Ever thought your guitar cable would be an important piece?
I mean, it’s the veins in your rig that make the blood go through. Having great guitar cables can lead to no loss of quality sound and there are some cables out there that will make you love guitar cables the same way that I do.
It’s not just a cable, it can be an extension of your wardrobe on stage and on the more technical side it can also be used for other purposes, for example to borrow your band mate that forgot theirs in the studio (that is usually me actually).
You can be very original with your choices, with a lot of options to choose from and different characteristics, so let’s talk about the best electric guitar cables in the market right now. Remember that these are the best that I’VE TRIED.
The Important Topics You Should Consider When Buying
It’s not just the connectors that make a great cable, or the wiring, it’s a combination on every aspect that makes high quality cables stand out, some of them are used in the most professional environments and some are used by amateur audiophiles.
We can talk about:
- Jacks (Connectors)
- Solderless Cables
- Differences Between Instruments
- Wireless Rigs
Let’s start with the most important part when choosing a high quality cable.
The jacks are usually the first part of your cable that breaks, they are the end of you cable. My usual mistake was to drop the jack on the ground after unplugging it, which lead to it banging on the floor literally hundreds of times. With time, it usually breaks the welding, so with a good cable you can delay that from happening.
Usually Neutrik jacks have very good welding, the building is excellent, and they’re not even that expensive. Neutrik is a great company with a variety of quality cable connectors and jacks are one of them, probably the good to company for great price/quality. Beware that Neutrik is a brand of connectors, not cables.
For a live environment you would want a very durable cable, the fact that it will be moving around all the time, rolling and unrolling it, plugging and unplugging so many times, eventually it will break.
There is a difference when choosing guitar cables for each situation.
As I mentioned in a previous post, you wouldn’t be playing a gig with a 1,5m cable, but for a studio environment that would actually be a great option, and here is why:
The difference may not be big but when using bigger cables in the studio usually what may happen is a loss of signal in the high frequencies. It may not be much, but obviously if you are on a recording session trying to have the perfect tone it may disrupt your goals, so the smaller guitar cable you can use in the studio, the better!
When playing live, opt for at least a 6m cable, whether you are on a small bar or a big theater, there’s no need to be short on cable when the difference in sound quality is so slim.
Usually the noises that you hear from the cheap cables are due to either the connectors or the shielding.
The shielding is a protection layer that is wrapped on the internal wires to reduce electrical noise from degrading your signal but also to reduce electromagnetic radiation. For this to be effective the shield needs to be grounded.
These cables are usually bought in kits where the jacks come detached from the actual cable, so that you can choose the exact length that you want for your cable. That sounds great right?
Well, as the sub-title says, solderless cables are just that, they are not actually connected to each other on the factory which makes them a lot less reliable and easier to unplug inside the jack.
There are several misconceptions a lot of people make about solderless cables. Yes, they are adaptable to the size you want and different manufacturers make different ways to connect them. Nevertheless, in this post we are specifically talking about the best guitar cables and solderless are much less reliable that soldered cables.
For quality always go to soldered jacks since they would be less likely to detach inside.
Differences Between Instruments
I know all of you bass players (I am one) are crying inside because I don’t have any post about bass cables, but guess what, there’s not any difference between the cables you use for those instruments. Even if you see posts online saying the opposite, from what I have researched there is no difference between them. So don’t be spending money on a cable specifically designed for bass players, because they are just trying to trick you. Jack cables are jack cables.
For last, I’m going to be talking about wireless rigs and briefly explaining what they are. The world of wireless rigs is much more complex than of cables, but they are worth every penny if you invest in a good one.
Wireless rigs are great if you want to move freely on stage without worrying about the cable. They are composed of a transmitter and a receiver. The way that you connect it to your guitar is by plugging a small cable to a belt pack transmitter by an analogue or digital signal on what you buy. The receiver is usually placed on the back of the stage and is connected to your amplifier. There are several things you should learn about using the wireless systems but a quick read in the product manual is enough. Although setting it up the first time is easy and straightforward.
The Best Guitar Cables Can Last A Lifetime
I have one guitar cable that I still own since I started playing guitar 10 years ago. Of course is one that I usually don’t use live but if you treat your cable right it can actually last you for more than 20 or 30 years. My band mates, which play for 30 or more years still have guitar cables (and equipment) that are older than me.
So, choose the best so you can actually save some money in the long run.
These are some of the absolute best cables on the market.