Best guitar cables 2023: recommended instrument cables for electric, acoustic and bass guitar

Best guitar cables 2023: recommended instrument cables for electric, acoustic and bass guitar
(Image credit: Getty/Bill Oxford)

It’s the link between your guitar, pedalboard, and amplifier, so why aren’t we putting as much time and investment into our guitar cables as we do all our other bits of gear? It’s not the most exciting thing in the world we’ll admit, but having the best guitar cable for your budget makes sure you have the best signal transfer, and thus the best tone possible.

Cheap guitar cables introduce microphonic noise, they don’t last as long and can often fail when you least need them to. Avoiding weak links in your chain is all part and parcel of getting your signature sound other there, and that’s why it’s a false economy to buy low-quality cables. The best guitar leads ensure noise-free signal transmission, come with high-quality, rugged connectors, and are flexible enough to withstand the rigors of regular use.

To prevent you from the ignominy of hunching over your pedalboard, and trying to find the offending cable that’s causing your instrument to cut out mid-set, we’ve put together this handy guide for the best guitar cables available today. With big names like Mogami, D’Addario, Ernie Ball, Fender and loads more - you’re in good hands with these instrument cables.

We've included some in-depth buying advice at the end of this guide, so if you'd like to read more about the best guitar cables and what to know when buying them, click the link. If you'd like to get straight to the products, keep scrolling.

Best guitar cables: Our top picks

If you want the best guitar cable around right now, the Mogami Gold Series (opens in new tab) is the one for you. With top-quality components, fantastic sound transfer, and minimal loss of high end these are premium guitar cables. There’s even a lifetime ‘no excuses’ warranty to give you peace of mind it won’t let you down.

If you need something a little less costly, have a look at the D’Addario Planet Waves American Stage Cable. It’s a favorite amongst guitarists thanks to its patented Geo-Tip connectors and HelioFused soldering that puts up with rugged use.

Best guitar cables: Product guide

Best guitar cables: Mogami Gold Series guitar cable

(Image credit: Mogami)

1. Mogami Gold Series guitar cable

The best guitar cable around right now – the gold standard

Specifications

Features: Oxygen-free copper conductor, carbon-impregnated PVC, Neutrik black and gold plugs, ultra-high density spiral shield, conductive polymer sub-shield, lifetime warranty, 130pF/m capacitance
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-to-right-angle
Length: 3-25ft

Reasons to buy

+
No unwanted noise
+
Lifetime warranty
+
Variety of lengths

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much, but is the gold necessary?

The Mogami Gold Series guitar cable has an ultra-high density (UHD) spiral shield and conductive polymer sub-shield to help kill noise and, in our experience, preserve that signal. A conductive carbon-impregnated PVC layer will stop all the sort of microphonic pop that you can get from handling cheaper guitar cables.

The copper core conductor might be heavy gauge but the Gold Series is still easy to handle and easy to pack away. Gigging musicians might wish to upgrade to the Gold Series Silent, which use Neutrik silent plugs so you can change your instrument without having to switch your amp off.

This cable comes with a “no excuses” lifetime warranty and is offered in a wide variety of lengths. Perhaps the Gold Series cable is a little OTT for some, but if you want premium quality, it doesn't get much better.

Best guitar cables: D’Addario Planet Waves American Stage guitar cable

(Image credit: D'Addario)

2. D’Addario Planet Waves American Stage Cable

If America’s sweetheart was made of copper cable, this’d be it

Specifications

Features: 22 gauge oxygen-free copper twisted pair conductors, 95 percent tinned copper braid shielding, Geo-Tip plugs, approx 92pF/m capacitance
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 10-30ft

Reasons to buy

+
Geo-Tip plugs for enhanced connection
+
Low capacitance 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of outer jacket options
-
Not ideal if you want something premium

Planet Waves’ patented Geo-Tip plugs are a big draw with this best guitar cable entrant. They have a slightly flattened tip and longer shield, made by Neutrik in Liechtenstein to Planet Wave’s spec and no matter what jack is fitted in your guitar, these should fit nice and snug with no crackle or pop. That tinned-copper braid should stop rogue frequencies wrecking your signal too.

The HelioFused soldering is another feature unique to Planet Waves and this 180-degree inline connection helps make the American Stage a tough, durable and stage-ready cable.

They are also affordable and available pretty much anywhere, with right-angled options.

Best guitar cables: George L’s .155

(Image credit: George L's)

3. George L’s .155 cable

The best guitar cable for DIY-minded guitarists

Specifications

Features: Solder-less connection, George L’s .155 connectors, high-density braided shielding, 67pF/m capacitance
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 10-20ft

Reasons to buy

+
Low capacitance
+
Lightweight and tough

Reasons to avoid

-
You want one of George’s build-your-own
-
Thin cables are not everyone’s bag

George Lewis is famous for selling his .155 cable in bulk so that guitarists can take advantage of their solder-less connector design and build their own cable. His cables are also famous for their ultra-low capacity. Eric Johnson swears by them. You would be hard pushed to find another guitar cable on the market with a lower capacitance per meter. The frequency response is excellent and your signal is well shielded.

