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8 Best Guitar Cables on the Market

8 Best Guitar Cables on the Market

You would not believe how many fine details can make the difference between a bad guitar cable and a good cable.

A lot of people think “Meh, it’s just a cable, how complicated could it be to choose one?”.

It isn’t… not until you learn about what’s inside that black rubber, and how each of its components can maximize or diminish the quality of the sound output.

TL;DR: To cut right the chase, these are my top recommended guitar cables by use case…

  1. GLS Audio Guitar Instrument CableBest for Big Stages & Large Play Areas (Amazon)
  2. Fender Performance Series Instrument Cables – Best Length Varieties (Sweetwater / GuitarCenter)
  3. KIRLIN Cable LGI-202-10/BK – Best Budget Guitar Cable (Amazon)
  4. Donner Guitar CableBest for Home Use (Amazon)
  5. Mogami 10R Guitar Instrument CableBest High End Guitar Cable (Sweetwater / Amazon)
  6. Fender Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child CableBest Coiled Guitar Cable (Sweetwater / Amazon)
  7. Line 6 Relay G10IIBest Wireless Guitar Cable Alternative (Sweetwater)
  8. Rig Ninja Instrument Cable by NINJAMUSO

GLS Audio Guitar Instrument Cable | Amazon
$16.70

Built to last, our electric guitar cord is made with high-quality oxygen-free copper.

Buy at Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/31/2023 05:08 pm GMT

How to Choose a Guitar Cable

There are a lot of people who don’t really care much about what’s inside a guitar cable, as long as it gets the job done. However, if you’re really passionate about your guitar and want to learn more about all the accessories that are paired with it, we’re going to give you a little bit of cable-related information, to get you started.

In the middle of the cable lies a center conductor. It’s typically made from copper shielding and it carries the audio signal using electrical current. This part of the cable is generally insulated, plus surrounded by an electrostatic shield.

The reason for having such construction is to avoid all cracking noise that could be caused when the cable is moved. There is also a braided cable shield that prevents external sources from interfering with the conductor.

The outer jacket is the visible part of the cable. It what protects every other component inside the cable from damage caused by external factors, keeping the insides of the cable protected from elements.

From the outside, pretty much all cables look similar. However, there are lots of differences that set one cable apart from another.

While there are a lot of things to learn about cables, we’re going to avoid the in-depth terminology, and focus on the aspects that could interfere with the durability and quality of the sound (guitar tone).

guitar cables

Best Guitar Cable Length

TL;DR: For most guitarists jamming at home, a guitar length of 5 feet will do. For larger spaces or small stages, go with a 10-15 foot cable. For large stage venues, 20-30 feet is typically necessary.

When you’re out shopping for… well, pretty much any type of cable, the first thing to keep in mind is how long you need this cable to be. Although you might be tempted to purchase a longer cable, “just in case”, remember that the length of the cable will also determine the strength of the signal.

When the cable is shorter, the signal is more powerful. Because of that, you should avoid falling into the trap of purchasing a cable than needed, unless you plan on using every inch of it.

There is always the inconvenience of a longer cable constantly getting in the way, so you might accidentally trip over it if it’s too long (of course, that can also happen with short cable, but there are greater chances of happening with a longer one). The length of the cable can also be chosen depending on where you’re playing.

If you’re playing inside a room of your house, standing close to an amplifier, you won’t need a cable longer than five feet. If you play in a bigger space or on a small stage, about 15 feet max should do the trick. For large stages, you’ll need around 20 to 30 feet.

Guitar Cable Conductor

As we mentioned before, the core of the guitar cable is the conductor. Because of that, you should pay attention to what this conductor is made of. On a general note, they are made from standard copper. That’s because they are cheap to produce and are really good at signal transmission.

So, if you want a cable with a good conductor, look for those made with linear-crystal or oxygen-free copper. These are considered pure versions of the material and are capable of improving the performance of the cable.

Guitar Cable Connector Type

At both ends of a guitar cable, you have connectors: one of them is plugged into the guitar, and the other one goes into the amp. The best connectors are gold or silver-plated ones. They are ¼ inch jacks that can really determine the quality of the connection.

