In many guitar systems, however, you will have more on the floor to deal with.
Since low signal levels and high impedances are serious issues with guitar systems, we’ve found that the best sonic solution for long multi-line cord runs is not the use of snakes, but bundling together multiple lengths of premium low-capacitance, low-noise guitar cable such as Whirlwind’s Accusonic + 1.
Guitars are just about your most sensitive signal output devices on stage, and the only place a high-quality snake isn’t your best option for clean wire dress.
Guitar cords in general can account for a lot of your mid-show pain.
Per the signal level and impedance issues mentioned above, they are prime sources of induced (beer signs, lighting dimmers, radio signals, etc.) and self-generated (microphonics, crackles & pops) noise.
Plus, in a live performance they get worked more than the other cables and have to survive that on a nightly basis without getting progressively worse in the noise department before failing.
Keys for Guitar Cords That Sound Best & Survive:
1) Braided Copper Shield
Foil shields are significantly stiffer, making them annoying to performers connected to them and they deteriorate with constant flexing, making them fine for the studio or in a snake, but a time bomb for the guitarist on stage. Shields which are simply spiral wrapped will “spread” when you flex the cable, providing openings for those nasty outside sounds to jump into the guitar signal. The braid is a key issue.
2) Conductive Inner Wrap
A conductive inner wrap under the shield will increase shielding and also reduce microphonics. This can be harder to spot, but becomes obvious when you smack the cable around. Some cables make a lot of noise when they get tapped. Good ones don’t.
3) Low Capacitance
This will matter with some guitar/pickup/amp combinations, and not with others. If your guitars all have onboard electronics, it shouldn’t be an issue. For some of the classics, it’s a big deal. So you don’t have to think about it, lower capacitance is better. Try to stay under 50pf a foot if you can get the specs on the cable.
4) Strain Relief
A flexible molded boot protecting the last few inches of the cord before it enters the plug. This is a life-expectancy issue. Most cord fatigue takes place at the point where the nice flexible cable enters the hard inflexible plug.