When trying to improve your guitar’s sound, you might not consider the guitar cable the culprit of sound quality.
However, your guitar cable carries the signal that affects the tone of the music. A low-quality one may hurt your guitar’s tune.
We have compiled what we believe to be the 11 best guitar cables that will preserve your guitar’s tone and play rocking music.
In our opinion, the best overall guitar cable is the Mogami Gold Series. You can get it in lengths from 3 to 25 feet for a reasonable price.
Its ultra-high-density spiral shield, conductive polymer sub-shield, and oxygen-free copper core maintain the amplifier's signal while keeping it light and easy to handle. The carbon PVC anti-static shield layer removes all microphonic noise so you can manage it discreetly.
One of our favorite features is the lifetime, no-excuses warranty for the original purchaser.
- Removes unwanted noise
- Variety of lengths
- Silent cable handling
- Flashy appearance
Top Notch Budget Friendly Option
If you want a high-quality yet economical guitar cable, the GLS Audio Tweed might be your favorite.
With its oxygen-free copper conductor and shielding and conductive PVC and plastic carbon shields, this instrument cable blocks out noise and produces a bright, clear tone.
It comes with straight-to-straight or right angle options, as well as a few different colors. You can get ones between 6 and 20 feet, giving it plenty of variety.
The durable tweed jacket gives it a unique appearance, and it has a low capacitance value. All of these features come at an extraordinarily low price, which is why we recommend the GLS Audio Tweed Guitar Cable.
- Durable and flexible
- Superb sound quality for a low cost
- Low capacitance
- Not everyone likes tweed
Best Premium Cable
The carefully-tuned PRS Signature Instrument Cable boasts straight- and right-angle connections, an oxygen-free copper core, dual screens of conductive and close-lapped copper, a thin diameter, and silent plug options.
The PRS Signature is handmade in London by Van Damme Cabling with quality craftsmanship. It produces clear and bright music packed into a lightweight, skinny cable.
The length ranges from 5-25 feet, and you have the option of switching to silent plugs. While these will add to the cost, they are a reasonable price for excellent noise reduction.
All you will hear is signal without microphonic pops. We believe this makes the PRS Signature Instrument Cable the best premium option because you will get an excellent sound for a little bit more money.
- Handmade with pro-quality
- Clear sound
- Lightweight and ready for travel
- Skinny cables may not be your taste
- Often low in stock
Best Bang For Your Buck
The D’Addario Planet Waves American Stage Cable offers 22 gauge copper twisted pair conductors and tinned copper braid shielding that protect your signal from frequency interference.
Planet Waves products feature Geo-Tip plugs with a flattened tip and an elongated shield. These Neutrik-designed plugs should fit snugly without any popping, no matter what jack you have in your guitar.
Its in-line solder process makes a permanent bond between the plug and wire to enhance its connection and durability.
The American Stage Cable is tough and performance-ready for an excellent price. You can choose between straight and right-angle options as well, with lengths ranging from 10-30 feet.
- In-Out technology, so what you put in is what you get out
- A strong connection from Geo-Tip plugs
- Durable, in-line soldering
- Limited length and color options
- Not premium quality
Best High End Cable
While one of the most expensive cables on the market, the Lava Van den Hul Hybrid Instrument Cable gives you professional sound quality, deluxe construction, and years of reliable use.
It uses a Star Quad configuration of four conducting wires twisted in a spiral pattern. This formation dramatically reduces interference for noise-free audio.
The low capacitance retains the presence and clarity of the natural sound source over the 10-20 foot length.
The Lava Van den Hul proprietary Fusion Technology conductors are more durable than average, and the golden HULLIFLEX jackets resist decay and liquid or chemical penetration.
However, it is expensive; we do not recommend this high-end cable for beginners.
- Exceptional construction
- Noise-free audio
- Unique design and technology
- Extremely expensive
Top DIY Option
George. L.’s 155 Gauge Cable has a solder-less connection, high-density braided shielding, and ultra-low capacity. It features one of the lowest capacitances on the market, at 67 pF/m.
You can get this cable in sizes ranging from 10-20 feet with ¼” straight-to-straight connection. It is sturdy yet lightweight with a thin diameter.
Guitarists looking to DIY their cable might enjoy this option, as you can cut it up into patch cables or use it as is.
One downside to the 155 is the stiffness and tendency to coil. It works best in a studio setting as it might trip you if you move around a lot while playing.
- Lightweight yet strong
- Low capacitance
- Clean, static-free sound
- May be too thin for some users
- Too stiff for stage performances
Best Travel Cable
For road-traveling guitarists, the Ernie Ball Instrument Cable might be on your radar. Its braided jacket exterior adds durability, robustness, and tangle-resistance, making it easy to handle when on the go.
The dual oxygen-free copper conductors ensure a clear guitar tone with a crisp and rich sound. The dual-shielded inside reduces noise while maintaining the signal for optimal sound quality.
The Ernie Ball is relatively long, as your length options are 10-, 18-, and 25-feet, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Nevertheless, you can choose from a wide variety of colors to maximize your stage performance, and that’s why we recommend the Ernie Ball Instrument Cable.
