When I was in my teens, just wanting to rock out with friends, tone wasn’t the first thing come to my mind. I remember using those old multi colour patch cable pack from my local music store when I first got into stomp boxes. Used the cheapest leads we could buy, cos we didn't have much money. They suck tone out more than anything. They were horrible! Then there were the other ready-made patch cables with a massive connectors on them. We guitarists love being cool (at least I do) and good looking gears, but those cables ain’t cool looking at all.
Let’s be honest, how many of us musicians are actually handy with their tools? Let alone soldering iron! I’m definitely not one. I was never going to make my own cables. So when the Planet Waves solderless guitar cable appears in the market back in the late 90s, I jumped straight onto it. I love how I could do it myself and cut them to whatever length I wanted. I also love the kill-switch on the connector for guitar leads! The down side with them was, they were way too thick to be patch cables for pedalboard. Use them as guitar leads was alright, but they were just way too thick to go between pedals on the board.
As I grow up and became more demanding than ever, tone became the priority. I was obsessed with trying out as many guitar leads and patch cables I could on the market. Working at a musical instrument distribution company didn’t help at all. Just allowed me to spend more money and time on testing gears! Over the year, I used a few different solderless cable systems, i.e. Boss, D’Addario, George’s L and Evidence Audio. Each of these systems have their pros and cons. After trying them out on different boards, at the end of it, there are three things I look for:
How do they sound - this can be subjective, but how much high-end do I lose is usually what I look for. Of course the least the better.
Ease of use - how easy or painless to make the cables. Some systems are so finicky. If it is not made correct, it can gives you the unbearable noise problem. Especially when you have many of them in the signal chain.
How affordable are they - when you have a small board, it may not matter as much, but when you start building a decent size board or constantly building boards, things can add up real fast and get really expensive.
Unless money is no object, I think finding a good balance of the above points will help to decide on which system to go with. At Mocha Earth Music, we offer the affordable and easy to use PedalPatch cable/kits. It is a system we believe to have a good balance on the three points I mentioned above. On top of it, the connectors from PedalPatch can make both straight or angled cables. That’s real handy! Check them out here and give them a try to see if they are good for you.
Same thing with guitar leads. Most of us aren't with endless dosh. It only makes sense to get the best value for money cables in the market. For that reason, I think you really need to give Cordial Peak cables a go. To me, they are one of the best and well-balanced instrument cables on the market right now.