Picking out a new electric guitar, amp, or upgrades like new pickups or tuners all feel a lot more exciting than buying electric guitar cables. However, these seemingly simple products can significantly affect how your sound reaches an audience.
The last thing you want is to introduce excess noise or destroy your tone by channeling it through cheap cables unfit to transmit your genius between the guitar and amp.
Listen, I’ve been there. You’re looking at a wall of the best guitar cables, and you have no idea what to pick. Maybe one’s not good enough, or another is too expensive for your budget.
This was the same story with me until I became an instrument cable expert.
Though it’s not the sexiest purchase you can make, you can hear the difference between cables.
It’s not easy to find the best electric guitar cable, however. There are many different types, and they vary in price from $5 to $200+.
It can take hours of research before deciding, but that’s where I come in! I’ve done all the hard work for you by figuring out which cables are worth your time and energy, so you don’t have to.
You’re on the wrong site if you’re interested in this kind of cable!
What is a Guitar Cable?
Guitar cables are used to connect to amps and effects. They are like the veins and arteries of a musician’s instrument.
Making sure cables are in top shape is crucial to delivering your best performance, but even if you have all the “right” parts, there can be interference that prevents quality sound from coming through. This makes it hard for audiences to understand the depth of your genius.
The signal transfer must be fast and clean, so we will look for quality components like 24k gold connectors and oxygen-free copper. Shielding is essential, too; electronic interference could mean fuzzy tones on stage, messing up an otherwise stellar live set.
Here’s the inside of a guitar cable:
The inner wires make up, in this example, the oxygen-free copper core. This is the conductor, which sends the signal. It’s composed of wrapped strands of copper wire. Multiple strands of wire increase flexibility by making the core more forgiving when bent.
Cheap cables use a single wire for the core. Boo! These will break.
The conductor is then wrapped in insulation. Insulator thickness impacts cable flexibility. Today, most insulators are a thermoplastic material (high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, conductive PVC, FPE).
The next layer is the rubber electrostatic shield. The copper shield rubs against the insulation, creating static electricity. This shield layer discharges static and prevents the unwanted noise that would otherwise result from handling the guitar cable.
Next up is the shielding, made of copper wiring, just like the core. The shielding serves two functions: it acts as a return conductor for the signal and prevents radio and electromagnetic interference from reaching the core.
The outer jacket protects the cable and contains all of the brandings. It must be durable and flexible. PVC compounds are usually used for the outer jacket. PVC is less flexible than rubber, so an extra element of bend protection is added.
The first quality to examine in instrument cables is durability. Cables take a lot of abuse on stage, and you want to be sure that they will stand up under pressure. You’re not wrapping your cables appropriately, are you? You’re just shoving them in your bag.
Heavy-duty cables are made with a reinforced outer layer of PVC or nylon. These materials ensure that the cable can withstand any wear and tear it might encounter on tour. If durability is a top priority for you, heavy-duty electric guitar cables are the best choice.
Durability varies between brands based on the thickness of the instrument cable and how many times it’s been coiled. Other durable cables include those reinforced with Kevlar or those made from solid rubber.
Different materials increase a cable’s durability. These include wire, copper shielding, and Mylar wrapping. Wire is the most abundant material used in guitar cables. It comes with a variety of gauge sizes which can be swapped out based on the needs of the instrument or venue to reduce noise as much as possible.
Copper shields are wrapped around a wire that has higher resistance than other materials but may cause an audible hiss.
The most important thing to remember regarding instrument cable durability is to keep the cable as straight and protected from physical abuse as much as possible.
The second quality to examine in an instrument cable is value. The best cables for electric guitar are a significant investment, but how do you know which ones are the most deserving of your money?
The best guitar cables cost anywhere from $20 to $500. The main factors influencing price include the length of the cable, thickness/diameter, wire gauge, and shielding.
All cables have some standard features: a connector at each end for plugging into your guitar and amplifier, as well as connectors on either side of the cable to connect with other pieces of equipment.
Don’t buy a high-quality cable for use with an amp if you’re only connecting it to pedals. If using cables in conjunction, make sure the longest one is plugged into the amplifier and then continue plugging shorter ones from there.
The best amount to spend on a cable for home use is typically around $20 to $40. It’s possible, but challenging, to find a cable for cheaper than this price range, and it may be worth the investment depending on your needs. The best amount to spend on a cable for live performance is typically around $50 to $100.