Readymade, these come out the box with George L’s solder-less .155 connections and despite the vintage feel of the low-diameter cable - and its tendency to coil a little - they feel like you could tow a trailer with them.

For those who find the .155 too thin, the .255 offers an identical sonic performance but with thicker and heavier cable.

Best guitar cables: Boss Instrument Cable

(Image credit: Boss )

4. Boss Instrument Cable

One of the best guitar cables for a blend of quality and value

Specifications

Features: Studio-grade, oxygen-free copper core wire, 24K gold-plated contacts, Heavy-duty braided shield
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 1-25ft

Reasons to buy

+
Good range of lengths
+
Value for money 
+
Durable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much 

The Boss instrument cables offer a great blend of quality and affordability. They’re made from decent materials - as soon as you get your hands on it, you can feel quality straight away, and they don’t seem to take much away from your inherent tone. 

They feature heavy duty framed shielding so you’re protected from unwanted microphonic noise, and the jacks feel really well connected to the cable. The material they’re made from also makes coiling them up after use really easy, so they’ll last a long time if looked after. 

There’s a range of lengths depending on what you need, plus there are angled jack options too. From our experience, they're certainly one of the best guitar cables for the money, but if you want something super fancy, check out their premium range.

Best guitar cable: Ernie Ball Braided Guitar Cable

(Image credit: Ernie Ball)

5. Ernie Ball Braided guitar cable

The best guitar cables for road dogs

Specifications

Features: Dual conducters, tangle resistant, braided jacket exterior, 99.95% oxygen-free copper to resist corrosion, dual-shielded, dual-conductor design
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 10-25ft

Reasons to buy

+
Durable
+
Tangle-resistant
+
Noise free design

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing shorter than 10ft

All of Ernie Ball's guitar cables are built to last, but these braided models are designed to be particularly robust, and they're tangle-resistant too - ideal for guitarists who spend a lot of time on the road, or who prefer to stuff their cable straight into the gig bag rather than coil it carefully. 

Inside each cable, dual-conductors help ensure your guitar tones are clear. We discovered crisp highs, tight mids and rich harmonics throughout testing, while internals are shielded well to reduce noise and preserve the signal.

When it comes to lengths, there's not loads of choice, but EB's braided cables are available in 10, 18 and 25ft varieties.

Best guitar cables: Evidence Audio Lyric HG

(Image credit: Evidence Audio)

6. Evidence Audio Lyric HG guitar cable

The first choice of Gilmour, Beck and Mayer

Specifications

Features: dual solidcore made of refined IGL copper, braided copper shielding and a tough nylon/rubber outer
Connection: 1/4″ phone plug on the input side and a straight plug on the output
Length: 10-20-feet

Reasons to buy

+
Noticeably purer signal path
+
Incredibly robust
+
Expertly crafted

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

There’s a good reason why David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and John Mayer all favor The Lyric – the design features a dual solidcore made of refined IGL copper, delivering a noticeably purer signal path and tone than a stock multi-strand cable. 

By the firm’s admission, the solid-core format means it’s a little stiffer, but with braided copper shielding and a tough nylon/rubber outer, it should be pleasuring your audience’s ears for years to come.

The main downside is the price. We know that the Lyric HG is an incredibly expensive option, but we found during testing that it actually is worth the money. The quality is second to none - and if it's good enough for John Mayer then we won't complain.

Best guitar cables: GLS Audio Tweed Guitar Cable

(Image credit: GLS Audio)

7. GLS Audio Tweed guitar cable

The best guitar cable for vintage enthusiasts

Specifications

Features: Triple-strain relief, oxygen-free copper conductor, oxygen-free copper shielding, conductive PVC shield, plastic conductive carbon shield, approx 125pF/m capacitance, brown or black
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 6-20ft

Reasons to buy

+
Low capacitance
+
Clear and bright tone

Reasons to avoid

-
If tweed ain’t your thing

The list price for these guitar cables at various lengths sits around 60 bucks so there is a whole lot to be saved from ordering from GLS direct. The tweed outer jacket looks great in black, impeccable in brown, and the feel of the GLS Audio Tweed is excellent; it coils nicely, is durable, and for the vintage enthusiast this might be too hard to resist.

The cable is double-shielded and low capacitance, so again it should be quiet enough without choking the high-end. There is no price difference between straight-to-straight and straight-to-right angle formats. 

