Guitar and instrument cables are often an overlooked component of a player's signal chain. But as the old saying goes, you're only as strong as your weakest link, and that definitely applies to cables. Sure, a certain cable isn't going to dramatically improve your tone, but a bad one can definitely make it worse. Below, we take a look at five things that many players often discount when it comes to instrument and guitar cables.
Though most guitar players overlook the role played by their guitar cables, they are a vital part of the whole rig. Not only does these cables complete the setup, but they play an important role in developing the overall sound of the guitar player. Ordinary cables lose much of the signal in transmission and results in glitches and mutes. Good cables improve the quality of a setup by preventing any loss of signals. A guitar player must invest wisely while purchasing guitar cables and pick the cables that suit the style of his music. Though good cables are a touch expensive when compared to the cheap ones but they are easily affordable and worth the money.
Getting a short cable can be a wise choice when the question is about the length of the cable. Capacitance is common in cables and all cables have at least some of it. The capacitance of a cable increases with its length, the longer it is, the more capacitance it has. Though the noise created is not really audible in short cables but while dealing with longer ones, especially the ones over twenty feet, one can easily notice the dullness it brings to the tone. And cheaper cables offer poor quality which in turn increases noise and produces hindrances such as loss of the high end, lag etc.
While a branded cable with better technological upgrades can be twice as expensive as a normal one, there are many audio companies that provide customers with good cables of various lengths at affordable prices. A well-trained ear can easily make out the difference over the whole spectrum between one of these audiophile cables and a normal one. Though a majority of guitar players look for a richness of tone and clarity, there are players who prefer one special brand for its characteristic sound. One must spend enough time in auditioning the cables before choosing the final one.
As mentioned in the last point, guitar players sometimes prefer a particular brand for the characteristic sound it provides. Players are even ready to compromise with the quality to suit their needs, for example, a player who is too percussive in his approach might opt for cables that provide a dull sound to bring in a warmth to their tone. It is believed that Stevie Ray Vaughan used this mentioned trick to sound more like Jimi Hendrix. The legendary guitarist used the gray Radio Shack cord and also the old spring loaded cable.
The whole point of using better cables is to prevent the loss of signal in the path from the guitar to the effects unit system and to the amplifier. But the whole purpose falls apart if one uses cheap patch cords to connect the different effects unit pedals in the pedalboard. In such circumstances, expensive cables are as useless as an expensive guitar paired with a bad amplifier or a bad effects unit system. Cheap patch cords sap signals and result in a loss of tone, and thus it is important to remember that apart from good cables, good patch cords are also a necessity for a good setup.
Well, there you have it, five things you might not have known about guitar and instrument cables. While you might have already known many or all of the ideas touched on above, I'm sure we can agree that there are many players out there who don't have a clue about cables beyond where they go!
How many facts did you already know from the five listed above?