The Best Guitar / Instrument Cables

The Highest Rated Guitar Cables

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By being quiet and reliable, good guitar cables make it seem that you sound better. But the truth is, you only seem to sound better because they do away with tone coloration and distracting noise. As such, don't waste the potential of your guitar gear and playing technique by using low quality cables.

Here we look at the highest rated guitar cables on the market, based on our analysis of the most recent reviews, ratings and recommendations. For this 2019 update, the list remained largely the same, with the main difference being the inclusion of the Mogami Platinum cable, a premium guitar cable with 100% coverage shielding.

NB: We also have a guide to Wireless Guitar Systems that free you up from being tied to your amp on stage.

The Best Guitar / Instrument Cables

Musician's Gear Tweed Guitar Cable

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$16
Musician's Gear Tweed Instrument Guitar Cable

There's nothing out of the ordinary with this cable, rather it follows tried and tested designs and sticks with them well enough to top others in terms of sales and review ratings. It features standard 20 AWG OFC conductor wrapped in braided copper shielding, while the gold-tipped metal plugs are protected by heatshrunk tubing that alleviates strain on the solder connections. However, what seems to have captured most users attention is its vintage style flecked tweed wrap.

Features:

  • 20 AWG OFC
  • Braided Copper Shielding
  • Heatshrunk heavy duty tubing for strain relief
  • Gold-tipped metal plugs
  • Length: 10'
  • Available Lengths: 10' | 20'
  • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled

Pros

From practice, to regular gigs, and even for weekly church use, this cable continues to satisfy users of different backgrounds and musical styles. Value for money remains its main selling point, but it also gets a lot of kudos for its nice appearance, even guitarists who play expensive vintage instruments are pleased. The Musician's Gear Tweed Guitar Cable's is also easy to roll up and untangle, as reported by many users.

Cons

There are some reports of the cable giving out earlier than expected, some after a year, while some just after a few uses. The general impression is that the cable requires proper handling if you want to keep it in good working condition for a long time.

Overall

As long as you're not planning on abusing it, this affordable and good looking guitar cable will get the job done.

GLS Audio Tweed Guitar Cable

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$17
GLS Audio Instrument Guitar cable

At the time of publication, this was the equal highest rated guitar / instrument cable along with the Mogami Gold Guitar Cable. This is the second year in a row the GLS cable has achieved this.

GLS Audio started out as a guitar amplifier builder in the mid '60s, now they are known for affordably priced cables and accessories. The Tweed guitar cable that they produce continues to get high ratings with its balance of quality and affordability, so much so that there are no more highly rated options in our recommended list. This cable comes with double insulator shields (OFC insulator and PVC conductive shields) and oxygen free copper all wrapped in braided tweed cloth jacket, which is quite good for the price.

Features:

  • OFC Copper
  • Double Insulator Shielding
  • Heat Shrink Strain Relief
  • Braided Tweed Cloth Jacket
  • Length: 20'
  • Available Lengths: 6' | 10' | 15' | 20'
  • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled
  • Pros

    Most are impressed with the overall solid build of the cable, while others are taken in by the familiar aesthetic of its cloth tweed wrap. It is very affordable, while keeping the quality quite high, as evidenced by the many recommendations and positive reviews that it has. Some even go as far as commenting that the quality matches their experience with more expensive boutique cables.

    Cons

    There were a few who had popping and ground issues after using the cable for a few months. They recommend inspecting the solder between the cable and plug when encountering the same issues, and to re-solder when needed.

    Overall

    With its great balance of quality, value and old school looks, you won't be disappointed with this top rated guitar cable.

    Fender Performance Guitar Cable

    91
    GEARANK

    91 out of 100. Incorporating 2600+ ratings and reviews.

    Street Price: 

    $22
    Fender Performance Series Instrument Cable

    When it comes to guitar gear, there's no denying Fender's production capability. And we're are not just talking about quantity, because they are capable of keeping quality consistently high even with their mass produced products, and this is reflected in the many positive reviews that continue to pour in. In addition to quantity and quality, they can also produce cables with various looks and lengths, so you can have one with just the right length for your needs. Features include a PVC jacket, 90% copper shield, metal connectors and strain relief.