Out of these two available choices, gold is believed to be the best one, but it’s pretty much the same difference as with solver/gold connectors of other cables (like HDMI, for instance). The difference between the two isn’t really that noticeable. Sometimes, you will have to pay attention to the shape of the connectors as well. Remember that shape doesn’t affect the quality of the sound but is rather a matter of personal preference.

Guitar Cable Jacket

The exterior side of the cable is covered by what the industry refers to as the “jacket”. Since this is meant to protect the other components that are inside the cable, it rarely affects the guitar tone. They only way it could do that is if the outer shell tears and the inner parts of the cable are exposed.

Again, choosing the jacket is also a matter of personal taste. In general, these jackets are made from either black rubber or black polyethylene, but manufacturers are now making them with all sorts or cool and vibrant colors, because people like to stand out from the crowd. If you perform on a crowded stage on a regular basis, having a lime green cable will definitely help you spot it easier, out of dozens intertwined black cables.

Guitar Cable Shielding

If you paid attention to some of the stuff we’ve explained so far, you know that shielding is a part of the cable, one that keeps interference separated from the center conductor. A high-quality cable will have a braided copper shield, but you can opt for cheaper cables, that are made with foil or serve shields. Obviously, the latter options won’t protect the center conductor as efficient as braided copper can.

cable

Top 8 Best Guitar Cables

In general, guitar cables are also named musical instrument cables, mostly because they will connect several instruments to an amplifier, not just your average guitar.

In this round up, we tried to go over the best cables for different kinds of situations, and suitable for all budgets.

Best Guitar Cable for Large Areas: GLS Audio Guitar Instrument Cable

If you’re looking for a solid cable to accompany you on a large stage, you’ll need something that’s at least 15 or 20 feet long. This GLS cable meets those requirements, and then some. The center conductor is made with oxygen-free copper, just like the insulation shield.

GLS Audio Guitar Instrument Cable

The connectors are ¼ inch jacks, with a right angle at one end, and a straight connector at the other. The jacket of the cable is a thick protective casing made with flexible tweed, and a nice golden color, that makes the cable stand out without making it too tacky.

The jacket makes the entire cable very flexible and easy to handle, and there’s definitely some noticeable improvement from the average black rubber jackets we’re used to seeing.

Who Should Purchase This?

Because of its length, this version of the GLS cable is only worth buying if you really need a long cable. If you constantly perform on big stages or practice in immense halls, the high quality and durability of this cable make it a worthy choice.

GLS Audio Guitar Instrument Cable | Amazon
$16.70

Built to last, our electric guitar cord is made with high-quality oxygen-free copper.

Buy at Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/31/2023 05:08 pm GMT

Pros

  • Flexible cloth jacket
  • Easy to notice the color
  • An oxygen-free copper center conductor
  • Really good price

Cons

  • Connectors sometimes don’t fit tight
Cable Length20 feet
Connector TypeRight angle to straight
JacketBraided tweed cloth jacket
Product Weight 9.6 ounces
Package Dimensions7 x 7 x 1.5 inches

Best Guitar Cable with Length Options: Fender Performance Series Instrument Cables

Unlike many other cable models we’ve seen, the Fender Performance Series is available in seven different length options, varying from 5 to 25 feet. This automatically expands the product’s potential target market, as some people need really long cables, but others play in their garage and would benefit from shorter ones.

The Fender cable is not just limited to guitar players, but can successfully be used by people who play keyboard, or mandolin. The outer jacket is made from black PVC, which is flexible enough for use to fiddle around with the cable and move freely just as you want.

The coverage shield is made with 90% copper, while the connectors are straight to straight guitar table ones. You can also check out some of the different types of connectors on models sold by Fender.

Who Should Purchase This?

Because it’s available in different lengths, the Fender Performance cable is perfect for everyone who needs such a product, whether we’re talking guitar, keyboard, bass, or mandolin players.

Pros

  • Seven different length options
  • Different connector options
  • 90% copper shield
  • Thick PVC jacket

Cons

  • Plugs don’t always sit properly
Cable Lengthranges from 5 to 25 feet
Connector Typestraight to straight
JacketPVC
Product Weight10.6 ounces (for the 10 foot cable)
Package Dimensions10 x 2 x 10 inches (for the 10 foot cable)

Best Budget Guitar Cable: KIRLIN Cable LGI-202-10/BK

Here is a very straightforward product, for people who need a basic cable, without any fancy features or made from expensive materials.

