With the allure of guitars, amps, and pedals it might be easy to overlook the importance of a good guitar cable. But guitar cables, or a 1/4″ cable, are one of the most important cables in the music world. They’re with you from the practice room to the stage, and can be used for varying instruments and purposes. So whether you are a novice guitarist who is starting to collect equipment or a seasoned player looking to add to your arsenal – consider this your guide to the best guitar cables.
We consider a good guitar cable to be one that plays as true to your guitar’s sound as possible, is sturdy and reliable, and one that limits hum or buzz as much as possible. With those traits in mind, below we’ve listed the best guitar cables on the market.
The most notable ‘shields’ are a braided shield, a spiral-wrapped shield, and a foil shield. With out getting too technical each one has their benefits and drawbacks. A braided shield does extremely well with protection from interference, but has limited flexibility (and in turn open to breaks), and is more expensive because of the production process. A spiral-wrapped shield is used often by musicians because it can take a lot of punishment. It is extremely flexible and cost-effective, but at times can suffer from interference. Finally, a foil shield is very cheap, but very limited in flexibility and easily broken.
Reliability/Durability: The sum of several different parts, reliability and durability are one of the most important factors in purchasing a guitar cable. Even if you’re careful, your cable will still be stepped on, pulled, twisted, and yanked. We break down the durability and reliability of each cable in our review section.
Length: Length might not necessarily matter when you’re practicing, but it certainly does when you’re performing. If you get a cable that’s too short you’ll not only stretch out the cable, but you’ll also put strain on your guitar’s jack input. Get a cable that’s too long and you can decay the signal – and in turn lower your sound’s quality.
Guitar cables come in all sizes, but the most typical sizes range between 10ft-25ft. We recommend sticking with a 15 or 20 foot cable to optimize reach and sound quality.
Warranty: Warranties can be a nice added touch, but just remember – it’s important to get a tough, reliable cable in stead of relying on a warranty. A warranty may get you a new cable, but it won’t do anything for you if your cable breaks onstage.
Price: As with most things, you pay for what you get. You can’t expect a $10 cable to compete with more expensive models. With that said, some of the best cables are around the $40-$50 mark, which isn’t so bad for something that you have to rely on so much.
The Best Guitar Cables
Mogami makes some of the most premium cables around. So if you’re looking for a cable that is super silent and brings out the tones of your guitar with clarity and consistency, then Mogami Gold is for you.
Despite being higher priced, we found the price tag to be justified because these will literally last a lifetime, and if they don’t – it comes with a lifetime warranty.
As a footnote, the Mogami Gold is a part of a series of cables from Mogami. The cheapest being Mogami Silver and the most expensive being Mogami Platinum. In the middle, we felt the Mogami Gold was the perfect balance of quality vs. price point.
George L’s .155
You may not have heard of George Lewis, but him and his family-owned business have been making guitar cables for over 30 years now.
The .155 does a fantastic job of limiting noise and despite its lightweight you can really tell this is a high quality cable. Another neat feature about George L’s line of cables is they are customizable. Since the cables contain no soldering whatsoever, you can screw on different regular or right-angle plugs, or change the color and size of the cable. A unique feature to keep in mind if a piece breaks on the .155 – you won’t need to buy a new chord, only replace a small piece.
Pros: Good shielding
Length: 21 ft.
With copper braided shields, strong build, and an insanely good lifetime warranty – it’s easy to see why the Monster Rock cable is as loved as it is.
95% copper shields and 24 kt gold connectors are just a few of the features that contribute to a silent and sturdy cable. If you do happen to beat the monster cable into oblivion, their lifetime warranty has your back – no questions asked.
The only criticism of the Monster Rock we would make is its price to sound quality comparison of other high priced cables. For example, the Mogami Gold cable is at a similar price-point of the Monster Rock, yet the Mogami Gold has a noticeably superior sound reproduction
Van Damme PRS
Pros: Sound quality
Length: 18 ft.
When Coldplay, the Foo Fighters, and the Eurythmics use a cable – you know it’s good.
You may have heard of PRS (Paul Reed Smith) before, but if you haven’t – PRS has been manufacturing high end guitars since the early 80’s. Now, they’ve teamed up with Van Damme cabling (also known for high quality products) and together have really made something special.
The Van Damme PRS does an incredible job of transferring your guitar’s unaltered sound – giving you the exact tone you’re trying to achieve. Furthermore, the cable also comes with a ‘silent’ feature, which completely eliminates any pops or hums while plugging in your guitar.
The Van Damme PRS is truly the cable of professionals.
Cons: Vulnerable to kinking
The Spectraflex Vintage is a reliable, clear-sounding cable made in the U.S.A.
Good wiring, zero noise, and a neat ‘vintage’ look give the Vintage a quality feel. In addition, we felt the flexibility of the Vintage was good, and actually somewhat surprising considering it’s super low noise.
We aren’t really sold that the gold-plated fittings alter the sound very much, but if you have a great sounding cable why not look great too?
All in all a win from Spectraflex.
Cons: Only comes in 10 ft.
The Red Dragon is a high quality, budget friendly cable that has been gaining in popularity despite Amboz being new to the cable world.
We were honestly shocked at the clarity and build quality of the Red Dragon at such a low price point. Oxygen free copper core, hand soldered connectors, and great flexibility put the Red Dragon at the TOP of the budget-friendly cables.
Worth noting, the Red Dragon is currently only available in 10 ft. right now, but Amboz plans on releasing 15 ft. and 25 ft. cables soon.