The 9 Best Guitar Cables

Updated May 16, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

9 Best Guitar Cables
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Not all guitar cables are created equally. If you value your sound, take the time to find the right one for your specific application. Our comprehensive selection includes models with exceptionally low capacitance along with some that have handy features like short circuiting, to prevent those dreadful noises when switching out instruments. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best guitar cable on Amazon.

9. Amboz Cables Red Dragon

The Amboz Cables Red Dragon utilizes an automatic internal strain-release clamp system to resist damage from everyday usage. Its 1/4" ends are corrosion resistant thanks to an unreactive layer of gold, and its hand-soldered connectors provide additional durability.
  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • sometimes generates unwanted hum
  • too skinny to be solid
Brand AMBOZ CABLES
Model pending
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Spectraflex Original Series

One of the first braided options on the market, the Spectraflex Original Series is made in the U.S.A. and is guaranteed for life. Their thick, flexible 20 AWG pure copper centers carry a low capacitance, but not the lowest of its competitors.
  • many colors available
  • tends to get tangled
  • inexpensive feel
Brand Spectraflex
Model GCO10GRN
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Mogami Gold Silent R

The Mogami Gold Silent R hides a reed selector switch inside its silent end, which shorts the signal the moment that it disconnects from its jack, eliminating the agonizing sounds of a live instrument change without requiring any additional steps from the player.
  • carbon impregnated pvc
  • conductive polymer sub-shield
  • quality doesn't justify the price
Brand Mogami
Model GOLD INST SILENT R-10
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Rig Ninja

The blue and black fabric weaved around the Rig Ninja gives it its distinct, vintage appearance. Its gold-plated connector plugs help to minimize resistance and maximize the reliability of your connection, while a relief sleeve cushions the cable just below the tip.
  • 7mm outer diameter
  • strap solder joints
  • tweed twists and tangles easily
Brand Rig Ninja
Model Rig10BlueStr
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. D'Addario Kill Switch

The D'Addario Kill Switch has a unique mute button that deactivates the signal-carrying capability of the cable while depressed, allowing you to switch between instruments on stage without manipulating your amplifier or suffering pops and squeals.
  • ideal for live performance settings
  • available in various lengths
  • capacitance of 28 picofarads per ft
Brand D'Addario
Model PW-AMSK-20
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Mogami Gold

The classic Mogami Gold has gained a reputation for reliability and clarity among guitarists, and its "no excuses" lifetime warranty backs that up, but many players balk at what they feel is an extravagant price. Still, if you have the money to spend, it's a great option.
  • noise-free handling
  • neutrally balanced
  • can be used with other instruments
Brand Mogami
Model GOLD INSTRUMENT-10
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Kirlin IWB-202PFGL

The Kirlin IWB-202PFGL offers the rare combination of affordability and durability. The right-angle design on one end provides strain relief, and the heavy-duty gold-plated metal connectors can take a beating. Most importantly, it produces clean, uncolored sound.
  • great quality for the price
  • stylish tweed woven jacket
  • comes with limited lifetime warranty
Brand KIRLIN, KIRLIN CABLE
Model IWB-202PFGL-10/OL
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. GLS Audio

GLS Audio prides itself on their iconic braided tweed jacket, which runs the length of their cords, providing significant protection and flexibility on stage. The extremely low level of capacitance makes for a clear, fast tone.
  • capacitance just 38 picofarads a ft
  • conductive pvc guards
  • extended heat shrink tubing
Brand GLS Audio
Model 37-093
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Planet Waves American Stage

The Planet Waves American Stage boasts the Geo-Tip plug, which is engineered to ensure full contact between the cable and the instrument jack. Because of the tight fit this design provides, you won't have to worry about any wire wiggling or sudden loss of sound.
  • hefty connectors
  • made in the usa
  • available in straight or right angle
Brand Planet Waves
Model PW-AMSG-10
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

From The Axe To The Amp

Since the dawn of the electric guitar, the cable has played a critical role. Throughout the annals of rock history, untangling huge nests of 1/4" cables after band practice has become a rite of passage for guitarists everywhere. So has the tradition of collecting these important items and lugging them around from basement to basement in search of the next jam. Wherever there's a lead, rhythm, or bass guitarist, there's sure to be a backpack full of cables nearby, especially if there are pedals involved.

