Cable Criteria

The most important factors to consider when choosing a guitar cable:

  1. Plug: S (straight) or L (right-angle)? Depending on the jack of the guitar, this makes a big difference. The wrong plug could wind up being destroyed or destroying the guitar, or might not even fit in the jack of your Strat or Tele.
  2. Length: Are you going to play on a big stage or in a small room?  Getting tangled up in long cables can be  a nuisance and bad for the cables, too. This is why I avoid the curly variety, as cool as they look. +/- 3 meters is a good rule of thumb for me.
  3. COST: Never pay more than $25 for a cable unless it looks really cool. (see below)
  4. Color: Choose a color that matches your guitar or clothes; preferably both.This applies to the plugs, too. For example, if you have an Ibanez GB-10 with brass hardware, it might be worth it to get that Monster Jazz cable. It was worth it for me, until it suddenly died. (see #3) Or maybe you want something that stands out on stage, or is color coded to help you organize your signal flow. Aesthetics can be useful, even if you aren’t a fashionista.
  5. Capacitance: NOT.  I couldn’t care less about it because the fact is that elements beyond your control like old strings, the sound of the room and even the density of air can all  rob your sound of high-frequencies.”All the more reason to get an expensive cable to preserve it!” says the cable maker, ignoring the fact that your electric guitar probably already has at least one capacitor inside (that’s a component that induces capacitance, as you might have guessed). That capacitor is there to reduce high frequencies, which is exactly what the opposite of what the expensive cable is supposed to be doing. So instead of buying a $60 cable, why not just replace the capacitor in your guitar with a lower value which would cost you a small fraction of a high-end cable?  If the guitar sounds too bright, you can rotate the tone-knob to tame the brightness, just like you do t0 the lights in your house with a dimmer when you feel like makin’ love. That’s what the capacitor-driven tone-control is there to do for you. Use it to loose it. (or get a cheap cable to do it for you if you’re really lazy.) Seriously, fuck capacitance. Worry about the sound of your picking technique instead.


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