Garbage in, garbage out; have you ever heard that one? Signal loss or deterioration due to poor cabling is a common occurrence in low end guitar cable. It’s not that you have to send a fortune on cable, and God knows you can, you have to be wise in how you choose cable. Obviously, the best avenues are referrals and personally trying the cable out but there are a few things to look for when shopping for high quality cable.
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There has long been a theory that high end cable’s metal i.e. copper, silver alloy becomes directional in the manufacturing process as the metal changes in molecular structure from strands to granular striations and the idea is to flow in the direction of the flow of these striations and not against them. In addition, it is said that avoiding a solder connection at either the amp or guitar side helps reduce noise by dissipating it into the insulation and not broadcasting it into your guitars pickups. Okay, it’s a controversial argument but I as others have noted that directional cable can be played from either end and some claim it will sound different from either side so far a lot of babble.
The discussion could easily escalate, leading to theories related to impedance, resistance and capacitance and the effect passive vs. active pickups has on signal alteration and degeneration. Frankly, I look for a cord that is quiet while providing an uncolored transmission of my tone. The boutique cord argument may have little merit but there are many cheaper cords on the market that are reliable and quiet. It really is simple; I’ll buy a cord, plug it into my rig and listen for noise; if it’s there, the cord goes back.
The Fender 1’ Koilcord Patch Cable, harkens to the late 60’s when Vox’s coiled cable was all the rage. Frankly it was the worst idea in that is was both heavy and noisy. The Fender 1’ Koilcord Patch Cable, while only a foot is far from heavy but it is noisy, in spite of the impressionable directional flow indicators on the cord. I imagine someone at Fender thought it might be a great idea to capitalize on the current high end cord war while throwing in some of the resurgent interest in coil cords for a great combination to the consumer gut. This one is a miss.
Fender got it right with the right angled plugs; they work great on a pedalboard and perhaps you can make an argument for the coil cord in that you can space the pedals with some leeway but the root of all evil here is noise. While the Fender 1’ Koilcord Patch Cable has eye appeal, I cannot get over the noise that accompanies this cable. I’ve tried it with a number of guitars with some degree of variance but it all comes down to noise; if it’s there, the cord fails, period.