What makes a ‘good’ cable?
Well this depends on what your definition of good is.
OK then, so if you have anything other than a vintage guitar with low output pickups and an ultra clean amplifier then you will need exceptional hearing to be able to tell much difference between any reasonable quality guitar lead. By the time you get into your middle age I really don’t think you will be able to hear too much difference. Yes, there IS a difference but it really is very very subtle.
If you have a super long cable like 30ft and a low output guitar pickup, then you may notice a small amount of signal deteriation and loss of tone. So maybe try and keep your cables as short as you can.
You may spend an awful lot of money going for a cable with ultra transparent ultra high grade copper core and gold plugs only to find out your guitar now sounds a bit ‘tinny’ !!
Many wireless systems have a ‘cable tone’ setting on them to take off a bit of the top end high treble. Go figure eh?
So are looking for a ‘good quality’ guitar cable in terms of construction and how long it’s likely to last?
Well then we need to consider the actual physical construction of the cable. The quality of the copper used. The purity of it. Does it have a high ‘oxygen free’ rating?
Connectors – well gold connectors might help. Gold is certainly a better conductor than many other metals but well, that’s such a minuscule difference in the grand picture of everything else going on. So meh, not 100% convinced I can tell the difference between two identical cables one with gold, the other without. But hey, maybe they just look nicer ;o)
Which cable to go for?
If you are a fan of Joe Bonamassa yeah why not go for his signature guitar cable. It won’t make you play like him and if you can hear the different then good for you ;o)
Most of here at Guitar Mania choose our guitar leads on what they feel like and how they are made. We use the cables that we sell but all use different ones. I (Chris, the MD) actually use a wireless system most of the time but have a selection of other cables to go from my pedal board to the amp.
Generally here at Guitar Mania the more expensive cables seem to be better quality and will hopefully last a ‘lifetime’.
Here’s our selection of cables:
Hmmm “lifetime” eh?….
Guitar Mania note to the wise:
No cable is indestructable ! Any cable CAN break if:
You trip over it – this stretches the cable and might cause a fracture or failure in the actual metal core or at the solder end.
Bend it severely – if you bend it too far past 90 degrees harshly you will cause weakness or fracture the internal structure of the cable.
Excessive twisting – this is the same as stretch it. It can cause internal stress and fracture to the actual core of the cable as well as the braided sheilding.
Incorrect storage – There are various YouTube clips on how best to store your cables. But avoid them getting knotted up as this will cause twisting and bending (see above)
Incorrect use – This is an instrument cable. It is designed for instruments. It is NOT designed to be used as a speaker cable. It is not suited to carry the higher voltage and current from an amplifier to a speaker. In other words do not plug this into the “speaker” socket!!! It may work for a while but it might damage the cable and / or the amplifier. Speaker cables are unshielded, have thicker cores and actually more similar to a mains cable.
Hope this helps y’all
Chris, MD Guitar Mania
What makes a ‘good’ cable?