- A broad range of colors
- Durable and tangle-proof
- Limited size selection
Best Alternative Option
If you want a ton of length and color options with your next purchase, you might want to look into the Spectraflex Original Series Instrument Cable.
With many colors and prints, and lengths between 6 and 21 feet, the Spectraflex Original Series lets you customize your cable.
It has an ultra-pure conductive copper core and dual copper and polymer shielding to block out noise and maximize sound quality. The braided cable design allows for flexibility, durability, extended frequency response, and low handling noise.
The connectors are rugged and high-performing, and the cable comes with a lifetime warranty. The cherry on top is the low capacitance.
- Customizable colors, lengths, and connection angles
- Flexible and durable
- Low handling noise
- Relatively unknown brand
Best Throwback Option
For a vintage, 60s vibe, the VOX Premium Vintage Coil Guitar Cable will match the retro aesthetic with improved sound quality.
The oxygen-free, copper cable conductors preserve your guitar signal, while the gold-plated connectors with one-piece tips offer maximum reliability.
VOX’s multi-gauge design creates a fuller, organic sound, and the two separate shields improve noise isolation.
One of the drawbacks of coil cables is their excessive length. In the original models, the size would lower the sound quality, and while VOX has improved this aspect, they have maintained a 29.5-foot measurement.
- High-quality conductor
- Crisper sound than typical coil cables
- Throwback appearance
- At nearly 30 feet, it is longer than you’ll likely ever need
Best Patch Cable
A patch cable differs from a guitar cable in that it connects pedals. The Ernie Ball Pancake Patch Cable connects pedals as close as you need them to be, with different length and color options to personalize your guitar experience.
This cable comes with corrosion-resistant copper to enhance its longevity. The construction utilizes dual conductors and shields for low noise and roadworthy quality. Also, it is flexible, durable, and tangle-proof.
The Ernie Ball Patch Cable ranges from 0.5 to 2 feet and has a lifetime warranty. It is incredibly economical and comes in a 3-pack in case you damage a cord or two.
- Flexible, durable, and tangle-resistant
- Saves pedalboard space
- Flat or angled options
- Exclusively short lengths
Best Tweed Cable
The Fender Deluxe Series Instrument Cable has exceptional construction for a reasonable price. You can get a cable from 5-25 feet with a black or yellow tweed jacket.
It features gold-plated connectors, oxygen-free copper conductors and shielding, molded plugs, and a cable tie. Additionally, it comes with strain relief plugs and the shielding blocks as much extraneous noise as more expensive choices.
The cable has a thicker diameter, but this only adds to the durability of the product. Furthermore, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- High value for the price
- Clear sound quality
- Thick diameter and cable tie makes it easy to handle
- Tweed isn’t for everyone
Guitar Cable Buyer’s Guide
Guitar cables are often an afterthought in a guitarist’s mind. When investing in musical equipment, many people first go for the best guitar, the best amplifier, and the best pedals in their budget.
However, if you have a spotty or weak signal, it won’t matter how talented you are - people will only hear the microphonic noises and pops.
To counteract this issue, we have compiled some tips that might help you choose your next cable.
What Are the Advantages of a High-Quality Guitar Cable?
A high-quality guitar cable can benefit your guitar in a few ways.
First and foremost, it provides a clear signal for your guitar to play music without excess noise. A quality cable will let you hear highs, lows, and mid-tones with a rich, clean sound.
It is quiet on stage and allows for careful handling. Different cable lengths will work in other performing venues. Shorter ones are ideal for a studio setting, while longer ones may be better for the stage.
The best cables block out pops, hollow sounds, strange noises, and feedback from anything other than your guitar.
Lastly, dependable cables last a long time and come with lifetime warranties in case of damage.
How to Choose the Best Guitar Cable
When choosing a guitar cable, you should keep some things in mind: budget, length, material, and capacitance.
No matter what, you should never settle on a cheap, $10 cable. Even with a small budget, these cheap cables won’t last very long, meaning you will have to replace them frequently. All of these replacements will cost you more in the long run than if you had saved up for a more expensive cable in the first place.
The best guitar cables don’t cost hundreds of dollars. Our favorite, the Mogami Gold Series, is moderately priced and will last you ages. While spending more money correlates with more features, these extras are often unnecessary for studio-quality sound.
You can find a guitar cable in almost any length, ranging from 6-inch patch cables to 30-foot coil cables. This variety is excellent for many applications, but shorter cords often sound better than their long counterparts.
Long cables add impedance and increase resistance, which can lose power and signal from the system. Staying under the 10-foot cap is typically recommended, but more substantial runs aren’t a lost cause.
Lengthier cables require higher quality materials to guarantee a strong signal. High-quality materials protect the transmission better but cost more.
