9 Best Guitar Cables & Instrument Cords of 2022 | Music Critic (2022)

Best Guitar Cables Buyers Guide

In near future, you’ll encounter the need of connecting your guitar to an amplifier so in that case, a cable is essential. It’s kind of more important if you using an electronic guitar as the cable is the only way to connect your guitar to an amplifier and get something out of it.

So allow us to introduce you to three guitar cables that will definitely suit every consumer, so let’s get into it.

Our Top Pick

9 Best Guitar Cables & Instrument Cords of 2022 | Music Critic (1)

Top or the best pick satisfies you with the bills along with the quality. So we’ll showcase you something that will really suit a comfortable price range without any compromise in quality.

Allow us to introduce you to the American Stage Instrument Cable by Planet Waves. When it comes to cables the American Stage cable is designed to stand tall.

The cable is available in three styles, right angle ends, straight ends, and straight to right angle ends. The sizes are ranging from 10feet and all the way up to 30 feet.

This cable features HelioFused soldering that provides a bulletproof construction for withstanding daily gig after gig on the stages. Likewise, it also offers powerful strain relief without compromising tone. Similarly, it also has in-line joints for superconductivity and strength.

American stage cable is equipped with patented Geo-tip which is an exclusive design for the improvement in fitting in all jacks. It is in conjunction with Neutrik for providing a secure connection in between pedals, jacks. It also clears crackling and poor signal experience.

The cable is equipped with in-out technology for delivering out what you have put it. The capacitance is rated at 28pF/ft for uncolored tone and the 22AWG oxygen-free copper conductor provides the outstanding signal transfer. Shielding is guaranteed by extra tin copper braiding with cancels noise at its best.

With 22AWG oxygen-free copper conductor, low capacitance and heliofused soldering this cable had really conquered our top pick amongst guitar cables.

Premium Choice Cords

9 Best Guitar Cables & Instrument Cords of 2022 | Music Critic (2)Our premium pick depends only on two factors, the best product in the market and long-lasting.

Guitar cable by Mogami had not let us down in any aspect. Mogmai is known for making professional cables.

The cable is 10 feet long and has a straight end design which fits up to all guitar jacks really well and without any hassle.

The cable is balanced so you don’t need to be worried about performance loss as other unbalanced cables don’t bring the best out of instruments.

The cable is made with high-definition instrument cable that promises shielding, performance, and low capacitance.

The cable is gold-plated which indicates that it can survive for years as gold don’t react with the environment to cause rust. If you are not convinced by it so we’ll be glad to tell you that it also have a lifetime warranty.

On the whole, this cables provides, clear, accurate, transparent tone with the dead silent background so you can concentrate where it matters the most.

With gold-plating, lifetime warranty and neutral balancing, picking this cable would definitely be a nobles choice.

(Video) Best Electric Guitar Cable In 2022 - Top 10 Electric Guitar Cables Review

Great Value

9 Best Guitar Cables & Instrument Cords of 2022 | Music Critic (3)

Picking a less valued product can cause you in near future, but what if a product has a lesser price with no quality boundaries?

Performance Series Instrument Cables by Fender are really on an another level. Fender is known for years for delivering the best in instruments and their accessories.

These cables are designed to provide the best performance in live concerts. Likewise, they are engineered for avoiding twisting, kinking and having any physical static current in between them to deliver the best sound.

These cables are available in four designs straight, guitar patch cable designs, microphone and right angle. The size is available from 5 feet and all the way up to 25 feet.

To reduce handling noise extra thick PVC jacket is used to knock off unwanted clicks and pop. Similarly, to minimize noise interferences a 90% copper coverage shield is used for cutting electronic buzz especially in electronic guitars.

These cables are designed by 23AWG Oxygen-free copper conductors for providing the best performance out. Ultra low capacitance levels provide superb tone and shielding from unwanted magnetic fields and sounds. Apart from it, you are backed up with a lifetime warranty so you don’t have to about that special care.

Fender cables are top-notch when it comes to design and performance.

With 23AWG Oxygen-free copper conductor, lifetime warranty and a wide range of sizes this product is great value for the money.

There are some factors, if looked upon carefully you will not end up buying a fussy cable for your guitar and these factors are length of the cable, the conductor design, conductor material, quality of the connector, shielding and electrostatic shielding and last but certainly not the least is the insulation material used in the cable.