During testing, we found that this GLS Audio cable delivers a thoroughly accurate and broad-sounding recreation of your tone. For around 60 bucks, the performance is impressive compared to other brands at that price. 

Best guitar cables: Fender Deluxe Series cable

(Image credit: Fender)

8. Fender Deluxe Series Instrument Cable

Wait, Fender makes cables too?

Specifications

Features: 24K gold-plated connectors, 20 AWG 99.99 percent oxygen-free copper conductor, 95 per cent braided oxygen-free copper shielding, molded plugs w/strain relief, yellow or black tweed outer jacket, hook-and-loop cable tie
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/right-angle
Length: 5-25ft

Reasons to buy

+
Good value, lifetime warranty
+
Free cable tie

Reasons to avoid

-
You have money to burn
-
Tweed ain’t your thing

Fender’s Deluxe Series might fly under the radar when it comes to guitar cables, but with a lifetime warranty and excellent construction they offer a high-performance product at a very competitive price.

The custom-molded plugs have strain-relief in-built and make for a solid connection, while the Deluxe Series’ shielding holds its own against more expensive cables when it comes to killing extraneous noise.

They are a beefy 8mm diameter but coil nicely and come with a cable tie to encourage you to look after it. To our ears these are bright and transparent – the 10-foot cable especially – and certainly feel like a cable durable enough for the road. A worthy addition to our best guitar cables buyer's guide.

Best guitar cables: Orange Crush instrument cable

(Image credit: Orange)

9. Orange Crush instrument cable

Bright cables from a British amp giant

Specifications

Features: high-grade oxygen free copper, nickel-plated 1/4-inch jacks, multiple shielding layers
Connection: 1/4″ angles to straight and straight to straight
Length: 10-20-feet

Reasons to buy

+
You’ll never lose one on stage
+
Quality components
+
Range of lengths

Reasons to avoid

-
Too bright for some

The British amp giant has a respected sideline in cables, using high-grade oxygen free copper for improved signal clarity and articulation, nickel-plated 1/4-inch jacks for corrosion resistance, and multiple shielding layers to kill the dreaded crackle and hum of electromagnetic interference.

They might have a citrus finish, but Orange Crush cables are no novelty item, with heavy-duty features including a heat-shrunk outer sleeve that guards the inner cable and terminals from the rigours of the road.

Best guitar cables: PRS Signature Series

(Image credit: PRS)

10. PRS Signature Series guitar cable

The best guitar cable for a 'handmade in London' option

Specifications

Features: Oxygen-free copper core, dual screens of conductive and close-lapped copper, hermetically sealed reed switch connector, silent plugs an option
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 5-25ft

Reasons to buy

+
Handmade, premium quality
+
Pure, bright signal

Reasons to avoid

-
Another skinny cable
-
Hard to find the 5-foot option in stock

Paul Reed Smith swears by these cables, which are handmade in London by Van Damme Cabling, but of course he has to say that. What’s more impressive is Van Damme’s client list, which includes the likes of the Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Abbey Road Studios.

PRS and Van Damme play the exact spec close to their chest, so we can’t say for sure what the capacitance is other than it is “carefully tuned”, but we would interpret that as low, as these are bright, crystal-clear guitar cables that make all the difference in carrying those mids and highs.

They are lightweight, low-diameter, and the option of silent plugs allows for hot-swapping – a 25-foot cable with silent plugs will set you back 90 bucks, which is decent value for a pro-quality, road-worthy cable. There is no crinkling, no hint of microphonic pop, just a pure signal. Which is exactly what you should expect from a premium cable. And there is no extra charge for straight-to-right-angle options.

Best guitar cables: Vox Premium Vintage Coil guitar cable

(Image credit: Vox)

11. Vox Premium Vintage Coil

Channel your inner Hendrix with this vintage-inspired cable

Specifications

Connection: 1x 1/4" straight, 1x 1/4" right-angle jack
Length: 30ft (9m)

Reasons to buy

+
Epic vintage vibe
+
High quality cable
+
Great build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Coiled cables look too funky

For those who want to harness the vintage-inspired aspects of their playing, there's arguably nothing more fitting than a killer coiled guitar cable from the folks at Vox. Although the look of these cables is next-level, they often get their fair share of flack from guitarists and so-called audiophiles, supposedly for their inferior sound quality. This cable from Vox proves those people wrong.

It's all down to the wire which Vox uses when putting together the Premium Vintage Coiled cable. It's made from 99.9% purity oxygen-free copper, which delivers a really tasteful, pronounced mid-range frequency which helps to provide the vintage vibe in droves. 

