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Published Sep. 21, 2021

The best guitar cables on the market take a relatively simple design and add sturdy features to ensure durability and reliability over a range of uses from the stage to the studio. Consisting of varying lengths of copper wire, guitar cables would function very similarly to an antenna if not for the extensive electromagnetic shielding included in their designs. Because of their critical nature in the signal chain, the quality of materials and parts used in a guitar cable is key to ensuring the best performance possible. Whether you’re looking for the best patch cables for your pedalboard, a tangle-free cable for your rehearsal space, or a wireless system for uninhibited playing, this list of the best guitar cables on the market has you covered for your next musical endeavor.

How We Picked These Products

Methodology

Guitar cables are relatively simple in their designs, but they can vary widely in performance depending on the materials used and the manufacturer’s attention to quality control. As an audio engineer, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist, I have decades of experience with guitars. Here are a few key factors I considered when compiling this list:

  • Durability: Resistance to damage is an incredibly important factor when considering cable options. Maintaining a reliable connection is critical for sound quality If a cable’s construction can’t endure the rigors of everyday use, it’s not on this list.
  • Shielding: Each of the cables on this list contains internal shielding, an essential construction feature that blocks electrical interference. Without it, cables can function as antennae, picking up radio and other types of electromagnetic signals that have no business being in your audio.
  • Design: Traditional cable designs excel in almost every musical scenario, and they’re represented on this list. I also included a wireless cable system as well as a custom patch cable kit, which are useful alternatives that are suited for some scenarios.

The Best Guitar Cables: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Guitar Cable Overall: Mogami Gold INST Silent S-10

Pop-Free Performance

This top-of-the-line noiseless guitar cable is built to last. Mogami

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Why It Made The Cut: High-quality construction and a noiseless plug make this one of the most useful and reliable guitar cables available on the market.

Specs: 

  • Length: 10 feet
  • Connector Type: 2 x 1/4-inch TS
  • Shielded: Yes

Pros:

  • Features a silent plug for making live connections without noise
  • High-density shielding offers great protection from interference
  • Anti-static layer eliminates handling noise

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Longer versions of the cable cost significantly more

The Silent S-10 instrument cable from premium audio manufacturer Mogami is a top-shelf option that packs clear sound and durable construction into a design that eliminates most of the traditional shortcomings of standard instrument cables. It features numerous layers of high-density internal shielding that blocks RF and EMI interference that might otherwise obscure audio signals, and it features an anti-static core that eliminates all handling noise. In spite of its complex inner construction, the cable remains flexible and light enough to fare well in performance settings.

The Silent S-10’s hallmark feature is a Neutrik silentPLUG on one of the cable’s ends that allows users to connect and disconnect the cable without the need to mute their system. Unlike traditional cables that create loud popping or buzzing noises when connected to or disconnected from a live circuit, the Silent S-10 passes no signal unless the cable is fully connected and thus creates no disruptive noise. This makes the cable a useful tool for quickly swapping instruments and for situations where a cable might become disconnected by mistake.

The most obvious drawback to the Silent S-10 is its price point; it costs roughly three to four times that of the average traditional cable. If you require a longer cable, the price goes up even further. When considering the cost of this cable, its premium construction and overall reliability make it a viable alternative to purchasing multiple cables of lesser quality, but it still may be out of reach for some users. For those looking for a happy medium, the Mogami Gold Instrument series of cables feature the same high-quality construction without the noiseless plug feature at a savings of 20 to 30 percent.

Best Guitar Patch Cable: Kurrent Electric Patch Cable Kit

Custom Sizes

This convenient DIY kit of six low-profile cables is a useful and flexible alternative to premade patch cables. Kurrent Electric

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Why It Made The Cut: This easy-to-build patch cable kit is more versatile than pre-made designs thanks to customizable lengths, low-profile connectors, and space-saving wire.

Specs:

  • Length: 12 feet total
  • Connector Type: 12 x 1/4-inch TS (straight or right-angled)
  • Shielded: Yes

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble; all parts and tools included
  • Customizable lengths for every pedalboard
  • Low-profile jacks and thin cable save space

Cons:

  • Assembly required
  • Low-profile jacks are sometimes difficult to grip and disconnect

This patch cable kit from Kurrent Electric is incredibly easy to assemble, infinitely customizable, and includes 12 connectors for building a total of six patch cables. Unlike premade patch cables, which can be thick, bulky, and inflexible in the context of a cramped pedalboard, these patch cables feature thin wire and low-profile connectors that take up hardly any space. The kit includes a wire cutter and a 12-foot length of instrument cable, allowing users to create patch cables of custom lengths for a variety of pedalboard configurations and arrangements.