The 1/4" guitar cable is ubiquitous throughout the audio industry. So, it's no surprise that there are a variety of options available making a number of impressive claims about their superiority. Connectors and conductors are made with precious metals and state-of-the-art construction methods. Manufacturers offer a multitude of reasons why their brand costs ten times the price of another, seemingly identical choice. These boasts can be legitimate, marginal, or downright misleading.

There's an entire camp of pragmatists who claim that a cable is just a cable. Of course, there's an equally convinced sect of purists who believe, sometimes in the face of patent evidence, that one cable sounds qualitatively and decisively better than another one that may share almost identical specifications.

Regardless of any subjective influences, there are definitely subtle differences in sound from product to product that are more important to audiophiles today than ever.

More Than Just A Copper Wire

There are certainly physical characteristics that affect the quality of a cable and the fidelity of the audio it transports. To understand how various cables differ, it first helps to have a rudimentary knowledge of cables themselves.

An instrument cable is unlike a lot of other audio or electrical cables. While traditional speaker cables do use an identical 1/4" plug type as guitar cables, they're actually built quite differently, with entirely separate capabilities. Rather than side-by-side positive and negative (or ground) wires transmitting a high-powered audio signal away from the amplifier, these specialized cables transmit a light current load through an insulated, conductive copper wire in the very center of the cable's construction. A braided sheath wrapped around that insulated wire acts as the ground wire. Interestingly, this means that the actual waves of current carrying the audio signal actually move down the plastic of the insulation itself while consistently maintaining the circuit between the inner and outer conductive materials.

This construction is ideal for moving a signal from a guitar to an amplifier. That's because the weak signal, which would normally be vulnerable to all kinds of interference, is protected as it runs inside of the grounded, braided shield. However, because of the relatively low conductivity of this shield, an instrument cable can't handle a very strong signal such as what would come out of an amplifier. So, cranking up the volume when using a guitar cable to transport sound from an amp to a speaker may well result in the cable or connector melting or even combusting.

Conversely, standard speaker cables as described above lack the extra shielding to protect the instrument's sensitive signal. For that reason, a speaker cable used as a go-between for a guitar and amp could easily end up buzzing and popping to the point of hurting music quality and damaging equipment.

Choosing The Right Guitar Cable

So, we've established how these surprisingly special cables work. Is there any real reason why some are vastly more expensive than others? A lot of enthusiasts will eagerly share how some of their most inexpensive cables outperform their pricey, brand-name units. While that does show that the most expensive option might not be the best one, it doesn't mean that prices and designations are totally arbitrary.

One basic fact to remember is that a cable cannot single-handedly add anything whatsoever to an audio signal. Conceptually speaking, the ideal instrument cable would have absolutely no effect on the analog signal moving through it. In practice, cables are involved in two processes that can change the timbre of what's fed into your amplifier.

Interference can alter the signal by adding static, pops, distortion, hums, and other noises. This occurs when a cable is poorly shielded or a connector is loose. A well-made unit will hold up over time, taking most of the everyday stretching force on its outside sheath and keeping the more sensitive inner conductor safe from damage. Because of its low elasticity and high flexibility, PVC has become the modern go-to for the most resilient cable.

Different cables also affect some of the higher frequencies in a guitar's signal at different rates. This happens according to a quality called capacitance, which is the conductor's ability to retain a portion of the analog signal it carries. A higher capacitance reduces the volume of the upper ranges of audio, making the rest of the spectrum more prominent in the mix. While this flies in the face of the ideal of a non-interfering guitar cable, it can have a dramatic effect in removing shrill or overly sharp tones from some guitars even before their sounds are processed by a pedal or amp.

At the end of the day, choosing the perfect guitar cable can take some first-hand research. Only you can determine which cable sounds best on your rig. Bass players might look for a coiled cable with more warmth, while lead soloists might opt to free up their treble with a brighter-sounding option. Of increasing popularity are solderless connectors, which allow savvy musicians to easily craft their own high-quality cables of custom length. Gold or silver-plated connections prevent corrosion in the long term. Some advanced models have switches that mute the signal when the adapter is unplugged, preventing pops when disconnecting instruments. Whichever route you take, make sure to choose a cable that's durable, because the best instrument cable is one you can rely on every gig.


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Last updated on May 16, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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