If all these factors are taken into proper consideration the chances are you will find a pretty nice cable for your guitar that will not bring down the quality of the sound that your guitar has on offer and not make you feel ashamed in front of a huge crowd at a stage performance or a couple of people in your jamming room.

Cable Maintenance - Once you have your guitar cables, be sure to practice basic cable maintenance. Make sure they are kept properly coiled without any twists or ties. Also, make sure you're not unplugging a live wire – Not only does this sound unprofessional, but it can wear on your equipment over time.

9 Best Guitar Cables & Instrument Cords of 2022 | Music Critic (4)

Kate Brunotts

Kate Brunotts FOR MUSIC CRITIC

FAQ’s

  • What To Look For in a Guitar Cable

Before analyzing the components we should first determine the parts that really make up a guitar cable functional. So without further ado let’s start digging deep inside.

A standard guitar cable consists of five basic parts:

  • Center Conductor

This part carries the audio signal via an electrical current.

(Video) Do Expensive Guitar Cables REALLY Sound Better? - Let's Find Out!

  • Insulation

This part holds up the current and keeps it outlying from the other parts.

  • Electrostatic Shield

This piece is marked for reducing handling noise while the cable is flexed or compressed.

  • Braided Copper Shield

This shield blocks the interference from surround sources

  • Outer Jacket

This part is the housing, it keeps and protects all the internal parts giving the cable a solid appearance.

Now let’s look into the factors that affect the component’s quality:

  • Length

Length is directly proportional to noise, so when the length increases the noise factor also increases. You would rarely see a long cable that doesn't produce a noisy effect.

Basically, when it reaches your amplifier or audio input the signals are broken thus creating a noisy effect.

All links agree that the shortest length the cleanest and Clearest sound.

Some brands offer up to 25feets while on the other hand some manufacturers also present more than 25 feet long.

Length cable also matters but don’t close the tab as other factors also affect the signal quality.

  • Conductor Material

Conducting means to transmit energy by conduction. So basically most of the cords use the copper as a conductor, providing a cleaner signal.

But the tables are surely turned as there is a whole lot of debate about Oxygen-free copper or linear-crystal copper materials. These two materials tend to provide better conductivity and cleaner signal.

No such theory is assigned but the difference can be felt in real situations.

If you are looking for RCA cables, click here to find our favorite.

  • Conductor Design

Moving on the conductor design, so there are basically two basic center conductor designs, Solid conductor or Stranded conductors.

Solid conductors are cheaper and can be simply soldered. Likewise, they can break easily.

Stranded conductors are stronger and flexible. Similarly, they are relatively more expensive than solid ones.

Solid conductors consist of a single piece of wire while on the other hand, stranded conductors have many fine copper threads twisted to provide a solid center.

AWG unit is used to measure the gauge of copper strands, a bigger number indicates a smaller size - view our top ukes here.

(Video) Which Guitar Cable Sounds Best? (Cable Shootout)

Usually, there are around 3 types of cables, a solid conductor, individual strand and premium strand.

Many small strands and high AWG numbers result in a stronger and flexible cable. Usually, the premium strands have more strands and a higher AWG number resulting in expensive yet best cable.

To improve the performance game at a more bigger level some companies add a thin coating over each strand which prevents oxidation for longevity and makes them easier to solder. Likewise, the drawback of this coating is that it causes a skin-effect which tends to switch high-frequencies signal towards the outer surface of the conductor, causing to alter the frequency response of the signal.

So many manufacturers prefer silver coating over tin as it doesn't produce this effect.

So let’s move to other factors

  • Connector Quality

The common myth between us is that we think that gold-plated connectors are superior to nickel or silver as they affect the tone and conductivity, but that’s not the real deal. Gold is better because it is less corrosive as it doesn't react rapidly and can last longer without rusting.

So before investing in an over-priced gold plated guitar cable be sure to check other components as gold-plating only makes it last longer.

  • Shielding

Guitar cables only transfer the signals and they are vulnerable to frequencies around. Unlike microphones, they don’t have any noise cancellation features. So radio frequencies and magnetic field can cause you to lack in quality.

To block such interferences there are three types of shields

  • Braided Shielding

It is the most expensive option but it offers you with the maximum strength and excellent from EMI and RFI both.

  • Serve Shielding

Relatively it is less expensive from braided shielding, but it offers decent flexibility along with sufficient shielding

  • Foil Shielding

It is the cheapest option; durability and protection from interferences are not promised anyhow.