    Features:

    • 90% Copper Shield
    • 8mm Diameter PVC Jacket
    • Metal Connectors
    • Length: 10'
    • Available Lengths: 5' | 10' | 15' | 18' | 20' | 25'
    • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled

    Pros

    A good number of reviewers find the Fender Performance cable to be better than most of the cables within the price range. They are impressed with the substantial quality difference when compared to others, considering that the price difference is not that much. Some users also find it to be quieter than even more expensive cables, surprising even experienced users.

    Cons

    There was one who compared his old Fender cable with a new one that he recently bought, and found that the quality seemed to have lowered. There are a few who had issues out of the box, but they were able to have the cable replaced, or serviced themselves to good working condition.

    Overall

    If you're looking for a cable from a trusted brand, or you want one to match your Fender guitar, then this is your pick.

    George L's Guitar Cable

    90
    GEARANK

    90 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

    Street Price: 

    $39
    George L's Instrument Guitar Cable 15'

    Tone connoisseur Eric Johnson trusts George L's cables with his tone, and that is enough for many to consider buying this boutique cable. George L's pioneered the convenient "no soldering" and "no stripping" guitar cable design, and they did so without compromising sound quality. These allowed users to make custom cables in the exact lengths that they need for their rigs. Their pre-packaged cables are also popular enough to make it to this list, with its audiophile sound quality and easy to maintain design. The company lets you choose between gold, nickel and unplated brass plugs, which depending on your ear sensitivity may have a subtle effect on the resulting tone. Its top notch sound quality has made it a mainstay in many guitar rigs and recording studios.

    Features:

    • Solder-less Plugs
    • Lifetime warranty on Plugs
    • Length: 10'
    • Available Lengths: 10' | 15' | 20'
    • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled

    Pros

    "Superior sound and build quality" is a good summary of how the market perceives this cable. Some who are skeptical at first ended up being a fan after trying out the cable for themselves. Most users have great things to say about its sound, specifically the sound details that are missing before with their previous cables. Many are genuinely amazed at the difference this cable made to their sound.

    Cons

    There are a few who expressed concern with how stiff and thin the cable is. There are also some who experienced connection issues, and they caution that proper handling should be applied.

    Overall

    If you're looking for a boutique guitar cable for recording then get this one. If this cable is fine with Eric Johnson, then it should be more than enough for most of us.

    Mogami Gold Guitar Cable

    94
    GEARANK

    94 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

    Street Price: 

    $55
    Mogami Gold Instrument Guitar Cable

    At the time of publication, this was the equal highest rated guitar / instrument cable along with the GLS Audio Tweed Guitar Cable. This is the second year in a row the Mogami Gold cable has achieved this.

    Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and Fleetwood Mac are just a few of the growing list of popular bands and artists that are affiliated with Mogami. As such, the company's high-end cable products continue to gain traction in the market, of which the highly rated Mogami Gold is included. This cable features dual shielding - high density spiral and conductive polymer sub-shield for quiet and interference free performance, while the carbon impregnated PVC jacket stops handling noise.

    Features:

    • 20 AWG OFC
    • High Density Spiral Shielding
    • Conductive Polymer Sub-Shield
    • Carbon-impregnated PVC Jacket
    • Length: 10'
    • Available Lengths: 3' | 6' | 10' | 18' | 25'
    • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled

    Pros

    The general sentiment is that this cable is well worth the money, giving you precious peace of mind with its consistent performance and reliability. Both acoustic and electric guitar players report experiencing improvements in their overall tone, when comparing their sound with their previous cables. The way the plugs securely connects with instruments, amps and other gear is also highly commended.

    Cons

    As expected, there are a few users who complained about the cable being expensive, hoping that it could sell for a bit less.

    Overall

    The Mogami Gold is a premium cable that's well worth the money, especially for those who want peace of mind during gigs and recording.

