Over the years, many pro guitarists have been arguing about what makes one cable better than the other. While we’ll discuss the rights and wrongs further in this article, let us first tell you, if you don’t choose the best guitar cable, you’re going to face deep trouble.
Undoubtedly, a good cable will not make you a better player or make it sound magical, but a bad one can definitely turn your performance into a disaster.
But, finding the best guitar cable can be tricky, considering the ample of options out there. It becomes difficult to fathom which one would work the best. Fret not, we’re here to help you!
However, before you begin to search for the best guitar cables, you have to decide what you are going to use it for. Are you in need of a guitar effects pedal cable or merely a long instrument cable to connect the guitar to the amp?
Next, the length of the cable also plays a crucial role in selecting the best guitar cable for you. Lastly, you have to think if you want a right-angled one or a straight guitar cable, as both these serve different purposes.
So, ultimately, finding the right accessory to enjoy the best and smooth sound from the electric guitar is not an easy task. But, we’ve made it as simple as possible in this specially drafted and we-researched buying guide.
It will give you all the insights about buying the best guitar cable. Don’t wait, read on to understand the dos and don’ts of this musical world.
How To Choose The Best Guitar Cable?
Needless to say, almost all cables have similar characteristics. But, not to forget, there is a striking difference between a standard guitar cable and the best guitar cable.
Knowing all the ins and outs is not quite possible, unless you are a professional in the field, there are certain key points that you must know while shopping for the best guitar cables.
So, without much ado, let’s take a dip into the factors that affect sound quality, smoothness, durability, and reliability.
The center conductor is the important component that you find in a guitar cable – so it needs to be prioritized. If the cable is made with a low-quality conductor, it will not conduct an electrical signal from the guitar effectively, but also will break down easily.
Thus, this must be your first and foremost consideration while buying the best guitar cable.
The center conductor may be made with a single copper conductor between 18 to 24 AWG, or by using a stranded conductor having a size of 32 to 40 AWG.
It wouldn’t be fair if we did not start marking the points from the chief element of a guitar cable. Yes, it is the conductor, the central point of a cable.
Generally, standard copper is used in the making of the conductor. It is not only a great signal conductor, but also feasible to produce. However, in modern times, most of the best guitar cables are made from types of copper, oxygen-free copper (OFC) or linear crystal copper (LC).
Both are pure versions of the metal. They help to improve the performance of the cable, and in turn give you the tone you desire.
Just as the name suggests, connectors connect (join) two ends together – the guitar on one end and the amp on another. They are basically 1/4 inch jacks that plug into the instrument and the amp.
The jack connector and the joint are points of weaknesses in a cable, as a lot of strain will be applied on it when you plug it in or out. Usually, silver-plated or gold-plated metal is used to make these jacks.
Though both these metals work fine, giving you an ideal sound, gold is considered to be a better material. However, you’re going to notice no particular difference in the tone.
But, you cannot deny the fact that gold resists tarnishing, which makes the cable much more durable.
While we tend to miss out on this, considering the shape of the connector is note-worthy. There are three choices available in the market, straight/straight, straight/angled and angled/angled.
Though choosing any of them will not really impact your performance – it is personal preference ultimately. Choose what you are comfortable with and you’re good to go.
Well, this is more about appeal than sound. The outer jacket of a guitar cable does not really have a great impact on sound quality. But it is the only part of the cable that you will see, until and unless the cable breaks into pieces – so it does have some importance.
The type of jacket you opt for is completely dependent on your personal choice. Usually, you will come across black polyethylene or black rubber jackets.
However, times are changing now and so are customer preferences, so you’ll find a range of cool bright colors as well. Let alone colors, some are even made of special materials. It will help you stand apart in the crowd and also easily identify which one belongs to you.
4. Insulation Material
Although we could get into a discussion of how capacitance affects sound quality and which materials are the best at keeping capacitance at its lowest when it comes to insulation in guitar cables; there are really only two types used – rubber and polyethylene.
Polyethylene has the lowest capacitance, so it should be most guitarist’s first choice. However, since it’s cheap enough that it’s used in both expensive and budget guitar cables, it really shouldn’t be an issue. Rubber is rarely used as an insulator these days, and its use has been on the decline for quite some time.
