Serious about being excellent at playing the guitar? You need to understand the importance of a guitar cable. Sure, a good guitar cable can help you sound more professional if you think about it. Did you know, though, that a bad guitar cable holds power to make the sound dull and boring? We have compiled this guide to help you choose the best guitar cables for your guitar.
We have completed our research and provided a ready-to-use guide to reduce your work. Are you ready to explore the world of guitar cables?
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Meeting a Guitar Cable
To understand and distinguish between guitar cables, identify the different parts. The anatomy of a guitar cable is fascinating, for one. It plays a crucial role in determining how well it is going to perform. Yes, different manufacturers come up with different designs to fit their brand image. However, the structure itself is common to all guitar cables.
Anatomy of a guitar cable:
A standard cable consists of 6 basic parts:
1. Center Conductor:
It is responsible for carrying the audio signal with the help of an electrical current. Without a center conductor, you will not be able to ensure that your performance takes place without any interruption. It helps to intercept the audio signals and transport them so that the sound can come alive. The center conductor should be able to latch onto signals with ease.
Whenever you are handling any electrical object, you cannot be flippant about its insulation. Insulation helps to contain the current. As a result, both the sound and your body remain unharmed. Good insulation is essential if you want to avoid accidents. It helps keep the current isolated from other parts of the guitar so that there is no unprecedented damage.
3. Electrostatic Shield:
With electronics, it is not unusual to hear a strange handling noise when the machines are working. However, this sound can be very inconvenient when you are trying to play the guitar.
Guitar cables come with an electrostatic shield. It helps lessen the handling noise when a cable is compressed or flexed due to instrument movement. The cables can completely block any electrostatic field. It helps avoid any signal breakthrough and stops the underlying hum.
4. Braided Copper Shield:
When you are playing an instrument, any interruption seems like a problem. You do not want to be disturbed by sounds and interference from other sources when playing the guitar. The braided copper shield helps to protect against just that.
The criss-cross lattice made of shielding conductor strands takes some time to assemble. However, the effort is worth it in the end. It tends to be rather stiff. Don’t worry, though. It has a lot of structural tensile integrity. It prevents the stretching and breaking of the cable. The signal conductor especially can be very sensitive, and the braided copper shield helps to give it adequate protection.
5. Flexible PVC Jacket:
PVC is a material that is known for its durability. The PVC jacket will be durable since it’s resistant to tears and jerks. So with a PVC jacket, you can better protect your guitar cable. Since the jacket is flexible, you will not have to fear your cable every time there is a small tug. PVC jackets also make for easy installation. You can expect your guitar cable to last for quite a while.
6. Rugged Tweed Outer Jacket:
Everyone wants their guitar cables to be strong and sturdy for that additional support. The outer jacket protects all internal parts from damage, so it must be made of sturdy material. The rugged tweed outer jacket helps to give the cable a rather “finished” appearance and protects it from impact.
Now that you know how to build a guitar line, we can continue to explore why it is an essential part of the guitar.
Chapter 2: Why Guitar cable is essential?
You might have heard some guitar players rave about the importance of a guitar cable. They insist that the cable plays a vital role in helping them sound the way they do. If you are a person who has never considered guitar cables a priority, then read on.
Playing an electric guitar comes with its set of pros and cons. You cannot use an electric guitar without an amplifier. While that is an added responsibility, it also helps your music sound all the more impactful. To connect your guitar to an amplifier, you have to use an electric cable to get the desired effect. A good and strong connection will ensure that the sound coming from the amplifier is cohesive and clear. Unless you have access to wireless connectivity, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of guitar cables.
If the cable connects the guitar and the amplifier well, it will also help your voice sound better. Sometimes, your voice can sound booming and distorted with a bad cable, which automatically takes away some of your charms. Weak guitar cables are also incapable of providing a continuous connection. When your guitar and amplifier disconnect even for a minute, the sound stops. The spell over the audience is broken. On the other hand, an efficient guitar cable ensures you don’t have to worry about hiccups.
Chapter 3: How to choose the best guitar cable?
Choosing a guitar cable can be tough, especially if you are a newbie. There are many options on the market, and you will likely get confused about which one to get. Your guitar needs that extra bit of love, so you should go all the way when searching for the perfect guitar cable. Following some pointers can reduce your work.
A Guitar cable essentially has seven key features which affect its performance. So it would help if you considered them when you are making your final choice. It should satisfy all your requirements.
3.1 Length and Capacitance for a guitar cable
A guitar cable is hardly more than 25ft-in-length because instrument cables tend to get noisier with the increase in length. The signal-to-noise ratio becomes too poor by the time it reaches your amp/audio interface. Short cables hence give you the cleanest sounds. However, you do not have a specific length required. If you are looking for it, high-end brands will even offer cables longer than 25 feet. They use premium parts that allow the sound to be clean and quiet irrespective of the length.
The theory is that the shorter the distance your guitar signal travels, the better the signal transparency will be. Avoid high-frequency loss so that you can get that clear tone when you are playing and singing at the same time.
However, there is one more way to look at the situation. I low capacitance and clarity are not your priority, you will have a wider range of choices. Some of the best records available today were made using old cable technology. Some guitar players like their music to have that subtle damped quality which is provided by certain cables.