    Mogami Platinum Guitar Cable

    92
    GEARANK

    92 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

    Street Price: 

    $110
    Mogami Platinum Guitar Cable

    With its 100% coverage copper spiral shield, the Mogami Platinum is serious about blocking EMI and RF noise. Interestingly, Mogami is able to implement this thick high-density shielding without compromising flexibility and toughness. Another important feature of this cable is the use of Neutrik SilentPlug, which automatically mutes the cable when unplugging and plugging, preventing the unwanted "pop" noise when swapping guitars and other gear.

    Features:

    • Oxygen Free Copper Core
    • 100% Coverage Ultra-High Density Copper Spiral Shielding
    • Low-Loss Cellular Polyethylene Insulation
    • Conductive PVC Jacket
    • Length: 12'
    • Available Lengths: 3' | 6' | 12' | 20' | 30' | 40'
    • Available Plugs: Straight or Angled

    Pros

    At more than 8x the price of cheap cables, owners of the Mogami Platinum cable naturally have very high expectations - many of which are met if not exceeded by the overall quality of this cable. Even those who feel that premium cables are dubious end up loving the Mogami Platinum, and share their stories in reviews. The positive impact of this cable on tone has even caused some reviewers to think that their playing a different better sounding guitar. There are also plenty of positive remarks regarding the cables reliability and solid build.

    Cons

    For a guitar cable that's seemingly overpriced, actual owners do not complain about its price, but It's understandable that some prospective buyers would. This cable is simply beyond the usual budget.

    Overall

    If you have the money to invest, or you're willing to stretch your budget for a high-end cable then this is for you.

    Things to Consider When Buying a Guitar Cable

    • Cable Length and Capacitance

      All things being equal, the shorter the distance that your guitar signal has to travel, the better signal transparency that is provided, preventing high frequency loss. So the goal is to have the shortest cable length possible to get the lowest capacitance, without restricting your stage movement. In addition to clearer tone, having the right size cable reduces cable clutter and possible tangling.

      On the flip side, low capacitance and clear tone is not always the way to go, especially when considering that many of the best records were recorded using old cable technology, which is ironically similar to the cheap cables of today. This is the reason why some guitarists do not appreciate the clarity of premium cables, and prefer the subtle high-end damping of cheap cables or long coiled ones (coils add to the actual length of the cable while keeping clutter to a minimum). Note that the effect of cable capacitance and length can be almost negligible if you are using active pickups or buffered pedals (when used between your pedals and amplifier).

    • Cable Conductor

      The term Oxygen Free Copper or OFC refers to a purer type of copper that many manufacturers prefer to use, and the consensus is that the purer the conductor, the more transparent the signal transfer becomes. Note that there are even cables that utilize silver, which is more conductive than copper, but they are more expensive and are not practical for use with guitars.

      Conductors are implemented in two ways, the most cost effective are Solid Conductors, but it tend to break easily, resulting in signal degradation if not total loss. Stranded Conductors are more reliable because they are inherently flexible, and allow for better signal transfer even when bent. Premium cables often use smaller strands for improved flexibility and signal reliability, the downside to this is that small copper strands with low impurities are harder to manufacture. This is where you can separate the wheat from the chaff, as cheap cables usually skimp on this aspect.

    • Cable Shielding

      Shielding is used on guitar cables to block out interference. The cheapest is Foil Shielding, which easily breaks and offers the least protection. Many of the top rated cables have Braid Shielding, which has increased flexibility and strength, in addition to its excellent blocking of Radio Frequency (RF) and Electro-Magnetic (EM) interference generally.

    • Plug Joint

      The part where the cable meets the plug is really where most problems happen, and where most low quality cables show their true colors. Premium cables usually come with better soldering, with some even using solder-less joints. Strain Relief is also important as it stops improper bending at the joint, but it can't stop sudden pulls, like when you trip over a cable. So at the end of the day, no matter how reliable the cable is, 'entropy' catches up and eventually the joint will break. This is where Serviceability becomes an important factor, where users can actually repair breakage themselves. It is also useful if there is a need to manually cut excess cable length and to re-attach the plug.