5. Electrostatic Shielding
Usually, electrostatic shielding found in best guitar cables is of two types, dacron and conductive PVC. Whether a cable uses the former or the latter, doesn’t really matter. What is important is that electrostatic shielding is used.
If you choose cheaper options, there are chances that such shieldings are not considered during the making, and you will notice some crackling sound when you move or bend them.
6. Outer Shielding
Outer shielding is available in three different types, namely braided, serve and foil shields. Each of them has a different effect on the flexibility of the cable as well as its impedance and audio transfer characteristics. Let’s get a brief idea about what differences these types offer.
1. Braided Shields
These types of shields are used as copper braids around the electrostatic shield, which you will find on the center conductor. They appropriately protect the signal from RF interference, and also offer consistent coverage.
As compared to others, braided shields are pretty expensive and less flexible.
2. Serve Shields
Such shields use a flat layer of copper strands wrapped around the center conductor in a clockwise direction or just counter-clockwise. Though it is quite flexible, it is not very strong as compared to the braided shield.
It works fine with frequencies 100 kHz or below. However, the RFI becomes troublesome at higher frequencies.
3. Foil Shield
These shields are recognized by mylar-backed aluminum foil above a copper wire. You get them at a comparatively economical price, but they are not flexible and also break into pieces easily.
Despite these flaws, they’re used when durability is not much of a concern, but space is. The reason behind this is that as compared to other shields, foil shields result in smaller cables.
7. Cable Length
Generally, the more the length of the cable, the greater is its noisiness. The commonly accepted length is 18.5 feet, but you can buy anything that is under 25-feet long.
With this length, you can not only hear clearly, but also easily measure the sound changes in the tone. Remember, the longer the cable, the more the tone is affected negatively.
So, it is a general rule of the thumb that you must buy the best guitar cable only as long as you want it. Keep it short or standard to ensure that your signal is not disturbed much.
Let’s accept this fact, your guitar cable is going to go through a lot of pressure. It is going to come under someone’s foot, a chair, get thrown away, and also get yanked in-out of the guitar amp. So, it is extremely essential that it should be strong and reliable.
However, when you talk about the reliability of a cable, it includes many different factors. You’ll find some top-rated manufacturers such as Mogami and Monster producing high-quality guitar cables that offer longevity.
Besides your experience, it is also better to read reviews of experts and other users to gauge the reliability of a particular cable.
Reading through the net will help you get the right sense of the product and the brands. But, if you’re feeling lethargic to do so, well you can just rely on our guide, because we’ve done the homework for you.
Yet another way to understand the reliability factor is to find out what professional guitarists are using as they tend to strain the cables a lot more than others as they jump between studio sessions and music tours.
9. Style Of Music
If you’re someone who mostly likes to play dub, you will want to go with the best guitar cable that is promoted as being well suited to that particular type of music, right? You’re absolutely wrong!
You will find some manufacturers advertising cables suiting particular music styles. Well, don’t bind yourself, it is just what you don’t think of usually – a good marketing strategy.
So, the kind of music you play and love does not have any connection in choosing the best guitar cable.
This needs no mention! Be it any product that you’re buying, checking the warranty is a must. So, when choosing the best guitar cable, it is no exception. There’s a simple rule that you can follow, ‘Buy it, if it offers a decent warranty.’ While average cables will give you a standard warranty, the premium ones tend to offer even lifetime warranties.
Some manufacturers also offer replacement facilities, all you need to do is send them your damaged cable, and they will return you a new one. Not that we have to mention, but ‘A good warranty is a good reason to spend a little more money.’
If we ask you, what makes a guitar sound amazing, what would be your answer? While some may say the innovative design, others may rely on expensive pickups, but very few will ponder upon guitar cables.
Well, the cables play as much an important role as every other component. The best guitar cables might not seem a big deal, but they can make or break the tune of the instrument.
So, choosing the ideal one that suits your needs is essential. Doing it alone may be a tedious task, so here we are with reviews of some of the best guitar cables available in the market. What are you waiting for? Let’s go!
Top 15 Best Guitar Cables 2020
1. Fender 10ft
If you’re in search of a gig-worthy best guitar cable, then nothing can beat the Fender Performance Series instrument cables. It is covered in a strong 8mm braided tweed jacket, which has dual benefits.