3.2 Conductor material for a guitar cable
The conductor material is an important consideration. For one, it determines the flow of the electric current. You might have heard of Oxygen Free Copper or OFC, which is considered a purer version of copper. Many manufacturers like to use OFC. The purity of the conductor is directly proportional to the transparency of the signal transfer. You will be able to catch a difference in the sounds created using OFC and copper cables when you listen to music. Some cables also have silver conductors, and silver is an even better conductor than copper.
There are two ways to use conductors in a cable. Solid conductors are prone to breakage, which results in signal degradation. You might find that the sound is completely gone too. On the other hand, stranded conductors are more flexible. Thus, it allows them to deliver better signal transfer even when the cable is stretched. Smaller strands allow even more flexibility which is why most premium cables use that technique. In this case, the material used to make the conductor also differs in how the two kinds of designs work. We will discuss this further in the next category.
3.3 Conductor design for a guitar cable
As mentioned before, the conductors in guitar cables are usually of two standard designs. Solid conductors tend to be cheaper. They are also easier to solder. Manufacturers who want to make low-budget guitar cables like to use this design. However, the main problem with these cables is that they can break and snap very easily. Stranded conductors are meant to be sturdy but flexible at the same time. However, you will have to shell out some extra money if you want to for the stranded options.
Solid conductors have one single wire, but stranded conductors are made using multiple strands of conductor threads. They are twisted together to make one solid center. You can measure the gauge of copper strands with the help of the standard industry unit AWG.
For stranded guitar cables, some manufacturers like to give a coating over each strand to be easier to use. However, it causes the ‘skin effect,’ which might be a problem for many players.
3.4 Plug Joint- connector quality for a guitar cable
It would help if you were careful about the part where the cable is connected to the plug. Premium cables have better soldering, which helps strengthen the connection. Some cables also come with solderless joints. It would help if you also considered strain relief so that your cable can withstand improper bending at the joint. However, most cables are unable to survive sudden pulls.
You can either use straight or angled plugs, depending on the instrument you have. Most guitars, amps, and pedals are compatible with straight plugs, but they can be intrusive. On the other hand, angled plugs allow for better positioning of the cable. It works well for top-mounted output jacks but is incompatible with outputs that are constructed or recessed. You can choose the plug based on your style of playing and preferences.
3.5 Shielding for a guitar cable
Shielding helps to block out interference when you are playing the guitar. Since guitar cables are “unbalanced,” they do not come with noise cancellation provisions. They are vulnerable to radio frequencies and magnetic fields. However, you can avoid this interference using one of these three methods of shielding:
- Braided shielding: This is the most expensive option, but for a good reason. It offers maximum strength and prevents interference from both EMI and RFI.
- Serve to shield: This is a less expensive option but comes with better flexibility. It also gives excellent shielding features.
- Foil shielding: If you don’t have a high budget, then this is a choice. It is not very durable and is incapable of giving you excellent protection.
You can also reduce ground-loop hum by simply using these two tips:
- Do not run the cable parallel to extension cords or AC power cables.
- Do not coil up the excess cable length and keep it beside your amp.
3.6 Electrostatic shielding for a guitar cable
Have you ever used cheap guitar cables? You will know that there is a crackling sound that occurs whenever you move the guitar even an inch. The generation of static electricity is the reason for this phenomenon. The friction between the copper shield and the insulations leads to an annoying sound.
Manufacturers have begun to insert an electrostatic shield to discharge any static build-up. They either use Dacron or Conductive PVC to make the shield. The former acts as a “noise-reducing tape,” while the latter offers better conductivity and is more flexible.
3.7 Insulation material for a guitar cable
You should know that capacitance is created when two materials carrying electric current get divided by an electrical barrier. The value of the capacitor should be low to allow a better high-frequency response. It also helps to reduce triboelectric noise. Materials like polyethylene and other thermoplastics are commonly used for cable insulation. High-end cables also have special polymers.
Chapter 4: Where to buy custom guitar cable?
Sometimes the customization is the best option. If you customize your guitar cable, then you will not have anything to worry about anymore. You can buy from us directly. Once you contact us, we will help you in every way we can.
A daughter company of OurPCB Co. Ltd, Cloom provides excellent wire harness services. We cover Electronics wiring harness, Signal wiring harness, Power cable, and more. We will assemble and custom design your cable according to your instruction. Then, ensure that it reaches you on time by using the most efficient delivery route.
Cloom Cable supplies custom cable assemblies. With us, you can be sure that your idea will find a form. Our team can turn any design into a workable harness so that our customers are happy and satisfied. We partner with bigger companies offering a regular supply of custom cable or wire harness assemblies.
Our features include:
- We only use original or equivalent parts.
- We have offshore manufacturing facilities.
- The company also offers domestic molding.
- You can avail our custom tooling feature.
- We are prepared for both large and small volume production.
The accepts individual orders, too, paying close attention to every cable that we manufacture. We know our customers deserve nothing but the best. Want us to customize your guitar cable? We will ensure that the resulting production matches your description perfectly. We can deliver both large and small quantity orders without any problem. Our specialty services help us to build fully molded cables. Since we have been in the industry for a long time, our expertise is unmatched. We make all our products undergo thorough quality-checking before they are shipped off to you.
We understand how essential guitar cables are for players. The promise to deliver your dream guitar cable to you.
The above guide will help you know the guitar cables better. Narrow down your requirements with. Make your guitar get the best performance. Give it the gift of a custom-fit cable. With our customer-centric services, you stay in the loop at all times.
Have we helped you figure out how you would want your customized guitar cable to be? Please get in touch with us, and we will love to take it forward.