|1. Fender||2. GLS Audio||3. Hosa GTR-210|
Every musician or guitarist is conscious of the sound quality and tone of their instrument. This is why he takes special care to pick the best guitar cable that play an important role when it comes to getting a quality performance.
A good quality cable impacts the sound quality, and hence choosing the right one is a must.
While most guitarists are aware of the importance of buying the top quality when it comes to accessories like guitar cables, most of them have little clue as to what to look for and which aspects matter.
These cables can make all the difference in the world when it comes to sound quality and your performance. Hence, it is essential to learn about how and why these guitar cables are important when you play the instrument and want the best sound.
The guitar cable is basically a special kind of wire that transmits the signal from the guitar to some other device with the help of a connector.
Whenever you feel the need to connect the guitar to an amplifier, you will need a cable. Thus, a good quality cable is kind of essential as it is the only way to stay linked with the amplifier.
Take advantage of this comprehensive guide on the best guitar cables on this page and get valuable information on the guitar cables. After all, the low-quality cables mean annoying and noisy tones and constantly looking for a replacement.
Avoid all those scenarios and get useful information on what you should be looking at when buying cables for guitar. As a well-informed buyer, you need to make the right choices for yourself and your guitar.
But before you start looking at different cables, why not try to understand what makes those guitar cables really good and what every musician should be looking for.
What Is Expected From The Guitar Cables?
- Screening from noise – The cables can help achieve minimum noise by keeping away any electrical interference, and this is done by protecting the conductor with a braided copper or plastic jacket.
- Lower capacitance- Capacitance is measured in picofarads; it is the responsiveness of the cable to voltage changes. With a lower capacitance, one gets a better frequency response.
- Good quality connectors – Any good quality connectors are preferred because of their resistance to corrosion and enhanced conductive properties.
- Capacitance – There are guitars with low impedance sources as well as high impedance sources. For those instruments with active circuitry, the users need not get anxious about cable capacitance and impedance sources.
Let us now take a look at what goes within a guitar cable and what it is made of. If you understand those cables well, you will know exactly what separates a good quality cable from the bad one.
The Outside And Insides Of A Guitar Cable
Let’s take a look at the different parts that come together to form the cable. Basically, every standard cable for the guitars is made of the following parts.
- Cable Conductor- For carrying the audio signal via an electrical current
- Cable Insulation – The insulation material to keep the cable isolated
- Cable Electrostatic Shield – To minimize any noise that may develop due to a compressed cable
- Cable Braided Copper Shield – To keep away any interference from outside sources
- Cable Outer Jacket – To safeguard the internal parts of the cabal.
Typically, the instrument cable carries two identical jack plugs at each end of the cable and with a standard 6.35 mm diameter.
There is an inner conductor to transmit the signals while a shield to protect the signal against any noise or interference. An insulation layer separates the conductors and shielding.
Different brands follow different methods and materials for manufacturing guitar cables. Therefore, not all cables are made of the same level and quality. Buying the best guitar cables can indeed be confusing, especially with so much conflicting information doing the rounds on the web.
However, there is no need to get confused, and all you need to do is go through the following essential aspects to check out when shopping for cables for your guitar.
Factors To Look For When Buying The Best Guitar Cable
There are some important factors to keep in mind, such as the length of the cable, its cover, the conductor design and material, shielding, and the insulation material. We have highlighted such factors below.
1. The Length Of The Cable
One of the first things that you should be looking at is the length of the cable. As the longer lengths of the cable raise the risks of progressively higher noise, this is why you hardly see the guitar cable lengths exceeding 25ft.
Any length beyond that would mean poor quality of sound. Longer guitar cabals tend to result in noisy, muffled sounds. So, look for a standard length ranging from 10 to 20 ft for best result and cleaner signal.
The length of the guitar cable will have an enormous impact on the overall sound quality. Avoid longer and unbalanced cables that can pick up more noise and it is advisable to stay under 20′.
2. The Material Of The Conductor
Scientifically, the purer the material of the conductor, the better is the cable’s performance. This is why you will come across the best guitar cables advertising linear-crystal copper or oxygen-free copper conductors that can make a real difference to the results.