On one hand, it reduces handling noise, on the other, it helps to prevent the cable from getting tangled now and then. The tweed jacket comes with a unique design that helps you to distinguish and identify your cable from numerous others while you’re at a live gig.
It is thick and well-coated, keeping the signal free from unwarranted RF interference. Moreover, extra-thickness helps you to reinforce sound, prevent tangles and block unwanted interference.
Thick cables also offer lower impedance, so you’re not going to be disturbed with any toning issues that are generally encountered with, as in the case of thin cables.
There’s no denying to the fact that the instrument and player have a greater impact on the sound that finally comes out of the amp rather than the cable, but this one’s a greater choice if you desire a smooth experience.
The lower impedance allows your guitar’s harmonic content to shine brighter, without any particular loss of volume, though the difference might be just subtle. Also, that high-frequency will only sound better when you pair it with a rich-amplifier.
Furthermore, its connectors are powerful, sturdy and will not wear off easily. Since it is constructed from a high-standard material and is well-equipped, it offers good durability than any other inexpensive alternative. So, it can bear with your rough and tough use, without giving way easily.
As compared to other budget-friendly options available, this Fender’s product is the best guitar cable, as it fits your pocket, and also the difference in quality is apparent.
The cable’s connectors don’t tend to loosen or fall off even after everyday use. The solder points that connect the cable to the jack are stronger, which reduces any chances of malfunctioning mid-concert.
All in all, though it comes with a little heavy price-tag, it is worth all your investment, as it will be by your side for a longer time, unlike other low budget cables.
So, if you’re a guitarist who loves using outboard effects in your live-gigs, then a cable with good shielding and heavy-duty material is a must, and the Fender Performance Series just offers you that.
2. GLS Audio 20ft
On the second spot, we have a GLS Audio cable. This one comes with a braided tweet cloth jacket. It has a sturdy and a high-quality make. The materials used in making and its design are quite distinctive.
It only makes it less prone to wear and tear, thereby giving it a longer life. Not only is it durable, but also very flexible at the same time.
A factor that we usually tend to ignore when selecting the best guitar cable is its Picofarad rating. Well, it holds great importance, as it has a direct impact on the sound quality that the instrument emits.
As a general rule, the Picofarad rating is the lower quality of the sound of the cable. And it is here, where the GLS Audio stands as the winner, as it has a low Picofarad rating. Its rating is as low as 38 Picofarads per foot. So, it is a good choice regarding the quality of the sound.
Overall, this is one of the best guitar cables that you’ll find around. If you’re trying to find any faults in this cable, you might end up finding none, as it is just up to the mark.
3. Hosa GTR-210
What do you want from the best guitar cable? To give you a sound without any degradation of your tones right? Well, this is exactly what Hosa GTR-210 guitar cable offers. It is one of the inexpensive options that is made of high-quality materials.
For many guitar players, guitar cables might not be worth considering, but they play an important role in differentiating between good sound and poor sound. And this is where the Hosa GTR-210 helps you.
It is a cable that is a good blend of high-quality components and top-class manufacturing to offer great output. Just as the name suggests, it is equipped with unique Hosa technology. It features a 24 AWG Oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductor that gives enhanced signal clarity without any interruptions.
Furthermore, its hi-density OFC braided shield covers the conductor for almost 90%, so it can effectively reject EMI and RFI signals. The outer layer of the cable is made of rubber, making it more flexible to suit any situation. Not only does it protect sound, but it is also scratch-resistant.
Speaking of sound, the Hosa GTR-210 offers terrific sound quality and is a good sounding cable. It allows audio signals produced from the instrument to pass through without any quality degradation.
Just by tweaking and modifying it a little, you can get a crystal-clear sound. It has low capacitance, thus it makes the sound all the more amazing. This makes it an ideal option for your studio as well as the rehearsal room.
Following the general rule, the length of this cable is only 10 feet, so you’re going to enjoy a smooth experience. It has ¼” straight plugs at the ends of the cable.
These plugs can be used with almost any kind of instrument to enhance the sound, including acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keyboard, amplifier, pedal, and more. Simply, it goes along with any musical instrument that has a TS input or output.