This cable was conceived as a low-cost option for people who need a guitar cable at home.

 

KIRLIN Cable LGI-202-10

Since it measures 10 feet, it should cover you home need for such a product, as the cable is long enough to connect to the amplifier even when you’re playing your guitar in a larger space.

The connectors are straight to right angle, with the usual ¼ inch jack that we’re used to seeing in such products. The jacket is made from black PVC, and the conductor is a 20 gauge CCAM.

KIRLIN Cable LGI-202-10/BK | Amazon
$8.90

Kirlin Cable LGI-202-10/BK - 10 feet - Straight to Right Angle 1/4-Inch Plug LightGear Instrument Cable, Black PVC Jacket.

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01/31/2023 05:33 pm GMT

Who Should Purchase This?

Looking to buy a guitar cable, but you don’t want to spend too much money on one?

You’ll find that the LGI-202-10/BK is very affordable and decent choice, one that doesn’t compromise quality to make a product with a cheap feel.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Flexible jacket
  • Nickel plated contact connectors

Cons

  • Questionable durability
  • Not the best choice for pros
Cable Length 10 feet
Connector Typestraight to right angle
JacketPVC
Product Weight5.3 ounces
Package Dimensions5.2 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches

Best Guitar Cable for Home Use: Donner Guitar Cable

The Donner guitar cable is quite an awesome product, but this is a judgement that you can make for yourself once you’ve heard some more specifications.

The construction of the cable is quite satisfying considering its low price (compared to the more medium to high-end cables on the market). It has a center conductor made from pure copper, covered by insulation and conductive PVC.

 

Donner Guitar Cable

All that combined allows the Donner to reject interference, resulting in a high-quality sound output, much to the delight of the people who’ve tested it so far. The tweed jacket comes in different combinations or black, white, and blue.

You can choose between the 10 or the 18 foot version of this cable, although the former option should be more than enough to keep you covered.

Who Should Purchase This?

Because it manages to balance the price and feature aspects of a product falling into this category, the Donner guitar cable is perfect for the average guitar players that enjoys a jamming session at random or in a home studio setting.

Donner Guitar Cable | Amazon
$9.99

Donner guitar cable with 24AWG oxygen-free-copper center conductors and high purity OFC core provides enhanced signal transfer.

Buy at Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/31/2023 05:43 pm GMT

Pros

  • Oxygen-free copper conductor
  • Tweed woven jacket
  • Rejects interference
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Five different jacket/connector combo options

Cons

  • Cable can constantly twist itself
Cable Length10 or 18 feet
Connector Typestraight to right angle
Jacket Black & White tweed
Product Weight8 ounces
Package Dimensions8.7 x 3.3 x 1.4 inches

Best High End Guitar Cable: Mogami 10R Guitar Instrument Cable

If you were impressed with the gold connectors we mentioned in the buyer’s guide section of this article, we’ve decided to take a look at a guitar cable that has this feature.

The quality of this Mogami cable is superior, meaning it can render a crystal-clear tone. Mogami cables are one of the top choices in recording studios, and this can only vouch for its quality even further.

The cables have an oxygen-free copper center conductor, which is one of the best choices for this type of cable. They also feature a conductive polymer sub-shield, which is paired with an ultra-high density spiral shield.

With all of these items combined, interference is kept at a distance, while the result is high-definition sound.

Who Should Purchase This?

If you want the best guitar cable with a pair of elegant gold connectors, superior interference blockage, and don’t mind paying the price, the Mogami gold cable is the perfect choice.

Pros

  • Seven length options available
  • Gold connectors
  • Professional choice
  • Spiral shield + conductive polymer sub-shield
  • Oxygen-free copper conductor
  • High-def sound

Cons

  • Expensive
Cable LengthSeven options available. from 10 inches to 25 feet
Connector TypeStraight to right angle
JacketN/A
Product Weight8 ounces
Package Dimensions10.8 x 8 x 1 inches

Best Coiled Guitar Cable: Fender Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child Cable

Let’s be honest, many people want a coiled cable because of Jimi. This one is literally his namesake and it’s not just a marketing gimmick.

