Selecting Your Next Guitar Cable on eBay

The wide variety of guitar cables offered on eBay means that there is a cable for just about every occasion. Whether you're a bedroom guitarist or someone who needs cables tough enough to withstand the rigors of gigging, you're almost certain to find something you need. Hence, manufacturers are coming out with cables with excellent sound quality at fair prices.

What length of cable do you need?

One of the first things to think about when purchasing a new or pre-owned guitar cable is how long the cable needs to be. Choosing a cable length involves balance. You want a cable that is long enough that your guitar pickups won't cause interference with your amp, but you also don't want an excessively long cable. Since an instrument cable is unbalanced, extraneous signal noise increases with the length of a cable. Most available guitar cables on eBay range from 3 to 25 feet.

What to know before you buy cable shielding

An important part of a cable is located below the surface. It's called shielding, and it works to reduce the risk of outside frequencies interfering with your guitar signal. If you want a higher-quality signal (this is especially important when playing through a pedalboard), paying attention to shielding material is vital. Here are some of the common shielding types found on eBay:

  • Braided shielding: This is an expensive shielding type, but it offers unparalleled protection from outside sources.
  • Serve shielding: This type is more affordable but still effective.
  • Foil shielding: This is a budget shield type that may be good for those on a very tight budget.

Selecting the right plug materials

While shopping for affordable guitar cables, many people focus a good bit on the material used in the plug. This does not usually matter quite as much as shielding, but it is still something to consider.

  • Gold-plated: Many people hold this up as a gold standard of sound. While it does not make an enormous difference in sound, gold resists corrosion.
  • Silver-plated: This is a more affordable plug material that is still durable.
  • Nickel-plated: Unless you're subjecting the cable to extreme amounts of use, this type will also be effective.