With a well-built body, high- quality material, amazing sound quality, and unmatchable compatibility, you might be thinking that it carries a high price tag – but you’re wrong. You get all this at a reasonable price, and this is what makes it the best guitar cable around.
All in all, this cable delivers an excellent, reliable and smooth sound, which is good value for your money.
4. Monster S100 12ft
In terms of business dealings, there are only a few that can beat Monster. From its products to its after services, the company is an all-around player. And one of its most popular products is its guitar cable.
The company believes that the audio performance of any instrument is dependent upon the cable used, so a well-constructed cable is a must. The Monster S100 12ft Standard 100 1/4-Inch is one of the best guitar cables that you will come across in the market.
Be it the quality of the conductor, the design of the conductor or the insulation material used in making the cable, all of it is near perfection. As you might have guessed already, it has 1/4-Inch connectors that are made of 24k gold. So they are not only corrosion-free, but also highly durable.
If you’re looking for a cable that gives you an increased resolution, but a lower noise floor, then this is just the right cable, as it comes with a copper braided shield with 90% coverage that does not allow RFI and EMI to create any disturbance.
Boasting an extra-flexible Duraflex outer jacket, this cable is quite durable and flexible.
So, whether you’re a professional musician or a regular audiophile, this cable will not disappoint you any bit and only improve your music experience.
5. Planet Waves 10ft
Planet Waves enjoys a good reputation in the market, all credits to its high-quality products. Talking about the Planet Waves American Stage Guitar Cable, the foremost benefit is its 95% tinned copper braided shielding. Not only does it protect the conductor, but it also provides a very clear signal.
The overall design of the cable is quite flexible and is equipped with excellent in-out technology. Its wow factor is its patented Geo-Tip Neutrik plug design that functions amazingly well.
But, it also has its flaws. Although you get both straight and angled connectors, it fails to connect to some particular guitar models, making it the weakest point of this cable.
It is equipped with an in-line solder joint that makes it durable and reliable. It can go through your rough usage, and you can rely on it for a longer time. You can get it in two lengths and form, 1.4” right-angled tips, and 1.4” straight end tips. So you can choose whatever suits your needs.
All in all, Planet Waves manufactures the best of the best guitar cables. They offer all the qualities that you might want your guitar cable to have, to give you an amazing feel and experience.
The interesting part, you get all of it at a reasonable price tag. While the quality is that of a high-priced product, you can buy it at an extremely nominal price.
6. Mogami Gold 10ft
After years of research and studies, Mogami was created and it turned out to be the best guitar cables of all time. The company has a different approach towards offering the best quality, as it believes, the better signal transfer, the better the cable.
With a good reputation in the market, the company offers three different types of cables – namely, Silver, Gold, and Premium. The price range differs and also some of its advantages, but it is purely a personal choice.
Mogami Gold is the mid-range guitar cable, and it offers the best signal transferring facility. It is almost surreal, and you will not find any similar products.
It provides a spectacular quality, as it is equipped with a conductive polymer sub-shield. It has an oxygen-free copper core, which makes it free from any kind of disturbances and guarantees perfect signal strength.
Not to miss, the cable also has top quality jacks, featuring a straight connector design. The area where the connector and cable are kept is durable enough, offering longevity of the product.
Unlike many others, this cable offers a neutral balance, so the output that you get will be the maximum. Moreover, handling these cables is easy, as you’ll not have to worry about any twitching or external sounds.
Definitely, one of the best guitar cables you can find around. A real premium product.
7. Spectraflex Original Series 14ft
Spectraflex may not be a big name in the music industry like Magomi and Fender; however, it has some of the most reliable and unique products to offer. It has made some high-quality line electric cables, which were no less than other big names.
But by far, the most remarkable is the Spectraflex Original Series 14ft Instrument Cable. With so many good qualities put together, it is considered to be one of the best guitar cables available in the market today.
It comes with a copper center conductor, which is 20 AWG ultra-pure. Without a second thought, a cable with such high-quality material will surely offer superior results.
The cable’s connectors have high-performance and are rugged. So, even if you’re being all harsh towards it (of course, unintentionally) it will not show signs of wear and tear easily. The shield is made of pure copper and conductive polymer, offering good coverage.
This cable also comes in with the warranty of a lifetime, so that you can replace them anytime when not working properly.