Copper or copper alloys are the most commonly used material to construct the conductor. Some other materials include linear crystal copper, oxygen-free copper, solid silver- and silver-plated copper.
The conductor material can impact the quality of the audio signal, and good quality material is essential for transmitting quality audio signals without any interruption or hampering of audio quality.
3. The Design Of The Conductor
Another important factor that can impact the performance of the cable is the conductor design. Basically, you are likely to come across two typical designs, the solid conductors and the stranded conductors.
The solid conductors are simpler and cheaper but are more prone to breakage. As for the stranded conductors, these are expensive but stronger and more flexible in comparison.
The solid conductors consist of a single wire, while the stranded conductors are made of many strands of copper threads.
The AWG unit is used as the industry standard to measure the gauge of the copper strands and the conductors.
For example, conductors can range from 18-24 AWG to 40 AWG. The higher the AWG numbers, the higher the number of strands, and that means a much stronger and flexible cable, but a higher price too.
The design of the conductor has a direct link with the transmission of signals, and the more, the higher the number of strands, the better is the cable and its capacity to carry the maximum signal, with minimum loss.
4. The Quality Of The Connector
Many guitarists tend to believe that only gold-plated connectors are the best. Gold is longer lasting and less-corrosive when compared to other materials like nickel or silver.
Thus, you can go for any good quality connector, made of gold, silver, or nickel as there are no differences in terms of tone and conductivity of the sound.
You should care about the quality of the connector if looking for lasting and durable solutions. As there are dozens of manufacturers that offer many different finishes and colors, look for a connector that fits the instrument and promises a good job of transmitting a signal.
5. The Shielding Of Cables
As the guitar cables do not bear the noise cancellation features and are more vulnerable to interference due to magnetic fields and radio frequencies, they are protected with shields.
Certain shields are used to keep them safe from any kind of interference, and these include braided, foil, and serve shielding.
If you are looking for buying the best quality shield, then the braided shielding is the costliest but provides maximum safety and strength.
The serve shielding is less expensive but can still offer adequate cover the cables need. As for the foil shielding, it is the cheapest and offers the least protection.
Some manufacturers insert an electrostatic shield to prevent static build-up, and the materials used to build this type of shield are Dacron and Conductive PVC. Dacron is a special noise-reducing tape material, while C-PVC is thinner and flexible and offers more coverage and protection with minimal friction.
The shield surrounds the center conductor and thus serves as a protective barrier for the signals. Without adequate shielding, you cannot expect optimum sound transmission and quality.
Served shielding offers 80-85% coverage, while the Braided shielding offers 95-98% coverage in the best guitar cable.
If you have compromised on the quality of cable and purchase the cheaper one with poor shielding, then you will hear a crackling sound because static electricity is created due to the friction between the insulation and copper shield. So, always look for cables with quality braided shielding.
6. The Insulation Material
Whenever two materials transmit a current, an electrical barrier separates the two, and a capacitor is created.
The capacitor or the capacitance value should be very low for superior high-frequency response and minimum triboelectric noise. Hence, the level of capacitance has a direct impact on sound quality.
So, when you are looking for the best guitar cables with top quality insulation material that assigns the lowest numbers to the capacitor and results in the least capacitance.
Insulation materials like Polyethylene carry a dielectric constant of 2.3 while rubber has a dielectric constant of 6.5. This is why Polyethylene finds increasing use as insulation material for the guitar cables. Look for high-end cables with special polymers for insulation and even lower capacitances.
The insulation material will make the real-world difference to the sound quality of the instrument. So, for those looking for maximum sound clarity must go for ultra-low- capacitances.
7. The Quality Of The Jack Plug
Another parameter that you must take into account while buying a guitar cable is the jack plug. Prefer those plugs that carry metal housing for higher durability.
While the moulded plastic plugs are average in performance, it is the metals that can withstand load capacity. The metal plug you look at should be easy to open and solder the connections.
Another essential factor to keep in mind is the strain relief of the plug, and you will come across two variants: clamp with metal tongues and another with clamping forceps.
The metal tongues press around the cable to lower the strain, while in case of the clamping forceps, the forceps are pushed onto the cable. As the variant with clamping forceps holds the cable much more securely and permanently. It makes for a better choice.
