Is there really a difference between cheap and expensive cables?
Is there really a difference between a $3 instrument cable and a $20 dollar cable?
Yes there’s massive difference, but it’s not what you think. While all cables contain copper which conducts the signal along the length of the cable, not all copper is the same. If you have more or less copper in your cable, it will sound slightly different. However, this tiny difference will sound massive to us guitarists as we’ll try multiple cables within the same setup. I used the word tiny because live or in a recorded track, it’s not going to be noticeable or give any major tonal advantage.
The jack plugs are the single biggest factor. If you have crappy moulded jacks – especially in patch cables, then it will sound darker, they’ll break easier and might not last a gig. However, if you use end high soldless jacks with good quality cable, you’ll have better guitar tone and they’ll last longer.
What I’m not saying is go and spend a small fortune on cable. You should, however dump any moulded cables you have and learn to solder. If you do, then you can build some great cables from quality cable and jack plugs for little money. For example, Neutrik Jacks are considered world class and are only a few dollars each. As for cable, mogami guitar cable is the standard and again is only a few dollars per foot/meter. Having great cables in your guitar rig, enables you to focus on playing. And not on wondering if your gear will make it through the gig.