A new guitar cable is probably one of the more boring things to spend your cash on, but it is a fairly crucial purchase. After all, it provides the main connection between your guitar and your amp or pedalboard, so opting for one of the best guitar cables on offer could make a difference to your tone.
As a guitarist, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best sound possible from your gear. Every piece of equipment in your audio signal can have an effect on what you hear coming out of your amp’s speaker, so if there’s a weak link somewhere, then you’re going to notice it. What’s the point in having a great guitar and amp, with a carefully procured selection of pedals only to be let down by cheap, noisy leads? That’s why it’s worth investing in one, or maybe even a few of the best guitar cables.
Cables can have an effect on your tone, as we’ll talk about later, however unreliable, sub-par cables can also introduce unwanted microphonic noise. Plus, they’re more likely to break. The last thing you need when playing live is a cable faulting, then spending half your set time trying to diagnose the problem.
You want cables that you can rely on for quality of sound, and durability which is why we’ve put together this list of the best guitar cables on offer right now.
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Best guitar cables: Our top picks
A great value option is the widely available American Stage cable series from Planet Waves. It’s a favorite for very good reason. It has D’Addario’s patented Geo-Tip connectors so that it fits securely in whatever jack you’ve got. The excellent HelioFused soldering in its connectors will stop them crapping out on you, while the cable is another that doesn’t step on your tone. For the money, these cables are difficult to beat.
There are also some great budget cable options from the likes of Fender and Boss that will serve you well without breaking the bank.
In terms of the best guitar cable around right now, the Mogami Gold Series is hard to beat. Featuring high quality components, a great design, and a selection of lengths, these cables offer excellent sound transfer, with minimal high end loss, no unwanted noise and are rugged and reliable. They even offer a ‘no excuses’ lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
Best guitar cables: Product guide
The Mogami Gold Series guitar cable has an ultra-high density (UHD) spiral shield and conductive polymer sub-shield to help kill noise and 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.
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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.
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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.
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. They’re certainly one of the best guitar cables for the money, but if you want something super fancy, check out their premium range.
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, with crisp highs, tight mids and rich harmonics, 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.
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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Available in all the lengths and all the finishes of braided nylon you could ever want. You want cowprint? Pink? No problem! The SpectraFlex N-Flex takes its name from the addition of Neutrik plugs, and is an incredible, hard-wearing cable that coils well, feels great, and sounds pretty darn transparent.
Those Neutrik plugs will never crap out of you and the SpectraFlex say the precision-engineered one-piece tip ensures you get a nice clean contact and no breakages. This is another you could use in haulage it’s so tough.
The total C-PVC shield coverage kills microphonic interference, making for a super-quiet guitar cable. The frequency response seems pretty even, the tone transparent.
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
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.
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.
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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.
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How to look after you guitar cables
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!