Though this one may be a little above your budget, with all the good things that you’re getting, price is just a number, isn’t it?
8. GLS Audio 20ft
Another GLS product on our list. Well, it is here, because it needs the mention. This one is a piece of art, designed with special concern to meet the needs of a guitar lover. Be it the conductivity, flexibility, signal strength, or durability, the GLS Audio Pro is a win-win situation completely.
It has a very low ability to store electric charge (capacitance), making it good for your gigs. We told you how important the Picofarads rating is and this one has only 38 Picofarads per foot.
So, with this cable, you can expect superior sound quality. It also has a braided tweed cloth jacket that keeps the cable sturdy and away from deterioration.
With the amazing qualities that it offers, this cable is preferred by many audiophiles.
9. Mugig 16ft
Without any doubt, the Mugig Guitar Cable is one of the best guitar cables that you can get your hands on. Whether it is about the signal, sound quality, material, insulation, design or durability, this cable gives you everything that you’d ever desire. It is made in premium quality, but the price is not as high as you’d expect.
Just like many others, this one also has a braided cloth jacket. So, it keeps the cable safe from any cuts, breaks or damages. It is available in two varied sizes, one 10 ft long and the other 16ft long.
While both offer clear sound, the length is dependent on your usage and area of use. So, choose the ideal size that satisfies your requirements.
It has an OFC Braided shielding along with 99% coverage, which makes it a good choice for every professional guitarist out there.
All in all, this Mugig product is the best guitar cable because you get almost everything that you desire at an economical price, only enhancing your music experience.
10. Pig Hog PCH10DBR
If you’re looking for the thickest braided jackets that offer long-lasting durability, then any cable from the Pig Hog series should be your perfect choice. However, the Pig Hog PCH10DBR is the best guitar cable, all thanks to its construction.
It is a solid cord, which is exceptionally well made, to give you the best of the best. It has gold-plated connectors (jacks) on both ends which provide a good fitting for a secure and strong connection.
Moreover, these ends are quite compact, making things easy for you. Also, with it comes a right-angle input jack offering a low-profile connection. It reduces the risk of breaking and bending the cable, which is quite likely in straight-end ones.
Talking of appearance, you’ll get it in all funky color shades, which gives you a relief from your black cable color. It is equipped with a patented 20AWG OFC conductor and has an electromagnetic interference rejection. For the most that you’ll desire, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
It is every musician’s dream, as these gold-plated, high-quality cables are quite affordable. The PigHog PCH10DBR is the best guitar cable as it is strong, reliable and durable.
With it, you can produce the right disturbance-free and silent music that professionals are always on the look for. To put it simply, it gives the perfect blend of flexible and strong to take up all the beating from you and your music band.
11. Amboz Cables Red Dragon
Are you in search of the best guitar cable that assures smooth and pure sound? If that’s what you’re looking for, then the Red Dragon Instrument Cable is just the right choice for you.
It comes with a high density stranded copper shield, which makes it possible for you to give performances without any interruptions. So, with this specially designed cable, listeners will never have enough of your music.
The cable guarantees smooth, clear and pure sound transfers, leaving you in awe of your music every time you hear it. Whether the frequency is high or low, you’re going to get a neutral and clear sound, that’s for sure.
With an oxygen-free copper core and high level of conductivity, you’re never going to get short of good signal strength, making it an apt choice for stage performances.
It is built with a dragon skin design woven-tweed. It is resistant to corrosion, all thanks to the gold-plated jack plug fittings.
However, it’s only potential flaw is that it is too thin and sometimes feels flimsy.
Overall, the Swiss-made Red Dragon Instrument Cable is a perfect option for your home studio as well as on-stage performances. It is robust, reliable, durable and surely will not become a weak link in your music set up.
12. Kliq 10ft
For all musicians who hunt for creativity and innovation, the KLIQ guitar instrument cable is all you need. It carries a unique design to satiate all your needs. Well, this cable is not just for your guitar alone, you can use it to enhance your bass, keyboard or any other musical instrument.
So, the type of instrument isn’t a barrier for its best use. Coming to its best factor, it is extremely durable, with chuck-type strain relief. This isn’t only it. It also offers amazing flexibility, so don’t worry about getting entangled as you perform, just move around with the rhythm and flow.