    • Plug Shape and Type

      Whether you want straight or angled will depend on the instrument you're using. Straight Plugs work with most guitars, amps and pedals - but they can be intrusive and be accidentally hit and bent. Angled Plugs offer a more discrete positioning of the cable, and is especially ideal for top mounted output jacks. However they may not work with outputs that are recessed or have obstructions. Based on the ratings, many prefer a combination of angled and straight plugs in one cable, because it allows for flexibility. There are manufacturers who claim that the material used on the plugs have subtle effect on the sound, but this can be debatable. Thankfully, the cables in our recommended list all have sturdy plugs that won't easily break with proper handling.

    Best Guitar Cable Selection Methodology

    This guide was first published on December 15, 2016. The latest major update was published on October 3, 2019.

    To keep the list focused, we only featured ready-to-use unbalanced TS (Tip-Sleeve) cables within the 10' to 30' length range, and we skipped on TRS (Tip-Sleeve-Ring - used for balanced or stereo signals), smaller patch cables, and DIY cable kits. We also limited the list to specific models of instrument cables, to avoid having a long list of the same cable with different lengths and configurations. Availability online or through major US retailers is also an important factor in our research.

    For this update, we analyzed relevant reviews, ratings and recommendations, including the most recent ones up to the end of September of 2019. This resulted in over 9,400 sources, up from 7,300 from last year's update. As always, we processed the data via the Gearank Algorithm, which then provided us with the scores that we used to trim the list to only those that rated high enough. For more information see How Gearank Works. Note that for some models, we incorporated relevant review data from the different lengths and plug configurations to get a better overview of its market performance.

    Comments

    Great breakdown! George L

    Great breakdown! George L makes some of the best guitar cables around! I'm surprised it didn't rank higher because the difference between George's cables and the Hosa at the top of the list is night and day!

    George L guitar cables tend

    George L guitar cables tend to polarize people, many good guitarists swear by them while others say they don't offer enough extra value to justify the higher prices.

    BTW - the list is sorted by price so Hosa isn't at the 'top of the list' in terms of its ratings.

    It has been shown that

    It has been shown that capacitance is the only thing that alters tone in a cable. Everything else is sometimes subjective or for longevity, interference and various other external reasons.
    It would be nice to see the Picofarads Per Foot on all these cables in the review. For example, the top rated cable is 38 Picofarads Per Foot. Even though they advertise that as "very low" is actually is not considered all that low in cables now in the digital world. Many cable makers have said 20-28 is a good place to start for guitar but everyone will hear differences dependent on their equipment used obviously. Nothing wrong with GLS cable, but did just want to point out that fact.

    Sadly not enought cables are

    Sadly not enough cables are viewed. Whatever the price, vovox, monsters, follow by high end klotz cables, are the best by a huge margin. However klotz ones seems a bit low shielded and edgy result due to low capacitance unlike monsters cut high frequency for same reasons. Hope you test some soon.

    If you move at all and looove

    If you move at all and looove knotted cables by all means buy the braided ones.
    I build my own using Beldon cable bought in bulk and Neutrik nys224g's.
    Because $55 for a 10 ft cable is just insane.Monster makes, well, a monster cable for those solder impaired.

    I use Chord Company Cream

    I use Chord Company Cream Instrument cables a shielded twisted pair design rather than a coax design and are very happy I've changed to them.

    Same here Tone. I began

    Same here Tone. I began using Cream Cable as a live Sound Engineer 12 years ago. I now use nothing else as they are exceptionally reliable. I've saved a lot of money by not replacing cables regularly.

    I have been using Chord

    I have been using Chord Company Cream Instrument Cable for over 10 years. They sound exceptionally detailed and are very durable. I still use the original cables I bought over 10 years ago. They should be mentioned in my opinion.

    They certainly should be

    They certainly should be mentioned, Robin. No Brand mystique, just fit for purpose. My job made easier. What a refreshing change.

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