With so many choices on the market, how do you choose a guitar cable? Do you go with the cheap one? Do you get the one that looks cool? How about the one with the fabric that matches your guitar? Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but you’ll make a better decision after you’ve read this article and understand what the difference is between all of them.
The job of a guitar cable is to carry the fragile electric current that your pickups get from the strings to your amp. It may seem like a simple job, but there are all sorts of problems that can get in your signal’s way. Poor connectors, cheap cores, and lack of insulation are all going to create a major loss in signal and in sound quality. When jamming at home or practicing with your band you can usually get away with having a crappy guitar cable, but when you don’t want to sound like that when you have an audience!
As your cable gets longer it becomes more important that it’s made from high quality materials. A cheap guitar cable is prone to signal loss as soon as the current leaves the guitar, and the problem is compounded by longer cables. My practice cables are short since I’m not really doing anything other than playing. My live cables are much longer (30 feet+) so that I can move the stage. It’s worth every penny to buy a high quality guitar cable when you’re dealing with those kind of lengths.
Should you use a straight or right angle guitar cable? There’s a ton of debate around this topic. It’s really a matter of preference, but there are a few solid rules to go by. First, the amp side of the cable should be straight. This will help signal flow at that crucial point and you don’t have to worry too much about your amp getting smacked and breaking the cable. As for the guitar side, if your input jack is perpendicular to the body of the guitar you should use a right angle. Having a straight cable jutting out of the front of a guitar is a recipe to get it broken. If you have a jack that’s recessed into the front a straight cable fits a little better. Input jacks on the guitar’s sides can use either. Fender Telecasters almost always have to have a straight connector because the right angle ones won’t fit into their deep jacks.
Now that you know a bit more about your guitar cable choices you can make a much more educated decision on which is right for you. Save money with your practice cables so you can spend it on your live and recording ones. Spend the money when your sound really counts!
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