Sure a cable is one of the minor accessories you think about. But it becomes all too important when you start hearing pops and background noise emitting from your amp. There are a number of things to look for in a guitar cable, but what is the best guitar cable? We’ll take a look at 5 of the best. Ready? Let’s go!
Why Are Good Cables Important?
If you don’t invest in decent guitar cables you can run into a myriad of problems when plugged in. One of the most serious is background noise. That might be hiss or hum, but what ever it is it’ll significantly impact the sound quality. You need cables made of the right materials to eliminate background noise. The build quality is another important feature. Cables get scuffed and trodden on, especially when playing live. In order to mitigate against damage to the cable you need it to be constructed with this in mind.
Braided construction covers the cable thereby protecting it from scrapes and scuffs. This can also help with another common problem, tangling. Cables love to get tangled, it’s just what they do. I used to carry my cables in a box and no matter how well I’d stored them they’d always come out tangled. That was really annoying when setting up for a gig. They’d also tangle on stage. Braided cables tend to mitigate against tangling quite well, it’s a shame I only had one braided cable at the time!
Another thing is the jack construction. You might have a braided cable, with gold plated connectors, but if the connector doesn’t secure properly you’re going to have problems. It’s not unheard of for cables to drop out of jack sockets mid-performance. You’ll want to ensure that the fitting is good to avoid that particularly embarrassing and annoying pitfall. Now we know what to look for, here are five of the best cables available right now.
Ernie Ball 3m Braided Cable
Ernie Ball has long been synonymous with quality. Their range of cables is no exception. I picked this cable for it’s all-round quality. It’s a decent length, 3 meters (10 feet) should be enough for any practice scenario or for a small stage. The cable has a braided sleeve, which helps to protect against abrasion. It also prevents the cable from getting easily tangled.
The cable has dual conductors to reduce background noise and hiss, which it appears to do very well. Everything is well built and the connectors are fitted securely, so it won’t slip out of the jack easily. The connectors were manufactured 99.95% oxygen free to reduce the risk of corrosion Ultimately that means top performance for longer. The cable also includes a warranty.
The cable also has some practical features. There’s a cable tidy included to help with storage. No more coiling the cable around your hand and using a piece of tape to keep it together! The coloring of the cable makes it stand out, great for a darkened stage or for when you just want to make sure the bassist doesn’t steal your best cable. We’ve all been there! The cable is slightly more expensive than the others, but it’s the all-round star performer.
Fender Original Series 3m, 4.5m, 5.5m and 10m Cable
If you’re not too worried about a braided sleeve for protection and just want a slim and stylish cable, the Fender is for you. It’s available in a number of colors from Daphne Blue to Fiesta Red. The Surf Green (pictured) looks good on my Strat! This cable comes in a variety of lengths from 3 meters to 10 meters, so you can play even the biggest of stages.
The nickel plated connectors ensure a quality connection with no background hum or hiss. Fender are pretty confident about this cable, so they offer a lifetime guarantee! The cable is very slim so great for storage. The missing braided sleeve means it’s prone to tangling, which will be a particular problem with the longer lengths. The slim design makes me worry that inevitable abrasions might easily damage the cable. That being said if you want a stylish cable at a good price this is the one for you.
Anpro 3m Guitar Lead
The Anpro is another 3 meter cable featuring a braided outer sleeve. The anti-interference connectors make for a clean connection without hiss, hum or buzz. Anpro boast that the cable is made of 99% oxygen free copper, which prevents corrosion. The braided sleeve helps to protect the cable against scrapes, scuffs and other damage. The L-shaped connector is particularly useful for those whose jack input is on the bottom of the guitar.
The cable comes with a 3-month warranty. It might remain stiff for a while when new, but it’ll loosen up after some usage. Although not as bright as some of the other cables, it should still stand out as unique in a dark environment. There’s a rubber sleeve between the braiding and the connectors to protect from fraying too. That’s a nice practical feature. The cable comes in a resealable bag, good for storage if you’re disciplined enough to store it properly!
Yellow Braided 3m Cable
No doubt about it, this is a bright cable! Perhaps that’s not the most important feature, but it certainly is the most striking. Available in either pink or yellow, this 3 meter braided cable certainly won’t get lost on stage. Unless all your cables are yellow I guess? Anyway, the cable is sturdily built and the jacks secure properly. It’ll put up with the rigors of stage use. Each cable is hand tested to ensure there’s no background noise or interference.
There’s a retro feel to this cable. The yellow would fit in well with a tweed amp at one end and a telecaster at the other. The braided sleeve protects the cable from damage and it appears to to resist the urge to tangle very well. The jacks aren’t the best quality, but there’s no background noise and they secure properly. Other than that the cable is very well built and tough enough for the long run.
OTraki 3m Braided Cable – 2 Pack
Last but by no means least is the Otraki 3 meter braided cable. Actually cables because it’s a 2-pack. They’re also available in a 1 meter length if you want to connect up cabinets. The cables are braided to protect against damage and appear to resist getting tangled well. Their heavy duty construction makes them tough enough to use on stage. Styling wise they look a little industrial, like the old fibre internet cables you used to get. But if you just want a sturdy cable that’ll do the job then industrial will do I guess.
The connectors are gold plated for better conductivity. The connection is secure and there doesn’t appear to be any background noise. A spring between the tweed sleeve and the connector protects from fraying. My experience with spring type protectors tells me that they inevitably come off after extensive use. Considering you get two cables at around the same price point as the others these cables are actually punching above their weight.
Guitar cables are one of the last things we think about when getting started. Actually, even seasoned players don’t pay that much heed in general. But if you have poor cables you going to get a bad output from your amp or PA system. We’ve taken a look at 5 guitar cables, all which are very good quality and will serve you in any environment. If I was to split hairs and pick a favorite, it’d have to be the Ernie Ball. Overall I think it’s the best quality for a decent price.
If you you’re a new guitarists and stumbled across this article then make sure to check out my post about the best accessories for guitarists. Or my post on the best electric guitars for beginners. I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below, or alternatively get in touch using my contact page. Please share this post with anyone who you think might find it useful. As always, happy strumming!
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you click a link on this page it may go to Amazon or another supplier with whom I have an affiliate relationship. This won’t increase the price you pay. I don’t recommend any product that I haven’t used myself or thoroughly researched.