Likewise, many manufacturers claim that Braided Shielding also provides a protecting layer for avoiding ground-loop hum but the truth is nowhere near. They don’t. You can simply cut off the ground-lumping factor by avoiding the cable running parallel to an extension cord or AC power cables and avoiding storing your excess cable length next to the amp.

  • Electrostatic Shielding

Have you ever noticed crackling sounds when you move your guitar cable? That happens when friction occurs between the insulation and copper shield causing a static electric current.

Assemblers use electrostatic shielding between copper and insulation to discharge any static build-up.

Basically, two materials are used to prevent static build-up:

  • Dacron

It’s a special kind of noise-reducing tape

  • Conductive PVC

It’s a newer technology as compared to Dacron tapes and is widely used among many cords.

C-PVC provides flexibility, thinness, and better conductivity when compared to Dacron tapes. Likewise, it provides minimal friction with consistent thickness.

(Video) The 9 Best Electric Guitar Cables | Mod Cheap Guitars

Some companies have replaced braided copper shields with conductive PVC as it provides more blocks towards interferences.

  • Insulation Material

Before we really get into insulation matters, we must cover capacitance and how it affects the sound quality.

Whenever two materials (carrying a current) are separated by an insulation a capacitor is created.

In guitar cables, the capacitance should be as low as possible because it results in better high-frequency responses and minimizes the clacking sound when the cable is struck or stepped over.

Dielectric constant is used to measure the capacitance, which assigns the numbers to the materials. Remember that lower the value better the cable insulation.

For instance, Rubber has a rating of 6.5, whereas Polyethylene has a rating of 2.3 which means that Polyethylene has a lower capacitance.

Polyethylene is commonly used in cable insulation as they are cheaper and good.

Some old-school companies provide redefined experience by using special polymers for high-end cables to lower the capacitances as much as possible.

So now as you have in-depth knowledge about the parts and factors affecting them you can easily pick up one for yourself by referring to the information that we have crafted.

Do Expensive Cables Sound Better?

In all the scenarios price and quality is not directly proportional to each other. So there are be two different paths.

It doesn’t mean the all companies are money junkies and want your money somehow, but many companies out there offer a great deal for an expensive price tag. You should look for the insulation material with the lowest capacitance, conductive PVC electrostatic shielding, braided shielding, gold-plated connectors, linear or oxygen-free copper material. If the product fits the category then you can surely get the best sound out of it.

There are some companies out there that prioritize the gold-plating over all other main components thus embossing an expensive price stamp. Don’t get fooled by the gold-plated title as it only lasts the cable longer and doesn't provide any sort of performance bumps.

So be smart and check all the components and then decide to pay hefty bills.

FAQs

What guitar cable does John Mayer use? ›

On his acoustic guitars, John Mayer uses Ernie Ball Acoustic 2146 Earthwood Medium Light strings. Different gauge strings are likely used on different models, but . 012 – . 054 gauge is the most common.

Do high quality guitar cables make a difference? ›

Absolutely. Aside from any capacitance benefits, you can reasonably expect higher-end cables to have had much better levels of quality control across the manufacturing process. They will be less likely to fall apart on the inside, resulting in serious degradation of signal.

Are gold plated guitar cables better? ›

A common belief held by many guitar players is that gold-plated connectors are somehow superior to nickel or silver. But the truth is, gold is only better because it's less-corrosive, and lasts longer without tarnishing. In terms of tone and conductivity, the differences are virtually none.

Are Mogami cables worth it? ›

Easy to install, exceptionally low noise, astounding clarity and accuracy – all with a silent background, there's good reason why Mogami is called “The Cable of the Pros.” Paying a lot for premium cable may seem a drag, but once you have it, it'll pay for itself over the years.

What Tube Screamer does John Mayer use? ›

Mayer is known to have played through the TS808, TS9, and TS10 in order to get that “Stevie Ray Vaughan” style of overdrive. Ibanez Tube Screamers are also relatively inexpensive, beginning at $100 for a brand new unit. Another Tube Screamer style overdrive that Mayer is known to use is a Fulltone Fulldrive 2.

What is the best gauge for guitar wiring? ›

Widely used in the guitar world for optimal results, is 22AWG wire. This is mainly because you ideally want your wiring AWG to be the same or greater than the guitar's pickup wire AWG and in most cases pickup manufacturer's use 22AWG.

