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Will my guitar sound better through an expensive lead?
Manufacturers of high-end cables make all sorts of claims that their cables sound ‘better’, but the short answer to this question is that it might sound different. Assuming the cable is made to a decent basic standard, the main tone- changing factor thereafter is an electrical phenomenon called capacitance. The higher the capacitance of your cable, the more treble is lost from your sound. Other frequencies are affected, too, but treble is the most noticeable.
So, if you use a high-capacitance guitar lead more than 20ft in length – especially with single-coil pickups – it will have a noticeable effect on your sound. Losing high-end from long-cable runs might not always be a bad thing, however. If your Tele’s ice-pick-sharp bridge pickup is way too bright, you might consider taking its edge off with a long cable with a capacitance figure of more than 140 picofarads (pf) per metre.
But if you want to perk up that muddy humbucker sound, a short cable with a capacitance figure of less than 100pf/metre could open up a touch more high-end. It’s also worth mentioning that you’re much more likely to hear the differences when playing loud through a quality amplifier.