ideally measure around 20 feet (6 metres). This allows players to easily alter tone while playing without moving too far away from their position on stage.

Beginners might do well to invest in lower-priced cables, while more experienced players should look for higher-quality leads with greater durability and better sound clarity. More expensive cables may last longer while offering clearer sound; some premium options even come equipped with metal casing to protect key soldering points.

Cables don’t normally make much difference in audio electronics, with only three exceptions being microphones, turntable cartridges and electric guitars being affected significantly by them. Guitars tend to have relatively high impedance sources so cables may add capacitance that filters frequency range. This effect is especially prominent with passive guitars while active instruments have lower impedance output impedance so cables won’t have as great an effect.


One of the main advantages of investing in high-quality guitar cables is their long-term reliability; this is thanks to being made of more resilient materials with better connections that reduce breakage or snapping. Furthermore, many higher-grade cables come with warranties covering any damage or breakages sustained during use.

Price for quality guitar cables varies significantly depending on their features and construction. A basic cable may cost $30 while premium cables could double that amount. Some companies provide lifetime warranties to protect your investment but it is essential that you read over these details thoroughly prior to making a decision.

Most high-end guitar cables feature solid, oxygen-free copper conductors for maximum sound quality and to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). Some manufacturers also employ flexible stranded conductors that allow more movement under stress; and higher end guitar cables come equipped with layers of conductive plastic covering the conductors which enhance moisture resistance and may help reduce transmission of electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Guitar cable jack connectors are of equal importance when selecting a high-quality cable. As the point of connection between cable and guitar jack can become an easily damaged stress point, quality cables will incorporate strain relief either built into or molded onto their jack connectors or jacket. Some manufacturers even make special angled connectors designed to prevent cables from getting tangled when plugging them into guitars with inputs on both sides.

Other features that can increase the performance of a guitar cable include balanced outputs and right angle connectors. Balanced cables transmit signal along three wires with positive and negative wires opposite in polarity; this reduces noise pickup by the guitar and keeps overall sound clear and undistorted; however, balanced cables only work with guitars which feature balanced outputs.