It's well built, even using two separate shields to improve strength and reduce extra noise and interference. Granted, the look does split opinion – but if you're a player with a vintage urge and want the look, then there's realistically nothing better,

Best guitar cables: Monster Prolink Monster Rock

(Image credit: Monster)
This monster won’t mash

Specifications

Features: Carbon-Infused Polymer, heavy-duty 24k gold connectors, dense braided shield, Duraflex protective jacket
Connection: 1/4” straight-to-straight/-right-angle
Length: 3-21ft

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional shielding 
+
Rugged design and tactile

Reasons to avoid

-
Some might prefer a brighter cable

Here is another favorite, no doubt because the likes of Slash and Zakk Wylde are fans of Monster’s Pro Studio series, but also because these are some of the best guitar cables for build quality. The 24k gold contacts and construction of the signature Monster turbine plugs are a little OTT with the bling, but there’s no denying these are durable cables.

The clever design means that you don’t lose any quick transients or top end, and the dense braided shield ensures that you don’t encounter any unwanted hum or microphonic noise. Even when handling and moving around, the Carbon-Infused Polymer makes sure that you don’t hear it through your amp.

These cables aren’t cheap but they’re not crazy expensive either, when you consider how great they are. If you’re looking for high quality, durable cables, then check them out.

Best guitar cables: Buying advice

Three guitar cable jacks in a row

(Image credit: Future)

How long will the best guitar cables last?

The best guitar cables out there will be durable - if you look after them, you can expect to get a good number of years’ worth of use out of them. When you pay more for a good quality lead, then it’s going to be well made, using quality parts. Things to look out for are the jack plugs and the material used for the actual cable part. Shielding around the core of the cable is good also, as this can help protect from unwanted noise when the cable is moved. 

What is cable capacitance?

The cable can also have an affect on your tone. All cables have a certain capacitance - that is they hold a certain amount of electrical charge. As you might think, you don’t really want a cable to hold charge - you want your signal to flow through it, into your pedals and amp. In this scenario, a higher capacitance can cause a roll off of the higher end frequencies; so essentially you’ll hear less treble in your tone. So, low capacitance cables mean that you get a fuller frequency response. The difference might not be huge, but it’s there. 

What length guitar cable do you need?

When looking for the best guitar cable, it’s also worth buying the shortest length that you can get away with. Like with high capacitance, longer cables can roll off some of your top end. Of course, it’s also worth thinking about the sound of your guitar and amp - you might perhaps want to lose some of those higher treble frequencies, though normally, shorter, low capacitance cables are the way to go. 

How much should you spend on a guitar cable?

Like with many things in life, the more you pay, the better the product you end up with. Cheap budget cables can be alluring when you’re about to part with your cash, but, as the old saying goes - buy cheap, buy twice. Chances are, super budget cables will be noisy, will detract from your tone, and will break much sooner. The best guitar cables will keep the sound of your rig intact and will stand up to the rigours of everyday guitar playing. 

What are guitar cables made of?

Different materials are used by various manufacturers, but copper is usually the core of the cable, and whilst you’ll see gold plated jack plugs on many premium cables, they don’t have much, if any affect on your tone, though they won’t corrode. 

Are guitar cables balanced?

Guitar cables are unbalanced, which means they're very prone to outside interference and microphonic noise. It's partly why we recommend getting good quality cables, particularly where a complex pedalboard is in use.

Guitar leads are mono, sending one copy of your signal along it's length. Because they only send one signal, they pick extraneous noise along the way. A balanced cable sends two copies of your signal, with one inverted to cancel out the noise it picks up along the way.

Unfortunately as guitar players, we cannot use balanced cables as they are typically incompatible with the inputs on our guitar amplifiers. Our amps require a TS connector to work, whereas balanced cables carry a TRS connector.

You'd usually find balanced cables in use with other type of gear like synthesizers, studio monitors, PA systems, microphones, and many more. They're also recommended where you have a cable run of more than 25-feet.

Can guitar cables cause buzz?

This is a difficult one to answer because any component in your signal chain can cause buzz. Even electrical items around your setup can potentially cause buzzing, so while we wouldn't automatically point towards a guitar cable as the source of buzz - it might well be causing the issue.

The best way to detect the source of noise is to test each component individually. It takes time, but is pretty much the only way you'll get to the bottom of any unwanted noise. You may also need to section things off, as buzzing can build up over the course of a couple of pedals or cables. 

Make sure to check any electrical items around where you play too - things like computer monitors or mobile phones - as these can cause unwanted buzzing in your signal chain

How to look after you guitar cables 

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Taking good care of your cables is really important too - there’s no point spending a load of money on the best guitar cables, just to then treat them badly. Coil them properly when they’re not in use, and try to be wary of standing on them (not always easy when playing on small stages). Things like making sure your amp or pedalboard isn’t trapping them might seem an obvious step to take, but this has certainly led to the demise of many cables over time!

Find out more about how we make our recommendations, how we test each of the products in our buyer's guides and our review policy.

Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.

With contributions from