You will come across both straight plugs as well as angled plugs. While the straight plugs can be intrusive, the angled plugs allow more flexibility and better positioning. So, go for the plus based on your preferences and playing needs.
One should be careful about the kind of plug and strengthen the connections with a good quality plug. If the cable and its plug are not able to withstand strains and sudden pulls, you are likely to face hiccups during your performance.
Designed for optimum signal transparency, look for special cables that transfer true tone with clarity and without any noise. The cables and its connectors should be made of the highest quality components and unsurpassed durability.
The flexible cable construction should boast of state-of-the-art construction that promises easy handling and lower tangling.
Here are some pointers to follow when shopping for the best guitar cables.
- Go for a durable cable that offers the quality tone, higher durability, and the best value for money. A shorter cable is a lot better than a long-coiled cable as the length can impact the quality and tone of the sound.
- Look for double-shielded cables that promise 100% shielding. Typically, at least 95% or higher shielding is recommended, and it can be achieved with a braided copper shield.
- Assess the durability factor first and read reviews before placing the order. After all, nothing can be more annoying than looking at cable breaks and failures.
- Check the quality of the plug, and you will see that when you plug in the cable bends at the plug and can place strain on the solder joins inside the plug. Try to minimize the strain and spread it out and look for those that offer maximum strain relief and are easy to repair.
- Look for good quality conductors with thicker wires that will be a lot more durable and provide the least resistance and will improve the tone.
- Most guitars carry nickel jack or end plugs plated in nickel, but it is better to opt for the gold-plated planes as they provide higher resistance to corrosion. Galvanic corrosion may occur when gold and nickel come in touch with each other, so go for the gold ones.
Now that we’ve covered the main features that command the quality and performance of guitar cables, why not have a look at the best guitar cables from different manufacturers and in different models.
Top 15 Best Guitar Cables 2020
When it comes to guitar cables, Fender is a well-known name in the industry. Fender guitar cables are specifically designed and engineered to deliver the optimum sonic balance and professional performance when you play.
These cables are made of flexible construction that prevents any twisting and kinking. The cables feature 90% copper coverage shield and 8-mm-diameter black PVC jacket.
To provide extra safety from bents and pops, it comes with extra thick PVC coating, which also cancels the unwanted noise. Because of the low capacitance levels in these guitar cables, one enjoys a superior tone.
The Rugged metal connectors, the cables are highly recommended by the customers, who prefer to buy these cables because of the great customers’ care and lifetime warranty.
- Lifetime warranty
- Flexible construction
- Lifetime warranty
- Straight angle variation
- Cord gets a little stiff during the cold season
2. GLS Audio
The company assures of high-quality sound when you use this cable; it comes with Oxygen-Free Copper and a Conductive PVC and OFC Insulator double shields the cables.
GLS guitar cables sound a lot better than others as they carry a low Picofarad rating, and it is the super low rating that makes them much superior to other cables.
These cables carry internal metal clamp strain relief., external and internal shrink strain relief, and the triple strain relief system ensures many long years of trouble-free usage.
- Flexible tweed jacket
- Crackle-free connection
- Double shielded
- Triple strain relief system
- Looks pale in comparison to the more expensive cables
3. Hosa GTR-210
Hosa Guitar Cables not only look great but rank high on performance too. Designed to deliver dependable services for many long years, it is the world-class manufacturing and top-quality components that make for exceptional value services.
It is no wonder to find Hosa Guitar Cables the leading choice for connectivity to the musical instrument. These cables feature Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductor and Hi-density OFC braided shield.
So, what you can look ahead for are enhanced signal clarity and superior EMI and RFI rejection. It is indeed a very high-quality cable looking at the price.
- World-class manufacturing
- Top-quality components
- Enhanced signal clarity
- Straight to Same connectors
- Very affordable
- White plastic sleeves at the jack junctions can bleed from contact and can be difficult to clean.
4. GLS Audio
The oxygen-free copper for the conductor and the insulator shield ensures that there is no disturbance in the sound. What you are looking at here is a super durable & flexy cable with very low capacitance.
These cables are rated for super low 38 picofarads, and this is indeed good news for the guitarists. Customers have been using these cables for many years now and summarize their experiences as a great one and with nothing to worry about!
