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From: Shootout Guitar Cables UK Best Guitar Cables Explained

See also: The Shootout Guitar Cables UK Range and Guitar Cable Capacitance and Resonant Frequency

We know that because of Guitar Cable Capacitance and Resonant Frequency that guitar cables can have a considerable effect on the signal and therefore tone of passive pickups in guitars and basses... the higher the cable capacitance per unit length and the longer the cable/s the worse the 'problem' gets.

So what happens when the first cable connects from the guitar to your first pedal?

The pickup signal sees the input impedance (this is part of the tuned circuit we discuss in Guitar Cable Capacitance and Resonant Frequency linked above) of the first pedal in line that is either on, or off but is not true bypass... then:

a) if the input impedance is below 1Mohm (typical guitar amp input impedance) then the extra resistance to the signal will cause a high end roll off.
b) if the pedal is off but not true bypass and is buffered by a cheap buffer circuit built into the pedal the signal will still be affected by the input impedance but additionally the signal will suffer some level of distortion perhaps due to a cheap pedal buffer circuitry or no-bypass vintage circuit and also if there is a second pedal following the first pedal that works best with a direct unbuffered passive pickup signal such as a fuzz, then that pedal won't sound good.

Hence true-bypass pedals have become all the rage. With true-bypass pedals, they do what they do when they are on, but when they are off they butt out of the signal chain... which is great, however there is a problem!

With true-bypass pedals, when no pedals are active everything is in true bypass and the weak passive pickup guitar signal has to push its way along the cable to the first pedal, through all the cables between all the other the pedals, and then from the last pedal all the way to the amp, by which time it may well be quite exhausted and be suffering from high levels of top end tone sucking cable capacitance.

Additionally regardless of being true-bypass or not, pedals with a low input impedance (like some vintage pedals for example) will dull the tone if first in the chain or when the effect is switched off.

This is why low capacitance cables are generally preferable for guitar and also where high quality class A buffer pedals come in... Buffer Pedals and Long Cables coming soon.

Also in this guide:

Guitar Cable Capacitance and Resonant Frequency

Guitar Cable Capacitance Chart

Guitar Cable Length and Signal Loss

Guitar Cable Myths and The Cable Fairy

Guitar Cable Shielding and AC Hum

Braided vs Spiral vs Foil Guitar Cable Shielding

Guitar Cable Microphonics and the Triboelectric Effect

DIY vs Premade Guitar Cables

Silver Plated Copper Cables and 'Red Plague' Galvanic Corrosion

Copper vs Silver Signal Conductor Guitar Cables

Gold Plated Guitar Cable Jacks and Galvanic Corrosion

Guitar Cables vs Guitar Pedal Board Patch Cables

Analogue Guitar Cables vs WIFI

Low Capacitance vs High Capacitance Guitar Cables

Buffer Pedal Placement

Oxygen Free Copper Guitar Cables

Cheap vs Midrange vs Expensive Guitar Cables


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