How long should your guitar cable be? ›

Typically, 10-15 foot length cables are ideal for most stages and ensure excellent tone. Anything over 20 feet might require some adjustments.

Does gauge matter in guitar cables? ›

The more copper and the better quality of copper can raise the price. A great gauge for the primary signal conductor is 20 AWG. By having a thicker conductor, you increase the strength of that signal path. Over time, the cable bending and twisted can cause a thinner gauge to break from fatigue.

Are expensive guitar leads worth it? ›

By using more luxury materials and components, such as gold-shielding and thicker insulation, it's believable that a higher quality cable will provide better longevity. Some will also say that a premium guitar lead will therefore be quieter, whereas a poorly-insulated cheap cables will introduce noise.

How do I choose a guitar cable? ›

Most instrument cables are 10 to 20 feet long, which is an ideal length for most players. For most guitarists with one amp and several effects pedals, two cables between 10 to 15 feet should be sufficient. You'll use one to run from your guitar to your pedals, and one to run from your pedals to your amp.

Are short guitar cables better? ›

If longer cables are worse for your guitar tone, then the opposite is true. The shorter the guitar cable, the better. Also, the shorter the guitar cable, the cleaner and clearer the guitar tone. Short cables introduce less capacitance, which overall allows for a quality high-end sound.

How do I choose an instrument cable? ›

The key factors to look for when choosing instrument cable are good screening from noise, low capacitance and high quality connectors. Keeping noise to a minimum is achieved by shielding the conductor from electrical interference, usually with a braided copper, some form of conductive plastic jacket, or both.

What cable is Mogami gold? ›

The Gold Series Instrument Cable uses Mogami 2524 High Definition Instrument Cable. This extremely low-coloration design maintains the unique personality of your Guitar or any instrument.

Are Roland cables good? ›

They are extremely well-made and best of all they are flexible, softer than many cables. In weather changes and in common stage and studio use, their slightly greater flexibility makes maneuvering them much easier than some other cables. These are my favorite cables. I also use Monster Cables with gold connectors.

What is so great about Mogami cables? ›

Mogami is unmatched for accuracy, extremely low noise, ease of installation, flexibility, and superior quality. Professionals and enthusiasts alike rave about the amazing clarity and silent background of Mogami—technicians swear by it, not at it.

How long do Mogami cables last? ›

I have several of these, use them all the time, and have never had a failure in 7 years of continued usage.

Do expensive cables make a difference? ›

If you have a modest system, investing in expensive cables may not be the best way to spend your money. Cables make a difference, but it's a smaller difference than upgrading speakers, electronics, or turntable systems. If you already have a really good system, cables are the next logical upgrade step.

How do you get a punchy guitar tone? ›

How To Get A CRUSHING Guitar Tone! | GEAR GODS - YouTube

Does John Mayer use a pick? ›

Fingerstyle Instead of Pick

Possibly the technique that most defines Mayer's sound is his decision to use his fingers to pluck his strings rather than using a pick (plectrum). Of course, Mayer does use a pick for some of his songs and performances, but often, you will see him use his fingers instead.

How can I make my guitar sound like John Mayer? ›

A huge part of John Mayer's tone comes from the overdrive pedals that he uses. The first and perhaps most famous of these is the Klon Centaur. The Klon is what is known as a 'transparent' overdrive. Like a clean boost, it doesn't colour the sound of your amp and guitar, it just pushes your amp harder.

What gauge wire do pickups use? ›

42 AWG (American Wire Gauge) is the standard wire used in humbuckers, Strat® pickups, and Tele® bridge pickups.

What gauge is instrument cable? ›

Generally, instrument cable center conductors are in the range of 18 to 24 AWG, with strands of 32 to 36 AWG.

How many feet of wire do I need for a guitar pickup? ›

A pickup coil is a very long wire antenna. One complete wrap of a traditional single-coil averages around 4-1/2" long. Therefore, a pickup with an average 6,000 turns has 3000 feet of wire—over half a mile!

Is 20 ft guitar cable too long? ›

A: It's generally not a good idea to run unbalanced cables (guitar and bass cables, for example) farther than 30 feet – we recommend keeping them under 20 feet for least signal loss and degradation.

Does guitar cable length affect tone? ›

You're losing lots of tone as a result of the very long length of cable between your guitar and amp. If your rig is bigger and your cables are longer, the tone loss is going to be even worse.