They like the extremely well-built cables that come with extra protection and the built-in Velcro wrap for the organization.
- Flexible tweed jacket
- Durable & Flexy
- Very low Picofarad rating
- Built-in Velcro wrap
- May show connection issues
5. GLS Audio
A good quality guitar cable is a must for the guitar to product excellent sound. GLS Audio’s 20ft right-angle to straight guitar cables feature OFC Insulator & Conductive PVC shielding is the right choice if you are looking for superior quality sound.
Look ahead for a noise-free performance with these cables that boast of super-low Picofarad ratings of only 38 picofarads per foot.
Customers who have bought these cables love the durable & flexy cables with very low capacitance Encased in a braided tweed cloth jacket, GLS cables are indeed great for a working musician.
These cables are easy to handle and provide a solid connection. These cables are a simply amazing and perfect choice for all those guitarists with a limited budget.
- Super durable & flexy
- Super low Picofarad ratings
- Very low capacitance
- Very easy to handle
- Some people complain about the signals
6. GLS Audio 10 Feet Right Angle
The cabal features OFC insulator shield & conductive PVC shield and boasts of very low picofarads per foot, only 38. The 90-degree plug offers excellent positioning when sitting on an edge.
The cable is highly flexible, which is easy to wind and without impacting the performance of the cable. Another good aspect of the cables is that the end plugs do not wear out and with the higher qualities and lower price.
One must indeed give these cables a try. The cables come with a decent length, and a stronger fabric coating feels great to touch.
- Durable & flexy
- 38 picofarads per foot
- Very low capacitance
- Heat shrink makes it harder to assess the connections
Getaria built-in rechargeable transmitter and receiver has been designed for electronic music instruments like the guitar. With an effective range of 30 meters, you can look ahead for uncompressed wireless transmission and with very low noise and latency.
The product can support six sets of devices, and the transmitter can convey a signal to several receivers. The built-in rechargeable lithium battery ensures long working hours.
A USB cable ensures convenient recharging, and the rotatable plug can input jack in different positions. Now, get free of all those cables and enjoy complete freedom with this amazing device.
- Built-in rechargeable lithium battery
- Reliable and affordable
- 30 metres transmission distance
- Transmission distance
- Easy to use, plug and play
- Minimal latency and excellent sound
8. GLS Audio 15 Feet
These cables are designed to provide the best performance, thanks to the very low capacitance and only 38 picofarads per foot.
When it comes to being super durable & flexy, these cables are top-notch, thanks to their innovative design and great performance. Customers love the quality and care that has gone into its construction and find that the sound quality is much better than expected.
- Super durable & flexy
- Very low capacitance
- 38 picofarads per foot
- Great sound quality with awesome clarity
- Sometimes connection issue might arise
9. GLS Audio 15 Foot Right Angle
Boasting of sturdy construction, the 15-foot guitar instrument cables come with solid metal jacks and are soft, flexible, and well insulated. Other features include insulator shield & conductive shield and very low capacitance.
One can feel the more natural presence of the instrument and without the unwanted noise. The insulator shield and the conductor of this cable are made of oxygen-free copper, ensuring better sound.
Well shielded and insulated, the super-durable & flexy cables are indeed one of the best guitar cables out there. As the housing is made of metal, it means there would be no warping or snapping of the cabal.
And in case one needs to solder or repair, all they need to do is unscrew the housing. Buyers are totally happy with the product.
- Soft and flexible
- Very low capacitance
- Well shielded and insulated
- The sound quality is not that effective
10. GLS Audio 10 Foot Black Gray
GLS 10-foot cable promises stronger shielding, higher performance, and low capacitance. The cable is encased within a high-quality braided tweed cloth jacket, and the flexibly only adds to the performance and convenience.
With only 38 picofarads per foot, it is certainly a stage-worthy partner.
The cable comes with varying connector angles and combinations; this cable offers high levels of conductivity and promises a crystal-clear sound.
Customers love the modern look of the cabal with nice color and design. Metal connectors and shrink-wrapped connections mean continued endurance.
- Super durable & flexy
- Crystal-clear sound
- Very low picofarads per foot
- Cable only plugs in one way into the amp
11. Amazon Cables Red Dragon
What you get here is a unique mix of tough textile structure, tangle-free movement, and quality insulation. Get protection against radio frequency and interferences because of the high-density copper serve shield.