You want an instrument cable that is not too thick or heavy. Shielding is essential, but balancing noise reduction with functionality is necessary.
Here’s a guitar cable
Even the best guitar cables will eventually wear out if you’re playing lots of shows. That’s why it’s essential to find a cable that offers lifetime warranty coverage, because if you damage your guitar cables and the manufacturer doesn’t provide this protection, then you’re going to have to keep buying new ones all of the time.
You will probably need to spend a bit beyond basic to find a quality cable that offers this type of warranty.
Lifetime warranties are an indication that the manufacturer has confidence in their product and backs it up with professional customer service; you should, too, if you want to get your money’s worth.
Believe it or not, this isn’t just the name of my Mars Volta tribute band.
Oxygen-free copper is a must for guitar instrument cables. The copper is pure and prevents interference with the sound signal that runs through it, making this cable an excellent choice for your instrument.
In terms of the best guitar cables construction, oxygen-free copper is the gold, or copper, standard. This is because it’s more durable and less likely to corrode, which means a longer lifespan for your cable!
Oxygen-free copper cable, sometimes called OFC guitar wire, is constructed from purer material than traditional instrument cable wiring.
It also does not suffer from signal degradation as quickly as other materials used to construct guitar cables.
If you are on a tight budget but want high-quality sound, then an oxygen-free copper is the way to go.
A Quick Note About Cable Length and Signal Degradation
You may have heard that a longer cable impacts the tone of your output. This is true, but people argue in forums about this issue until they sound insane!
Most electric guitars are high impedance devices. Impedance measures electronic resistance. Longer instrument cables equal more resistance.
Forum tough guys seem to agree that around 18 feet is when you can notice some high-frequency roll-off, even with the best guitar cables. It doesn’t take long to hit 18 feet in a live scenario.
The best method for dealing with this impedance is with buffered pedals. These boost the signal to the degree that it eliminates tone degradation. Quality pedals and pedalboards incorporate this technology.
This only applies to passive pickups. Active pickups are low impedance, so it’s not much of a concern until you hit 100 feet or so.
Don’t get sucked into the forums! You’re better than that. Just experiment and see what you think.
This cable is shaped like a heart
Here’s another cable for you to examine
What is the Best Guitar Cable to Buy?
***Click To Check Price***
Mogami Gold Series (Best Overall)
The first guitar cable on my list is the Mogami Gold Series. Claimed to be the world’s best guitar cable, Mogami Gold Series focuses on quality control and premium materials throughout. They offer both short patch cables and more extended concert options.
Mogami Gold Series uses a unique soldering process with silver and gold plating, carbon PVC anti-static layers, and an ultrahigh density spiral shield for maximum clarity and noise reduction. The lifetime warranty makes these electric guitar cables an obvious choice.
Extremely durable, so you can expect them to last for a very long time without any need for replacement. I don’t know if I deserve something that’s 24k gold plated.
PRS Signature Instrument
Choose from straight and angled connections and links between five and 25 feet when you opt for a PRS brand guitar cable.
They may have a smaller diameter than other products on this list but have sufficient foil shielding and core conductivity to seriously reduce noise and allow for smooth signal transfer. Opting for a lightweight and narrow cable may make packing easier if you play on the road.
PRS Signature Instrument cables are known for their durability and reliability. They are very affordable, but they will last much longer than other cables at the same price.
Double plated chrome over nickel finished metal connectors to resist rusting. Woven cloth shielding blocks noise—ultra-high density.
This cable is lightweight, with a tangle-free design.
GLS Audio Tweed (Best Value)
Rigid and flexible with cloth-braided shielding, the GLS guitar cables are amazingly durable with conductive PVC and insulated copper shielding as well as internal heat shrink strain reliefs.
GLS cables are both affordable and built to last for years. Choose from straight/straight or right-angle connector options in a large selection of measurements. This is the best value for any cable on this list.
These cables also offer excellent noise immunity. GLS Audio is one of the most highly -regarded brands in the guitar cable industry.
GLS Audio Tweed cables are a little thicker than other, more expensive cables on this list. The extra thickness helps to provide better durability and overall protection for your electric guitar’s signal as it travels down the length of the cable. You will love the braided shielding.