This Fender cable is just all around reliable, from an even more reliable brand name.

While it’s not dirt cheap, it also won’t break the bank in the $50-60 range and comes in pretty much every color imaginable. 

Who Should Purchase This?

Anyone who’s struggled with guitar cables getting tangled, or anticipates a crowded stage environment. Also helpful if you are going for a boosted mid range sound and trying to avoid higher frequency feedback. 

Pros

  • Tangle resistant
  • Coiled cable takes up much less space
  • Spring-like coiled effect means fewer accidentally unplugs 
  • Boosted mid range guitar tone, minimizing high frequency sounds

Cons

  • Can be limited on length
  • Can be more expensive for similar non-coiled lengths
  • Can get intertwined with other coiled cables (e.g. if thrown into a gig bag haphazardly)

Best Wireless Guitar Cable: Line 6 Relay G10II

It’s a bit of a misnomer. A wireless guitar cable isn’t really a cable at all. But it’s worth mentioning in this category as wireless systems are increasingly solving many of the problems presented by traditional cables. This cable is a great example. 

Who Should Purchase This?

The Line 6 Relay G10II wireless guitar system is probably the best VALUE wireless system out there. It’s a reasonably priced alternative to messing around with cumbersome guitar cables. 

It’s still expensive at close to $200 compared to a regular old guitar cable, BUT it’s far less than the $1,000s many only marginally better high end systems like the 

Pros

  • Forget about getting tangled or tripping, this system sets you free
  • One of the most reliable wireless guitar systems in it’s price range ($150-300). 
  • Relatively affordable for a reputable wireless system

Cons

  • Definitely more expensive than a simple guitar cable (although check this Sweetwater listing for discounts)
  • Wireless systems are great when they work, but in the off chance it’s not working, it can be a show-stopper unlike the “simple” tech in a guitar cable

Rig Ninja Instrument Cable by NINJAMUSO

To end our round up in style, we chose one that provides the best price-to-features ratio out of all the products we’ve seen.

It’s not the cheapest cable, not does it have the best quality materials, but it does balance these two worlds, in order to provide a solid and reliable product.

There are five different cable lengths to choose from, depending on where you plan on using it. The 5 or 10 foot versions are ideal for home use, while the 15, 20, and 25 versions are best suited for small to large stages.

The guitar cable has an oxygen-free copper core, which is protected by a braided shield, blocking interference and reducing any unpleasant or unwanted noise.

Who Should Purchase This?

The Rig Ninja guitar cable seems to be right at the border of what an average home guitar player needs, and what pros expect to get from such an accessory. It’s a medium-line product, perfect for those of you who want an upgrade from the most basic guitar cable.

Pros

  • Oxygen-free copper conductor
  • Oxygen-free copper braided shield
  • Five different length options
  • Plastic stress relief

Cons

  • Not very stress resistant
Cable Lengthfive options available, from 5 to 25 feet
Connector Typestraight to straight
JacketN/A
Product Weight6.1 ounces
Package Dimensions8 x 1 x 7 inches

Coiled Cables vs Straight Guitar Cables

Coiled guitar cables were a favorite of Jimi Hendrix, so there’s definitely some retro love here. That aside, there are some practical reasons to consider a coiled guitar cable over a straight guitar cable.

By and large, MOST people just go with the default straight guitar cable. It’s by far the most common accessory. 

So why go with a coiled guitar cable?

  1. Coiled guitar cables are less prone to being tripped over on stage, useful for bands with a lot going on
  2. Coiled guitar cables are less prone to getting tangled with other wires
  3. Coiled guitar cables have extra spring, meaning a player can “feel” tension on the line better and avoid accidental unplugs
  4. Coiled cables generally take up much less space and are easier to store
  5. Coiled guitar cables offer tonal differences, with boosted mid range frequencies and softer high frequencies

The minor drawbacks of a coiled cable are:

  1. Coiled cables feel heavier, requiring a bit more effort to “hold”. This might be a concern for certain setups.
  2. While coiled cables are generally less prone to getting tangled with other gear & wires, when two coiled cables get intertwined, it’s a mess to untangle.

Short vs Long Guitar Cables

Another consideration worth drawing attention to is the fact that the length of any guitar cable (coiled or not) has a lot to do with sound quality.