The assembly process is fairly straightforward, requiring users to firmly insert the bare wire ends into the plug, which automatically pierces the core of the wire as it enters. To secure the wire, a low-profile end cap is attached via a screw, which pierces the shielding of the wire upon entry completes the circuit. No soldering or knowledge of electronics is required to assemble these patch cables—users only need to know their way around an instruction sheet, wire cutters, and a screwdriver.

While these patch cables are more versatile and flexible than premade options, they won’t appeal to users who don’t want to bother with assembly or don’t have the time. In these cases, the Lil’ Pigs set of four six-inch patch cables from Pig Hog is a good alternative to this kit. Users who pick up this patch cable kit should also note that while the low-profile connectors save space, their small nature combined with the thinner cable makes them harder to grip when disconnecting from pedals.

Best Coiled Guitar Cable: Ernie Ball 30-Foot Coiled Guitar Cable

Heavy-Duty

Go with a coiled cable and never worry about time-consuming untangling. Ernie Ball

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Why It Made The Cut: This heavy-duty cable features a generous length and coiled construction to resist tangling, making it a good choice for use on stage and at home.

Specs: 

  • Length: 30 feet (uncoiled)
  • Connector Type: 1 x 1/4-inch TS, 1 x 1/4-inch TS (right-angled)
  • Shielded: Yes

Pros:

  • 30-foot length for extended mobility
  • Resists tangling unlike traditional cables
  • Heavy-duty construction

Cons:

  • Heavier and denser than others; weighs down guitars
  • Longer cable has higher capacitance, affecting tone slightly

Guitar players who are tired of stepping on their cables or getting them tangled in knots will appreciate the rugged and resilient design of this 30-foot coiled cable from Ernie Ball. Available in white and black rubber variants, the internal construction of the cable features dual shielding for good resistance to interference, while the cable’s outer shell casing offers durability and holds its coiled shape. Unlike standard cables, which easily tangle over the course of everyday use, this coiled design resists tangling and sits neatly on the floor while in use.

The cable measures 30 feet long when fully uncoiled, so its practical length is slightly less. Its coils are densely packed together, so this cable is much heavier than traditional designs. Some users may find the way this cable pulls down on guitars to be uncomfortable, but this shouldn’t be a big issue except perhaps for players standing for long periods or playing a significantly light guitar. Some may also experience a slight high-frequency roll-off in their sound when using this cable, which is a fairly common effect resulting from the increased capacitance of longer cable runs.

Best Wireless Guitar Cable: Xvive U2 Guitar Wireless System

Your Guitar, Unplugged

Ditch traditional cables and enjoy freedom of movement while playing. Xvive

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Why It Made The Cut: The Xvive U2 system eliminates the mess of cables entirely and allows players to go fully wireless with very little setup required.

Specs: 

  • Length: 70-foot range (line-of-sight)
  • Connector Type: 2 x 1/4-inch TS
  • Shielded: N/A

Pros:

  • Charges via USB
  • 70 feet of wireless instrument connectivity
  • Plug-and-play functionality; no setup required

Cons:

  • Battery life is limited to 7 hours at most
  • Introduces slight latency in signal, unlike regular cables

Though it’s not a cable per se, this wireless guitar system from Xvive performs all the duties of a standard guitar cable without any of the usual tangling or encumberment of traditional designs. Comprised of two compact units featuring 220-degree rotating plugs, the Xvive U2 uses a 2.4-gigahertz wireless band to offer low-latency signal transmission at distances of up to 70 feet. If you’re looking for a sustainable option for live performances and rehearsals that eliminates the inconveniences of traditional cables, this system allows for freedom of movement and easy setup. Users can get started with the Xvive U2 by simply plugging in the receivers to their respective guitar or amplifier, powering the units on, and pairing them by long-pressing the signal keys.

The transmitters offer roughly seven hours of play time on a full charge, and they can be recharged via an included USB cable. While this is a substantial amount of time for normal performance and rehearsal use, frequent users will need to adjust their routine to ensure that the unit stays charged and ready for use. Also of note is that most wireless systems introduce slight delay and latency to audio signals, and this unit is no exception. Its advertised latency of 4.5 milliseconds is manageable, but it does require some adjustment to your playing style if you want to keep good timing.