With beautiful-looking gold-plated plugs, the transfer of signals is not only easy but also uninterrupted. Moreover, it prevents corrosion and can stand the test of time. It comes with an armor-like tweed outer shell, with many different bright color options.
The color shades make it easy to find your cable amidst a huge crowd and avoid unnecessary accidents. It gives you extra protection, all thanks to its triple shielding that prevents EMI and RFI interference.
Despite so many goods, it has one flaw, which may upset many. Tests prove that the cable sometimes produces a buzzing and humming sound.
Altogether, with this cable, you will not have to look for alternatives time and again, as it is quite durable and can hold up to a decent amount of abuse. So, be ready to have a small concert at your home studio almost every day.
13. Fender California Series
Do you want to add some color to your boring and uneventful cables? Well, the Fender California series instrument cable is your solution. Giving you a relief from the dark-colored cables, the bright and unique color combinations will help you stand out in the crowd.
It will bring out the happy and funky side of you and with just a glance, you will want to flaunt your singing talent all day long.
Made with high-quality raw materials, this beautiful looking chord is decently durable. Further, it can overcome any type of technical hitches that may hinder your performance and offer you pleasing sounds, just as your music should sound. It is flexible, so you can coil it up as much as you want, without worrying to untie the knots.
People around you will be left spellbound with its elegance and the colors will definitely catch a lot of eyes. But, it is not all about beauty.
The performance is also amazing, as it enhances sound and makes it smooth and clear. On the downside, it is not too elastic, a little more flexibility may be desired by some.
Whether you’re a professional musician or a learner, a good sound is going to touch your heart, and this is the best guitar cable you will find. It has complete control of the sound. While it rejects all unwanted sounds, it perfectly carries all your tones, making the outcome sound like a melody.
14. Mediabridge Ultra Series
Mediabridge is a well-known company that manufactures some good quality cables. Among their best guitar cables, the Mediabridge Ultra series is the most acknowledged. Why, do you ask? Well, it is made with a 20-AWG copper core.
This is further covered with a copper-clad steel braiding, which is applied on a dual-layer of PVC and LDPE insulation. Yes, it has extra-extra protection! With so many layers, the EMI interference and crackling effect are reduced enormously, which quite creates a disturbance in other low-quality cables.
It comes with a gold-plated right-angle plug, which is corrosion-free. The 6mm thick PVC rubberized jacket, on the other hand, helps to reduce the handling noise, giving you better sound quality.
The cable is strong and durable, so it will hold up to frequent usage. All this makes this cable a reliable option to be used in a studio or stage, whatever you prefer.
However, on the downside, initially, the cable may feel a little too stiff, but it settles in with time. Also, the plugs stick out a bit when you plug them in, so be careful.
15. Donner 10ft
Last but not the least, we have a product by Donner. The Donner bass cable is specially designed using pure oxygen-free copper (OFC). It is covered with PE insulation and conductive PVC. The jacket is woven with a helical shield.
With all these layers it is well-built and is considered to be one of the high-standard cables in the market. On one end, it has a 1/4-inch right-angle connector, while it has a straight conductor on the other end. Both of these ends are plated with gold for smooth functioning.
Just as the name suggests, it is 10 feet long and is easy to use. Also, you don’t have to put in long hours disassembling it if it requires any repairs. However, on the downside, the cords do get tangled easily, so you might have to be a little cautious while moving around.
It carries a cloth-covered exterior and is available in two typical color contrasts, black-white and black-blue. So, whether you use it in a home studio or on stage for a live gig, its good looks are surely going to attract many eyeballs.
By now you might have understood that all guitar cables are not made alike. Each one offers something distinctive that may or may not be of use to you. While some give better insulation, others may have the shielding that you would require.
So, it becomes important to consider all the key pre-purchase factors keenly and then take a balanced decision. Remember, the best guitar cable will decide what kind of sound you are emitting out the instrument.
Whether it will have distortions and interferences will only depend on your choice. So, make a smart and informed decision.
We hope that this guide has been helpful for you to understand a guitar cable’s importance in creating a good sound and the proper way to choose it. Also, we are hoping it has shown you the right path in finding the best guitar cable that makes your riff sound mesmerizing.
Keep playing, keep rocking and keep charming!