Coiled vs Straight: What Are the Best Guitar Cables?

coiled vs straight

If you are unsure what guitar cable you should use, you have come to the right place.  

If you are tired of getting your guitar cables all tangled up, then coiled cables might be the best solution. We know how frustrating it can be to have to untangle your guitar cable, and in all honesty straight cables can be a nightmare. 

In this article we will go over the main reasons that make coiled cables the best solution for most guitarists, and why you should replace your straight cable with a coiled cable.

Comparing coiled vs straight

In order to accurately compare the two options of guitar cables we have to define some factors, that will play a big role in your choice. Here they are:

  • Durability 
  • Functionality
  • Tone
  • Price


When choosing a guitar cable you want to make sure that is something reliable, and that can last a long time. Especially if you plan on using it constantly and on the road for live gigs. If you are playing mostly at home, you don’t need a very reliable cable since it will be difficult to damage it. 

However, if you are performing live every week, you need something that will last and that won’t break on you. If somebody steps on your guitar cable, it needs to be sturdy.


Another factor to consider is functionality, and this depends entirely on how you plan to use the guitar cable. It makes a big difference between playing live and playing around the house. The functionality of the cable really depends on this factor. For instance, if you are playing live every week you need a cable that is big enough for the stage, and at the same, it is easy to pack away, and won’t stop working while you’re on stage.

If you just play around the house, then you need something entirely different. You want something more practical.


When starting to discuss the tone of coiled vs straight guitar cables that is when all hell breaks loose. This is a long-going debate for most guitarists, and although it is quite clear that there are differences in the tone of coiled vs straight cables, it is not significant for most musicians to notice.

Do coiled cables affect the tone of the guitar?

Yes to some extent coiled cables can filter the higher frequencies of your guitar since the cable is longer it has a higher capacitance, which in turn makes your guitar tone lower. This cuts the higher frequencies. 

This difference is not only noticed on coiled guitar cables since it can also be noticed in a straight guitar cable that is longer. However, most people will not be able to tell the difference.


When it comes to price, coiled cables tend to be more expensive than straight cables. The main reason is that they are longer. The difference is not very significant, but if you are on a budget you make take that into consideration.

Coiled guitar cables 

When guitarists think of coiled cables, they picture Jimi Hendrix on his iconic Woodstock performance, using a coiled cable. 

Yes, coiled cables do look cool, but there is more to it. In fact, they are extremely practical because they do not get tangled up easily. They also take us back in time, to when phone chords were also coiled. 

Coiled guitar cables advantages vs straight cables

Let’s look at some of the main advantages of coiled guitar cables:

  • Difficult to step on them
  • Difficult to get tangled
  • Easier to put away
  • Tone

Coiled cables are a great solution for some frustrations every guitarist has, like a faulty cable that was stepped on, and tangled guitar cables that seem to take hours to untangle. They are also easier to put away and take less space.

When it comes to the tone, this is a very personal decision. Some gearheads actually believe that coiled cables had an effect on Jimi Hendrix’s strat tone. Since he used a high gain setting with his Marshall through his single-coil pickups, the coiled cable filtered some of the high frequencies that gave him his unique sound. In a sense, cutting some of the brightness of his tone. 

There is certainly an influence on the sound, but the same can happen if you have a long straight cable that is longer than 20 feet.

Coiled guitar cable disadvantages vs straight cables

Here are some of the main disadvantages of coiled guitar cables:

  • It can trip your music stand
  • It can affect your tone
  • Bulkier to carry in a bag

One of the main disadvantages of coiled cables is that they can easily trip your music stand. Since they are coiled, they tend to stretch and be firm in the air, which might not be the best thing when you are playing live with a band. This is one of the reasons why coiled cables tend to be better to use around your practice room.

Another disadvantage of coiled cables is that they can affect the tone. Essentially cutting the higher frequencies of your tone, which might not be good, depending on what kind of tone you are going for.

Finally, coiled cables tend to be bulkier to carry, due to their form, and extra length. Remember that they can also get tangled up, and stepped on. However, it is more unlikely to happen. 

Are coiled guitar cables worth it?

Yes, coiled cables are definitely worth it especially to practice, or if you want to cut some of the higher frequencies from your tone, or you prefer the look of coiled cables.

What are the benefits of coiled cords?

Coiled cables have several benefits including:

  • Higher durability
  • More reliable
  • Easier to untangle

There are also other benefits such as looks and tone, that are subjective depending on the guitarist.

Why are coiled cables popular?

Coiled cables are extremely popular due to their looks and the fact that many famous guitarists have used them over the years. They are also more reliable and durable than straight guitar cables.

There are very useful if you are playing at home, you constantly find your straight guitar cables all tangled up. 

If you are looking to mimic Jimi Hendrix’s tone, then that is also a good reason to use coiled guitar cables.

Are coiled cables more durable?

Coiled cables are more durable, and that is one of the reasons they were used for decades in phones. Due to the structure of a coiled cable, it becomes more difficult to tear, or damage than a straight cable. Making them more durable and reliable than straight cables.


We hope this guide has helped you to choose the right guitar cable for you. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of coiled vs straight guitar cables, and depending on your needs you might even end up owning both. 

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