Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Guitar Cable

Not all guitar cables are the same, so make sure you find one that won’t leave you sounding out of tune.

Guitar cables
Guitar cables aren’t terribly fancy, but it’s still not something you want to purchase cheap.New Bee

When your Santana signature PRS guitar sounds like, well, kaka, it’s probably not the guitar. After considering the possibilities of taking lessons and really practicing, consider whether swapping out your guitar cable could help. Amazingly, lots of folks think a cable’s just a cable but, brothers and sisters, that’s just not so. Read on for three important things to consider when choosing a cable to enhance your sound.

Capacitance

GLS Audio 20 Foot Guitar Instrument Cable
This cable has a pF rating of 38, indicating a balanced, mid-range sound.GLS Audio

The pF rating of your cable measures capacitance. Capacitance affects EQ, with lower ratings (20-30 pF) resulting in higher range EQ, and inversely a higher pF sonically boosting the lower end. Your preferred pF is a personal thing and part of the sound you create. It will matter more in studio work than with a live band with all the sonic interference competing with your guitar, but it still matters, and its driven by your cable.

Cable Length

Fender Performance Series Instrument Cables
This cable is available in five to 25-foot lengths.Fender

The length of the cable between guitar and amp or pedalboard matters because the longer the cord the greater the capacitance and the duller the tone. The higher the quality of the cable, the longer it can be without affecting the sound. As a rule, shorter is better.

Material Quality

Guitar Cable 10ft New bee Electric Instrument Cable Bass AMP Cord
This cable is constructed with a 22-gauge oxygen-free copper center for high conductivity, and double-shielded with copper insulation to minimize interference.New bee

The best cables are shielded and sheathed copper, with plugs using highly conductive brass or silver. Jacks should fit tightly and not be easily pulled out. Construction care should be obvious at all connection points, whether soldered or solderless.

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