Standard guitar cables have five essential parts:
- The center conductor that carries the audio signal via electric current
- Insulation that isolates the current from other parts
- An electrostatic shield which reduces handling noise
- A braided copper shield to block external interference
- An outer jacket adding aesthetic appeal while protecting the inner components
Oxygen-free or linear crystal copper typically compose the best conductors. While neither is necessarily better than the other, both have substantial anecdotal evidence that their sound trumps regular copper.
There are two different conductor designs typically used. The first is the solid conductor, which is cheaper and easier to solder but is also prone to breakage. Stranded conductors cost more but employ greater strength and flexibility.
The best insulation these days comes from thermoplastics like polyethylene, which have lower capacitance and cost than thermosets.
Connectors do not need gold plates to have decent quality. While gold prevents corrosion and looks nice, the tone and conductivity match those of nickel and silver.
The best electrostatic shields feature conductive PVC or dacron, a noise-reducing tape. Conductive PVC is more conductive, flexible, and thin compared to dacron. Some cables forgo braided shielding entirely in favor of conductive PVC, though this is less effective above 10 kHz.
Other forms of shielding block interference from radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields. Braided shielding costs the most, but you get maximum strength and little to no interference in turn. Serve shielding costs less, shields well, and provides more flexibility. The cheapest option is foil shielding, which lacks durability and protection.
The outer jacket conceals the inner wirings and lets you customize the appearance of your guitar setup. You can find cables in almost any color or print imaginable.
A capacitor is composed of two conductors separated by an insulator, and it stores a charge. An increase in frequency corresponds to increased current flowing across the capacitor.
Guitar cables act as large capacitors. Longer cords produce muddier sounds because of their higher capacitance, which kills the high-frequency sound.
As such, if you want to protect the high frequencies, you may want to invest in a low capacitance cable.
Keep in mind that some guitars sound better with high capacitance, so check out your guitar model before splurging on a new cable.
The Big Controversy: Is There a Difference in Sound Quality?
Higher-end guitar cables often employ more durable construction, lower capacitance, thicker shielding, and more corrosion-resistant materials. However, you don’t have to splurge on a $100 cable to get these benefits.
Many affordable cables come with the advantages associated with costlier ones. Some cheaper cables transmit treble frequencies better than more expensive ones from their lower capacitance values. Nonetheless, they lack the same quality design and construction that gives the pricier options their longevity.
Before investing in a cable, you might want to read up on specs, reviews, and tests performed comparing the ones you are interested in with their competitors to see which one comes at the best value.
Maintaining Your Guitar Cable
You could buy the most incredible guitar cable in the world with the best specs and the most 5-star reviews, but it might break sooner than expected if you fail to take good care of it.
To extend the life of your cable, clean the plugs. After some time, the tips will lack the luster they had when you first bought it. The environment corrodes the ends, creating intermittent scratchy sounds. Once every few months, use steel wool to remove imperfections and corrosion from the plugs.
In between steel wool treatments, wipe down the connectors with some hand soap and terry cloth to preserve their shine and prevent corrosion.
Coil your cables with Velcro or a tie to reduce tangling and make them easier to handle. Allowing them to jumble together will only make them susceptible to damage, and it looks much more professional to store them neatly.
To keep the cable clean, purchase some Goof Off and wipe it down the cable’s entire length. The Goof Off will remove all stickiness, dirt, and grime from the cord, and you can use it on your guitar as well.
Put on gloves and dilute the Goof Off in water before wiping the equipment. These measures protect your skin and your guitar accessories.
When going to tape down your cables, try to avoid duct tape and instead use Gaffers tape. Duct tape will leave a sticky residue on your equipment and the floor, which isn’t pleasant for anyone. Gaffers tape is easy to tear by hand, leaves no residue behind, and is very strong, making it the ideal choice for anyone looking to tape their guitar cables.
Lastly, only choose a cable as long as you need it to be. This length will not only save you money, but it will preserve your signal, lower your capacitance, and be more manageable.
In our opinion, the best overall cable is by far the Mogami Gold Series Guitar Cable.
This cable combines aesthetic appeal with quality construction, all for a reasonable price.
The cheaper options, like the GLS, D’Addario, Ernie Ball, VOX, and Fender, lack the beautiful appearance, durable build, and clear sound quality of the Mogami Gold. They all have great values for their cost, but splurging a little more will significantly enhance your guitar-playing experiences.
Cables of similar costs, like the PRS and Spectraflex, have differing shortcomings. The PRS beats out Mogami with its handmade construction, but its thinness makes it prone to tangling, and it is often out of stock. The Spectraflex has a wide variety of colors, but it misses the trustworthy brand name and countless positive reviews that the Mogami Gold boasts.
The slightly more expensive George L’s 155 gives you a DIY feel but a similar quality. However, it’s skinny cable design is tangle-prone. The uber-expensive Lava Cable has deluxe features and is the highest quality product we found, but the sound difference does not justify the ridiculous cost.
The Mogami Gold Series Guitar Cable gives you excellent signal clarity and brightness, reliable usage, longevity, durability, no interference, silent handling, and a lifetime warranty for an exceptional price.
Maybe one of these 11 best guitar cables will meet your musical needs.