There are a lot of parts of being a musician that you never really consider when you’re first starting out, because odds are that you’re likely to be the first musician in your immediate family. Things like cables, matching ohms between a head and a speaker cabinet, and finding the best patch cable for your needs aren’t really explained to you until you run into a situation where you need to figure these things out for yourself.
Luckily for you our articles are aimed at exactly that. If you’ve ever run into issues trying to figure out how to select the best patch cables for your needs you’ve come to the right place. The sections below will give you all the information that you need to make an informed purchase. So without much further ado, let’s get into the meat of the article.
- What Is A Guitar Patch Cable?
- What Should I Look For In A Guitar Patch Cable?
- Top 5 Guitar Patch Cables
What Is A Guitar Patch Cable?
For those of you who weren’t already aware, a patch cable is a small cable that is typically used to connect effect pedals to one another. Patch cables shorten the amount of total length that you’re signal needs to travel through.
Think of it like this: your guitar, your pedals and your amp form a circuit. The more cable your signal needs to pass through the weaker it will become. This is why you’re going to sound a bit different if you use a 50 ft. cable as opposed to a 12 ft. cable. As your signal becomes weaker the top end frequencies are the first to go, so if you’re using too much cable eventually your tone is going to become muddy and inarticulate.
This is where the patch cable comes in. Rather than using a full cord (generally the shortest full sized cord commonly produced is still around 6 ft. long) utilizing a patch cable allows your signal to maintain integrity and a full frequency response. Most patch cable are between 6 and 12 inches long. The more pedals you have the faster this difference adds up.
Patch cables are also significantly cheaper than full sized cables, which if you have four or five pedals could easily save you $40 or $50.
What Should I Look For In A Guitar Patch Cable?
Unlike a lot of other musical accessories, shopping for instrument and patch cables is really easy. Contrary to what some would have you believe, you really don’t need to invest in expensive components to get better results. You don’t need cables made from gold (not the entire cable, just a piece of it) or anything else absurdly expensive. Basically, if you can’t immediately understand the real world applications of every part of your cord odds are they’re trying to sell you something that you don’t really need.
Really, the most important things you should be concerned with are durability and quantity. There are manufacturers that sell a six pack of patch cables for roughly $10 bucks. These patch cables should last you a year or two so long as you don’t excessively abuse them. If you go this route make sure to buy a spare pack in case they start going out at an inopportune time. Higher quality cables are a bit more expensive, but they do last longer under normal conditions. Both choices are going to end up costing you roughly the same amount, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Top 5 Guitar Patch Cables
As always, our recommendations are selected with widespread applicability in mind. Ideally, every musician reading one of our articles should be able to find a product that is realistic for their needs and budget. So while we recognize that more expensive instruments and instrument accessories are generally objectively better, it doesn’t matter how good a piece of equipment is if you can’t afford it. So just try to keep in mind that the best choice for you may not be the best choice for your neighbor, and vice versa.
Planet Waves Classic Series Patch Cables
Hosa IRG Patch Cables
Mogami 1.5RR Gold Patch Cable
Donner Pedal Coupler
Lava Cable Tightrope