Do Guitar Cables Matter?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by bscepter, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. bscepter

    bscepter Member

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    I was reading the Siren speaker cable thread, and was amazed at the discussion of whether or not cable "mojo" is real or imagined.

    At the moment, I'm using relatively cheap braided cable from one of the big-box stores. I don't think I've paid more than $1.50/foot for any of my guitar cables.

    And now I see that a 20' Evidence guitar cable costs $125.00!

    Now, I know that cabling makes a difference in terms of hum, etc., but what about tone?

    And who makes the best kind?

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    I've been a long time ProCo cable user, they use Belden wire (USA),
    and switchcraft cable ends (USA).
    Works for me. Its funny how Jimi Hendrix used those cheap Japanese coiled cables, whenever I got one as a kid it lasted minutes, but it worked.
    Jimi Hendrix did sound good using them though.
    Some company is making quality ones now, I'll have to ask Marc Ford,
    he uses one with his lap steel guitars, the inductance adds flavor to the tone.

    Best thing for everyone here, just try them all and find what you like.
    Same goes for beer, cars, chicks and guitars!
     
  3. gls500

    gls500 Member

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  4. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Depends on what you're after, but whatever tone/response you're looking for, there's a cable that'll get you there.

    Mike
     
  5. toddyjoe

    toddyjoe Member

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    Steve Kimock apparently uses some solid-core copper wire cables. Given his perceived improvement in tone with that setup, I always wanted to give that a try. Anybody make something like that, maybe Fuchs?
     
  6. Rich

    Rich Member

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    Yes. Different cables do sound, well, different.

    But "better" is a subjective call depending on your gear and what you want to hear. You may in fact prefer a "lesser" cable over the high-enders for your purpose at hand. Ditto on the value part-- if it accomplishes what you want, then its worth the money to you.

    If you have a chance, best bet is to try several of them. Gee, that sounds like the general appproach to gear (and other stuff maybe);)
     
  7. ChrisP

    ChrisP Member

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    just make sure you have the correct power cord :Spank
     
  8. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    +1 on the switchcraft ends. I've had issues with various manufacturer's 1/4 jacks being just a wee bit sloppy in the plug-in. Including OEM cables from Fender, etc. Enough to make them pop a little if I wasn't careful. The Switchcraft seem to fit great.

    Outside of that, seems that any decently designed instrument cable is fine. Choose a length that's appropriate. You will lose a little signal the longer the cable is. I really like the Whirlwind cables. Economical in price, yet good quality. And they use the Switchcraft ends. :)
     
  9. Swarty

    Swarty Member

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    I was a bit skeptical when I'd heard that one cable could sound markedly better than another... I used a Monster cable and thought all was fine. A year or so ago I bought 2 20' Klotz cables from a TDPRI member and started using them... no big deal except one night whilst doing my Hendrix schtik with my upside down strat I was annoyed by the big Neutrik plug on the Klotz bumping my forearm...so I grabbed the Monster cable because it had a right angle bend on one end.... Keep in mind that the Monster cable was 5' shorter than the Klotz... The effect of using the Monster was like someone throwing a heavy blanket over the amp. I could not believe it... I went back and forth several times to confirm what I was hearing... I'm a believer
     
  10. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I feel cables make a huge difference; and it comes down to quality *proven* materials (I am not into the voodoo stuff and $100+ cables; and yes I have tried more than a few) and workmanship.

    I personally buy all my cables from Butch at Bayou Cables - Neutrik ends, Canare cable - and he does a fantastic job putting them together.

    His speaker cables are high quality and his costs are far less than the Big Box store asks for Monster Cable (been there, done that too).
     
  11. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Some prefer crystal clear, others prefer the cheapo radio shack coils. Different strokes for different folks.

    Like Doug, I'm a longtime ProCo user. The cable in my gig bag is one that I bought in 1981. Sounds good to me (not too bright, not too dark) and has lasted almost two decades.
     
  12. teefus

    teefus Silver Supporting Member

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  13. el34power

    el34power Member

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    +1 on the Canare GS-6 cable and neutrik connectors...FWIW $125.00us for a guitar cable is ridiculous
     
  14. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    I can't hear any difference between two quality cables. However, there are differences in things like handling noise, durability, how easily it gets twisted around itself and so on. I can't see myself buying something as expensive as the Evidence cables.

    I like Neutrik and Switchcraft plugs. They're easy to fix if needed and durable. Molded plugs are the worst.
     
  15. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey, Evidence is cheap. There's stuff out there that goes for $400 for a 20' cable! That said, there's no "best" cable, you've gotta try it and see what you like/can live with. I've been happy with Klotz, Canare and some other high end stuff to amp or to effects, then George L from Effects to amp.
     
  16. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    This may be more a +1 to the post on the speaker cable thread about the amp wiring, but since this is the appropriate side of the signal chain, I'll throw this one out here:

    If someone isn't doing it already, evidently there's a market for aftermarket rewiring of effect pedals with the magic guage, material, polarity and directionality wire.

    Wait a minute, what about the IC's? Doh!
     
  17. Beer

    Beer Member

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    My only experience that tells me there IS a difference in tone has been with cables that degrade over time and seem to become "dull", which I can only assume is the cable attenunating frequencies. Logically, if a cable can sound bad, there must be cables that sound good or keep their good sounding properties longer.
     
  18. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    if you can find a power cord from an old 50s or 60s vaccum, that does wonder for your sound.
     
  19. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    OMG YES cables matter!

    Especially when you've got lots of guitars and plug straight into the amp as much as possible.. Some are scooped, some are bright, some have thicker bass response etc... (and that's just the good cables)

    The main problem with cheap cables is noise... but the more expensive pro cables sound very different from each other

    For example, I'll use a bass heavy or dark sounding cable for metal... and then switch to a brighter jazz cable for my strat

    Length matters too... you can tame a bright amp by using a longer cable. Or you can brighten a darker amp with a short cable

    If you can't hear the difference.. cool. But don't ever listen to that crap about "my cheap cable is just as good as your expensive cable" nonsense
     
  20. nondeplume

    nondeplume Puppet For Prophet Gold Supporting Member

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    When you find out the company, pls post the info...I use the Radio Shack cheepies and yeah..they just fail sitting there, but I do like the 'sound' of them in certain spots, specially when one is going bad, lol. Thanks.
     

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