D’Addario Planet Waves American Stage (Best Everyday)
D’Addario has become a household name for musicians since the 1970s. Their sturdy and road-ready electric guitar cables can handle a lot of use without compromising their structure or signal clarity. Braided copper reduces noise, and the gold-plated tips lock in securely for uninterrupted signal transfer. These USA-made cables come with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
A good option for the everyday guitarist. The Planet Waves cables have some of the best reviews on Amazon and Guitar Center.
The American Stage cable is an excellent choice if you don’t want to spend too much money but still want a guitar cable that will last. Braided copper conductor reduces the risk of interference, and the cable’s design makes it resistant to tangles.
These cables are American-made, so you know they’re ready to kick ass! They also come in a variety of colors, which is perfect if you like your guitar cables to be stylish and durable!
Lava Van de Hul Hybrid
This electric guitar cable may cost beyond the budget for many musicians. However, you get a spiral twist four-wire configuration for virtually noise-free output for this higher price. These are well worth the cost for their sound and durability.
It only comes in 10 or 20-foot lengths, which may not make it suitable for some users. The Lava Van de Hul brand uses a proprietary conductor technology that improves durability by quite a bit.
One of the best guitar cables that I have found. They are triple-shielded and made from a mix of copper and silver wire, which results in an excellent soundscape with no signal loss or interference.
The cable is constructed to resist kinking, pulling, or damaging the wires inside. This results in a long life span for your cables that can likely outlast any other brand of guitar cables out there.
Low capacitance, this guitar cable presents a low load to the signal source. This means that long runs of cable can be used without signal loss.
A lifetime warranty is offered with these cables. I would hope so, at this price!
Ernie Ball Instrument
Most popular with musicians who travel and need to set up stage frequently shows, the Ernie Ball electric guitar cables are highly durable and resist tangling with their unique construction.
The copper-stranded conductors ensure crisp transference, and the double shields reduce noise down to nothing when it comes to sound.
Besides lengths between 10 and 25 feet, Ernie Ball cables come in a wide variety of colors that can augment your stage show with style.
The Ernie Ball Instrument Cable is not as expensive as other quality guitar cables, but it still has a quality sound that musicians will love.
Red Dragon Amboz
These electric guitar cables are available in four colors with either straight or angled plugs; these electric guitar cables offer lightweight yet rugged construction, flexibility for long-term use, and excellent signal quality.
Signal conductivity gets help from the oxygen-free copper core and hand-soldering throughout. Copper and electrostatic PVC layers reduce noise, so nothing interrupts your music. This brand also offers a lifetime guarantee.
This is the best option for someone who needs a long guitar cable that can be adjusted as needed and doesn’t want to mess with adapters or connectors.
This cable’s features include durable material, excellent sound quality, and length, single connectivity.
Don’t leave your cables all over the stage. You will trip or stomp on them all night.
Vox Premium Vintage Coil
Although not as popular, electric guitar players who enjoy a coiled guitar cable cannot go wrong with the Vox premium vintage design. It uses all the latest copper cable cores and gold-plated connectors for rich sound and noise reduction.
The 29-foot length barely affects the sound quality of these new cables. The high-density spiral shape minimizes perceived size and is a superior style choice only the most remarkable guitarists enjoy.
A coiled guitar cable has a slightly higher price, but it will last you years and can withstand plenty of abuse because the wire is coiled up tightly.
The Vox Premium Vintage Coil guitar cable has one feature that sets it apart from the rest – its vintage look. This not only looks fantastic on stage or in your studio, but it is also a great way to distinguish your gear from others’.
Fender Deluxe Series
This extremely popular guitar brand also offers high-quality cables at affordable prices. The core of this guitar cable is a large gauge wire that is covered with a heavy-duty mesh for maximum protection.
These bad boys range from 5 to 25 feet, have gold-plated connectors, copper core and shielding, and high durability.
The Fender deluxe series are slightly wider than other options on this list, but it does not add much to their weight or affect portability. Fender gives all electric guitar cables and a lifetime warranty.
They are made with a solderless, nickel-plated brass connector. The deluxe series are impedance matched to ensure optimum performance.
The products that hit this best guitar cables list offer the sound transference power you need to impress your audience with your musical talent and genius. Value does not mean cheap if you care about quality.
The best guitar cable will make all the difference for your electric guitar tone. With so many choices available, it can be challenging to find a good one that is affordable and high quality.
Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive option or something top-of-the-line, choose wisely – this decision could have long-term ramifications on your sound quality and performance.
How old are your cables? Get out that credit card!