The polyethylene insulation gives it a higher level of flexibility and the OFC core gives it higher conductivity. With this cable, you enjoy a full spectrum sound because of the use of the low capacitance design and the use of raw materials.
As all the connectors are hand-soldered, be sure of enjoying optimum connectivity and uninterrupted performances. Look forward to excellent quality and craftsmanship and a 100 % satisfaction guarantee.
- An incredibly cool cord
- Brilliant & pure sound
- High-density shield
- Premium design and quality control
- Lifetime guarantee
- Plugs can get lose
12. GLS Audio 10 Foot Pro
The GLS Series is known for its popular range of cables that are affordably priced and offer very good sound quality. This 10-foot pro guitar cable is another addition to the popular guitar cable series.
It comes with a braided tweed outer cloth jacket, the flexy product becomes durable and robust for a long time and offers a tangle-free operation. The super durable and flexible cabal proves to be durable and performs great on stage.
Thanks to the OFC Insulator & Conductive PVC Shields, the cables offer a very low Picofarad rating and thus create a much superior sound quality.
These cables take much more work and effort to make. A triple strain relief system many years of reliable and trouble-free usage. Customers love the soft, pliable feel and find these a great cable overall.
- Super Durable & Flexy
- Triple strain relief system
- 38 Picofarads Per Foot
- Lower price
- Sometimes the cloth jacket might wear off
13. KLIQ Music Guitar
Thanks to the multiple layers of shields and insulation, one can look forward to maximum noise isolation. The sturdy and flexible construction of the cable means durable and hassle-free experience.
The low capacitance guitar cable features pure copper core and a high-density OFC shield that keeps away any noise and interference and thus creates sound with low noise and high fidelity.
Professional connectors and 24k gold-plated plugs offer resistance to tarnish and lead to increased conductivity. KLIQ cables carry a lifetime guarantee and are made for years of reliable performance.
- Superior connection
- Low noise high fidelity
- Lifetime Warranty
- Flexible handling
- Very flexible
- Guaranteed for life
The gold-plated plug provides excellent conductivity, and the pure copper protector keeps the soldered connection safe. It comes with the woven insulate jacket made of nylon material; one enjoys higher safety and no noise.
This cable comes with AWG24 OFC, which provides lower attenuation even in case of long-distance transmission.
It is a highly compatible cable, this 1/4 inch (6.35mm) TS can be plugged in devices which have 6.35mm diameter. It is compatible with electric guitar, mixer, bass guitar, studio harmonizers, speaker system etc.
Thanks to the double shield, there is higher stability and better quality in the performance.
- Very nice quality cables
- Woven insulate jacket
- higher compatibility
- Quiet with no noise
- Reasonable price
- Not a very professional cable
15. SRadio Blue Tweed 20 Foot
The high-definition blue tweed guitar cable from SRADIO is available in 20 ft length. With this, you can achieve a 100% disturbance-free effect even when the cabal is bent because of the spiral shield over the cabal.
Thanks to the gold plated 1/4 plugs the electrical conductivity is much better. One can see the quality inspection and excellent craftmanship that has gone in the making of these cables.
SRADIO cables are highly durable and long-lasting. The low capacitance doesn’t let the cables to get heated.
There are no messy situations and unwanted tangles because of the Velcro straps that come with each cable. Look forward to electrifying live performances with clear treble and rich bass.
- Better elasticity and wear resistance
- Wonderful sound quality
- Faster transmission and richer sound
- Not so easy to put in and take out
Several guitar players rave about the quality and importance of a guitar cable, and according to them, it is very advantageous to own one of the best guitar cables.
Advantages Of Having A Guitar Cable
If you still haven’t bought a cable for your guitar, just consider the following benefits of having one.
With the help of the right kind of guitar cable, you are assured of better sound quality. Since your guitar with an amplifier so as to make the music more impactful, you will need a good quality cable for the connections.
A cable for your guitar ensures a strong connection and makes you feel confident on the stage. Now you can make the sound a lot better and get rid of all that booming and distortions.
An efficient guitar cable ensures that you face no hiccups during the performance as a good and strong connection will ensure that the sound coming from the amplifier is cohesive and clear.