Best Value Guitar Cable: Pig Hog PCH10PLR 10-Foot Guitar Cable

Solid Connectors

Pig Hog constructs cables with durability and interference resistance for players on a budget. Pig Hog

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Why It Made The Cut: This budget cable features high-fidelity features like shielding and gold contacts wrapped in a stylish woven jacket.

Specs: 

  • Length: 10 feet
  • Connector Type: 1 x 1/4-inch TS, 1 x 1/4-inch TS (right-angled)
  • Shielded: Yes

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Distinct jacket offers easy visibility
  • Gold-plated connectors

Cons:

  • Fabric wrap is stiff and lends itself to tangling
  • Average thickness and shielding

If you’re working on a budget, Pig Hog makes some of the best value cables on the market. This guitar cable features gold-plated contacts for reliable connectivity, and a colorful woven jacket that makes it easy to spot in a sea of other cables. It’s constructed with a decent amount of internal shielding with 90 percent coverage. While it’s advertised as a heavy-duty cable and it can certainly hold its own in performance settings, this instrument cable has a gauge of 20 AWG, which places it in the realm of average thickness. Still, its unique fabric jacket helps it resist the kinks and damage that might otherwise befall a jacket that’s made purely of rubber.

One thing to keep in mind with this cable is the rigidity that its woven jacket creates. The grain of the fabric resists flexing to the point where it can begin to twist into a corkscrew if it’s subjected to enough movement. This rigidity requires frequent resetting and coiling to prevent such twisting, which can lower the lifespan of a cable over time. For the price, though, the Pig Hog is still a fantastic option, especially if you’ll be using it in a low-movement setting.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Guitar Cable

Tangling

Cables are incredibly prone to tangling over the course of normal use, so some users may prefer a design that resists tangling and tripping. Coiled cables like the Ernie Ball 30-Foot Coiled Cable are dense and heavy, but they resist tangling very well and are easier to see, minimizing the potential tripping hazard. For players who want to do away with cables entirely, the Xvive U2 Guitar System offers low-latency wireless playing at an impressive range of up to 70 feet.

Use of Pedalboard

Pedalboard cables, or patch cables, are short lengths of instrument cable that are perfectly-sized for use over the short distances between effects pedals. Patch cables typically feature right-angle plugs to save space, and they’re available in different lengths and gauges to accommodate a variety of pedalboard configurations. For full control over the lengths of your patch cables, an easy-to-use kit like the Kurrent Electric Solderless Cable Kit is one of the best patch cable options on the market, but if you want to skip the work, this set from Pig Hog is a good option too.

Length

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s important to pick cables of the proper length for your intended use. A longer cable in the 25-foot range is a good choice for onstage applications and provides players with some freedom of movement, but the same cable may be prone to tangling and messiness in a small indoor practice space. Generally speaking, 10-foot cables are perfect for playing at home, while cables 20 feet and longer are better suited for rehearsals and performances.

FAQs

Q:

Do guitar cables work for all guitars?

Instrument cable connectors are universal, so all guitar cables will work with all electric guitars. Some acoustic guitar designs don’t have a cable output, and they’ll need either a microphone or a pickup like the Seymour Duncan Woody HC to amplify your signal.

Q:

Do cheap guitar cables affect tone?

Cheaply-made guitar cables often lack the proper shielding and attention to detail required to effectively block electromagnetic interference. Opting for a cheap cable can create a host of noise and tone issues, and if it’s too flimsy, it may cut out intermittently or entirely during use.

Q:

What cable did Jimi Hendrix use?

Jimi Hendrix used a standard coiled cable of unknown origin. While there’s nothing special about coiled cables apart from their resistance to tangling, their increased length does introduce some tone changes that some users may find desirable.

Q:

Are thicker guitar cables better?

Thicker cables aren’t necessarily better—they’re just thicker. While they may be more resistant to kinks and tangling than thin cables, thicker cables are heavier and bulkier, making them cumbersome for most playing scenarios.

Final Thoughts

For a top-shelf user experience and reliability you can count on, the noiseless Mogami S-10 is the best guitar cable you can buy right now. For pedalboard users, the low-profile Kurrent Electric Patch Cable Kit offers one of the best patch cable experiences available and allows custom lengths. Users who prefer a tangle-free cable experience should consider either the Ernie Ball Coiled Cable or look into going fully wireless with the Xvive U2 Wireless Guitar System.

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