Does cable length affect sound quality? ›

When long runs (of either interconnects or speaker cables) are used, cable quality becomes extra important. Due to the additional signal losses longer runs impose, the better the cable is at “protecting” the signal, the better will be the sound.

Do guitar cables affect sound quality? ›

It is generally accepted that the longer the cable (the more capacitance), the muddier the sound will be (less highs – the capacitance has killed the high frequency tones, and increased the midrange tones slightly). The average guitar cable carries about 30 picofarads of capacitance per foot of cable.

How do I know if my guitar cable is bad? ›

Bad Guitar Cable? How To Use Your Amp for A Cable Tester - YouTube

Can guitar cables cause buzz? ›

According to Ken from Yorkville, there are two main reasons why a cable can cause humming or buzz: one is due to bad solder connections, which occurs from repeated usage, which ends up creating an intermittent short and thus a grounding issue.

Does the type of instrument cable matter? ›

A good cable won't make you sound BETTER, just normal. Quality of instrument cables will make more difference to your tone than the quality of your guitar strap. But yes, a better quality cable will sound better and last longer than the one you got with your guitar/amp starter kit.

Are Ernie Ball cables good? ›

Based on user reviews, Ernie Ball instrument cables are one of the best choices around. These cables have managed to score 5/5 in this competitive market! Ernie Ball instrument cables feature a high-quality design with excellent components that promise a high value/money ratio.

What is the difference between TS and TRS cables? ›

TS cables are generally used for mono, unbalanced signals. These are most commonly used with electric guitars. TRS cables can be used for mono, balanced signals as well as stereo signals. An example of a mono, balanced signal would be the line in or out from your audio interface.

What are right angle guitar cables for? ›

Right-angled guitar cables are helpful for guitars with input jacks that are flush with the guitar's body, such as front-mounted or side-mounted input jacks. Right-angled cables help prevent any damage that may occur to the cord itself or the guitar, or other equipment if something bumped the cable.

What cable do electric guitars use? ›

The 6.3mm (or 1/4" as it's commonly referred to) mono connector is commonly used for connecting a guitar to an amplifier. Since a guitar, from an audio point of view, really has no sense of left-to-right difference, only two wires are needed, so this mono or "tip-sleeve" connector is fine for the job.

Are braided cables better? ›

Nylon-braided cables are superior

The woven exterior of the cable not only provides crucial structural integrity that will prevent tearing and fraying from everyday use, but also helps it withstand especially extreme forms of punishment.

What are the types of instrumentation cables? ›

There are three types of instrumentation signal cabling generally: Instrumentation High-level signals (between 6 and 50 V). Instrumentation power supplies (above 50 V). Instrumentation Low-level signals (below 5V)

Where are Mogami cables made? ›

Every foot of MOGAMI cable is manufactured in MOGAMI's Nagano, Japan facility. MOGAMI is distributed exclusively in North America by Marshall Electronics located in El Segundo, CA. To learn more about MOGAMI cable, visit www.MOGAMIcable.com.

What connectors does Mogami use? ›

Connectors are gold pin XLR. easy to hear the difference our truly accurate cables make. However, for those who are technically inclined, Mogami offers extraordinarily complete specifications on every cable we make. In fact, our engineering catalog is often considered a “cable bible” throughout the industry.

What gauge strings John Mayer? ›

Strings. John Mayer uses Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Strings (0.010 gauge) on his electric guitars, and according to Ernie Ball's advertising, has done “famously since 2005.” For his acoustic guitars, Mayer sticks with the Ernie Ball brand, using Earthwood strings, which use an 80/20 Phosphor Bronze mix.

Does John Mayer use a compression pedal? ›

1 Optical Compressor and Clean Boost Pedal. John Mayer uses this compressor and clean boost pedal on his pedalboard for his Dead & Company gigs.

What size pick does John Mayer use? ›

John Mayer Strings and Picks

Mayer is an Ernie Ball player using Regular Slinky 10-46 on his electrics and Earthwood Phosphor Bronze on his acoustics. Mayer favored Dunlop Tortex picks – the well known 0.88mm green ones – for many years. Sometime around 2014-15 he moved to a 0.75mm Pick Boy rainbow celluloid.

Are Ernie Ball cables good? ›

Based on user reviews, Ernie Ball instrument cables are one of the best choices around. These cables have managed to score 5/5 in this competitive market! Ernie Ball instrument cables feature a high-quality design with excellent components that promise a high value/money ratio.

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