So, unless you prefer wireless connectivity, you simply cannot ignore the countless benefits of buying the best guitar cable for guitar.
1. Why Should The Cable Match To The Signal Strength?
The cables transmitting the signals, they can get changed because of technical reasons. For instance, the signal output from a microphone is a few millivolts to 1 volt strong, and as it reaches the amplifier, the same signal adds tens of volts to the loudspeaker.
One would need different cables for the transmission of signals with different strengths. In other words, the cable you buy should match the application, and this is why one should buy guitar cables for their instrument.
2. Is The Guitar Cable Different From Regular Cable?
Yes, and although the guitar cable is basically the same as the regular cable and carries similar connectors, there are some aspects that make them different. The guitar cabals are more durable and come with extra thick jackets made of special fabric.
Moreover, guitar cables are designed to ensure that there are no disturbances while playing the guitar and the outer sound doesn’t interfere with the sound of the guitar.
Hence, the guitar cables are made especially for guitars but may be compatible with other instruments like bass, electronic organs, and more.
3. What Is A “Skin-effect “In Guitar Cable?
Some manufacturers cover each strand of copper with a tin coating to improve the performance of the conductor. The purpose behind is to add longevity, prevent oxidation, and make it a lot easier to solder.
However, while the performance of the conductor certainly becomes better, a phenomenon known as “skin-effect” can take place, which can alter the altering the frequency response of the signal.
4. Why Manufacturers Place Extra Effort To Add To The Ruggedness Of The Guitar Cable?
Ruggedness is a very vital design criterion when making guitar cables as they not only add to the strength and durability but also offer moisture resistance.
This is why they make an extra effort in the design so as to enhances the ruggedness when making the best guitar cables.
5. Gold Or Nickel Plugs Which Ones To Go For?
Gold and nickel are the most common metals used to cover the plugs. What the buyer should look at is the anti-corrosive properties of the plug. Gold is the most non-reactive metals of all and non-corrosive when compared to nickel plugs.
Nickle is likely to oxidize or tarnish, and therefore buyers prefer the gold plugs. Having said that, keep in mind that the gold is likely to wear off over time, especially after many years of usage.
6. What Are Mono Jack Plugs And Stereo Jack Plugs?
The standard jack plugs are referred to as mono-jack plugs as they transmit only one signal between the two contacts. Stereo jack plugs are plugs with three contacts but can transmit mono signals.
7. What Are The Ts Plugs And Trs Plugs?
The jack plugs carry one contact for a signal conductor and another one for the shielding. These plugs are usually named after its contacts, such as TS plug for “tip” and “sleeve: contact.” The TRS plug includes the additional “R” for “ring” contact.
8. What Is A Treble Cut?
Guitarists often complain about the loss of treble due to the longer length of the cable. The loss develops because of the higher cable capacitance and passive pickups that lead to a low-pass filter.
The longer length of the cabal filters out the higher frequencies increasingly and thus results in the loss of the treble.
Some guitarists need longer cables for their performances, and a lot really depends on the situation and what the guitarist is expecting from his cable.
9. What Is The Price Range For Guitar Cables?
The price of the guitar cables varies; depending on the quality and model, you will find price variation in the same. One can easily get a good quality guitar cable for even less than $20 or $30. For the more discerning buyers, the costs can go well beyond $100.
10. Is It Okay To Order Customized Guitar Cables?
Many guitarists prefer customized cables for their guitar needs. There are many manufacturers and suppliers who are more than willing to listen to your needs and preferences and design those guitar cables according to the instruction of the customers.
They use only original parts and offers domestic mouldings and custom tooling feature. They often partner with bigger companies for regular supply to handle both large and small production volumes.
Close attention is paid to every order, and the guitar cable is customized to match the needs and description perfectly. If you have special needs, you can go ahead and order customized guitar cables.
Best Guitar Cables – What’s your pick?
To wrap up the discussion, it is evident that not all cables are built the same and will not promise the best quality you seek. In order to enjoy the experience, spend some time to understand what you need and what you are looking for.
Do some homework and use the above guide on the best guitar cables to make the right choices. When buying a cable for your guitar, you need to keep a few aspects in mind like its length, durability, and quality.