Generally shorter guitar cables are more precise sounding, with less opportunity for interference. It’s safe to say that a shorter guitar cable is almost always better from a SOUND quality perspective.

Of course, many players need to accept the trade off with a longer cable for stage performances.

But knowing this might be more helpful for a novice player who might be wondering, why NOT just go with a longer cable to be safe. 

Wireless vs Wired Guitar Cables

The wired vs wireless debate is a classic case of “it depends”. A high-end wireless system definitely is a revolution compared to the old wired guitar setups, but the cost is exponential. 

The main issue with the debate is that there’s now an array of lower grade wireless systems flooding the market, creating an illusion of sorts.

The truth is, even a solid entry level wireless system starts at around $200. Anything less than that and it’s probably too good to be true. To get a high-end wireless experience – and the ability to maintain “your sound” – expect to pay upwards of $1,000. 

Wired guitar cables are just much more reliable as a budget option. They are far easier to troubleshoot if things are off, much like plugging in a lamp (well, maybe not quite but you get the idea). 

When the wireless system isn’t working, or is inconsistently working, there typically isn’t a quick way to remedy on the fly. Wireless technology also tends to change at a faster rate, meaning you might be on a more frequent upgrade schedule compared to your old guitar cables. 

Electric Bass vs Guitar Cable

Some brands market their cables as “bass” cables or bass compatible. The truth is there’s no real difference between them and a good guitar cable is a good bass guitar cable.

That said, some brands argue their “bass cables” have capacitance differences (low capacitance vs high capacitance). Even if this is true theoretically, good luck noticing the difference! 

As a case in point, my top recommended bass guitar cable is the same as my first recommendation for overall best guitar cables: the GLS Audio Instrument Cable here.

GLS Audio Guitar Instrument Cable | Amazon
$16.70

Built to last, our electric guitar cord is made with high-quality oxygen-free copper.

Buy at Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/31/2023 05:08 pm GMT

FAQ About Guitar Cables

Question: Are all instrument cables the same?

Answer: Before we dive into the different types of cables and which ones are best for guitars, you should know that not all instrument cables are the same, which is why you should not be using them interchangeably. The main difference between the cables is their power and the quality of sound they produce.

You don’t want to end up sounding like a swarm of bees, do you?

Question: How to choose a guitar cable?

Answer: Of course, the budget might be the first thing that comes to your mind, however, the quality of the cable should be of utmost importance when considering this purchase as it is one of the most important things for your guitar. There are several things that really set every cable apart and these are the following: length, conductor material, design, connector quality, shielding and insulation materials.

Thanks to our guitar cable review today, you will not have to search what all of these are important for, because the choices we have made are definitely one of the best out there.

Question: What are coiled guitar cables?

Answer: Coiled guitar cables are high in capacitance and have higher copper levels than regular straight cables of the same length. In addition, it’s easier to play with high capacitance instrument cable, as they usually don’t get tangled while playing.

Question: Do high end cables make a difference?

Answer: No. High-end cables will not make any difference, so investing in speakers, turntables and other electronics should definitely be your first start if you are not satisfied with the sound.

Bottom Line: Best Guitar Cables

It’s quite surprising how an item that seems so basic and costs so little, can be this complex. Guitar cables will expand your instrument-accessory knowledge more than products like stands or straps.

The beauty of a guitar cable is that it can cost as low as $3, and as much as $6,000.

The average premium cables can cost anything between $30 and $80, which is still good considering how expensive the most expensive models can be. But, unless you play the guitar for a living or work in a recording studio, you’ll never need a cable that costs thousands of dollars.

Recommended Reads:

Neil Ramsden

Monday 29th of March 2021

I prefer to use Shielded Twisted Pair cables rather than Coax designs as they are much more reliable, preserve my tone more effectively, save me money (I'm not replacing broken cables regularly), stay noiseless and help save the planet as they are repairable. I have one that is 12 years old and performs as new despite heavy use and abuse. What's not to like! These excellent leads are Chord Company Cream Instrument Cable which are custom made in England by Guitarists/music lovers. No more cable blues for me. Now available to everyone via my Web Site because I like to share ways of maximising playing enjoyment.