How to Choose Which Guitar Cable to Buy

Selecting the ideal guitar cable can make all the difference to your sound, so it is vitally important that it can withstand even your toughest playing and touring conditions.

Fender cables offer reliable performance you can rely on when on stage, with low capacitance for clean tone transfer and durable construction that stands up over time.

1. Connectors

Your cable’s jack connectors play an integral part in shaping its sound quality, so it is crucial that you select one with high-quality plugs that can easily be repaired when necessary. Furthermore, make sure the connecting end doesn’t pull apart or form loose connections over time.

The ideal guitar cable jacks should be constructed of premium metal such as gold, and offer a secure connection between its inner wires and those inside of the connector itself. Furthermore, they should feature a pull restrainer to prevent accidental cable withdrawal; additionally, its sleeve should feel sturdy without feeling plasticy when grasped by hand.

When selecting cables, look for the 6.3mm mono connector (commonly referred to as a 1/4″ TS). This jack type typically found on electric guitars has its tip carrying audio signals while its sleeve provides grounding; making this connector type the go-to choice from brands producing quality connectors.

A quality guitar cable can help enhance both tone and durability of your gear, but it is worth remembering that the signal sent through a cable is analog, and can degrade over long distances if the cables don’t meet quality or shielding specifications.

Assuming you don’t possess extensive electronics experience, reputable brands with excellent customer service and warranties tend to be your best bet when choosing new cables. While super-high end cables may offer even purer sound than their more moderately priced alternatives, most guitarists agree that any marginal increase in performance doesn’t justify the premium price tag. When shopping for cables it is usually best to opt for moderately priced options featuring quality components – this will save you much frustration in the long run! Additionally it is key that they are treated correctly; making sure they remain coiled when not being used; avoid standing on or pulling on them to extend their lifespan – prolong their lives considerably! Keeping their coiled properly when not using will also extend their lives considerably and keeping away from stands/pull ons can extend their lives significantly!

2. Shielding

A shield is a layer of conductive material encasing cable, usually composed of copper or aluminum. This shield serves to shield its inner conductors from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), both forms of noise which can distort audio signals causing distortions or even complete loss. By keeping these noise sources away, shielding helps preserve signal integrity as audio travels along cable.

Shielding will never completely eradicate 60-cycle hum from AC power sources, but it can significantly decrease it. Shielding can also help minimize handling noise when cables are bent or squeezed – this is especially valuable for guitar cables which often experience lots of movement when being transported from place to place.

Not only can shields help reduce noise pollution, they can also extend the life of guitar cables. When selecting one it is essential that it has a durable PVC jacket which won’t crack or fray over time.

Make sure your cable features high-quality connectors – these will likely experience the greatest stress as you plug and unplug it constantly – from well-respected brands, such as Neutrik.

Gold-plated connectors may be more desirable than nickel or silver versions, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to superior tone quality. Gold may be less prone to corrosion and last longer without tarnishing, yet still be susceptible to the same stresses as nickel and silver versions – the important thing is getting a quality plug that will withstand constant plugging-and-unplugging of your guitar cable.

Your guitar may come equipped with cheap black cables that tend to fail quickly with use, which might seem cost-effective and convenient at first. But they may end up costing more in terms of reliability than expected in time. For optimal results when upgrading, opt for coiled models as these tend to provide greater stability than non-coiled options and produce slightly warmer tones when combined with single coil pickups.

3. Length

Guitarists invest thousands into their guitars and amplifiers, yet frequently overlook the cables they use to connect them! A high quality cable can make a significant impactful change to the sound produced from their equipment; therefore, when selecting one it is crucial to keep certain aspects in mind such as:

First and foremost, when selecting an instrument cable you want a suitable length. This will prevent unnecessary strain being placed upon it by plugging into your guitar headstock (or pedalboard). Bending or cracking at this location could potentially damage your instrument as well as introduce noise into its signal!

The ideal length for your guitar cable depends on your needs and setup, but as a general guideline longer cables tend to cause signal loss or degradation if they are poor quality. As lengthening increases internal capacitance can affect high frequency response of your signal – therefore choosing one with low-capacitance design and superior shielding is vital in order to guarantee maximum sound quality.

Considerations should also be given when using multiple cables at once: the cables should all have similar lengths in order to avoid phasing or frequency cancellation issues in your signal. For instance, if using two cables between an amp and effects pedals, ensure they have similar measurements so your signal won’t be negatively affected by any differences between lengths.

One of our go-to guitar cables for this reason is the Evidence Audio Lyric. Preferred by industry greats such as David Gilmour and Jeff Beck, this cable features a flexible design for easy coiling and storage as well as low capacitance that prevents any unwanted effects on tone. Plus, with its lifetime warranty against defects – rest assured your cable won’t succumb to time!

4. Price

Most guitar cables range between $20 to $100 in cost, with higher-end options costing significantly more. Premium cables typically use higher quality materials and construction methods which result in significant tonal improvements over cheaper alternatives.

However, the sound quality of any cable will depend on various other factors as well – including frequency of usage and how it’s treated during playback. A guitar cable that’s frequently stepped on or pulled at awkward angles will likely wear out faster. A higher-quality guitar cable should typically outlive standard cables – saving money over time by eliminating costly replacement needs.

Though using the cheap cables that came with your guitar is certainly no sin, most guitarists will discover that upgrading to better cables offers a more consistent tone while decreasing time spent changing out cables after every gig. An investment in high-quality cable can also make a difference when it comes to reliability; after all, no player wants their cables dying in an inopportune moment!

Evidence Audio’s Pro Series cable is an excellent choice for guitarists looking to avoid tangled cables and who don’t mind spending a bit more for peace of mind. Equipped with Neutrik connectors that are widely renowned as being among the most dependable on the market and boasting an anti-tangling braided exterior that helps prevent unwanted tangling, it comes in different length options with right angle or straight jack models for ultimate flexibility.

D’Addario offers another reliable cable at an economical price: The American Stage from D’Addario features a dual conductor design to offer efficient signal transfer with low capacitance values, keeping your guitar’s tone consistent throughout its length. Available in several lengths and even including a solderless pack for wiring your pedalboard, this cable delivers reliability at a reasonable cost.