Instrument cables are something that all guitar players are very familiar with. They are necessary for every electric guitar rig. Without a good guitar cable, the rig will not function at all. There are two main types of cables, straight-jack cables, and angled-jack cables. Most guitarists use straight-jack cables, so why use an angled-jack cable?
Angled guitar cables are useful for guitars with face-mounted input jacks, side-mounted input jacks, and amplifiers with top-mounted inputs. Angled cables help to prevent damage to guitars and other equipment. They are generally much safer than straight cables.
Angled guitar cables have many uses, and some guitarists will not use any other type of cable. Angled jacks are convenient, safe, and hardy, but they do have some drawbacks as well, especially with certain guitars and equipment. Let’s take a closer look at why guitarists use angled guitar cables.
Why Use An Angled Guitar Cable?
Angled guitar cables are one of two main choices of cable types, which also include the standard straight-jack cable.
The straight-jack is the standard for most guitarists, but many exclusively use angled cables in their rigs.
The main reason why guitar players use angled cables is the type of input jack that their guitar has. Strat-style guitars with face-mounted cup inputs require a straight-jack cable, and angled cables will probably get stuck with these inputs, but almost all other guitar inputs work exceptionally well with angled cables.
Certain guitar models such as Gibson SG’s have face-mounted standard input jacks, and if a standard straight-jack cable is used with this input type, the cable will likely get snagged on something and be pushed up within the input of the guitar. This will cause serious damage to the instrument and is often irreparable.
Stright-jack cables are likely to be bumped into things, knocked against objects or band members, and are generally more dangerous for most guitars than angled cables.
This is the main reason for angled cables, but there are many reasons why these cables are so popular.
The angled guitar cable helps to prevent damage to guitars and other hardware; they are able to connect those hard to reach or low-profile inputs within rackmounts or speaker cabinets; they make wrapping the cable through a strap while standing and playing much easier, angled cables work excellently for pedalboards, and they are generally stronger and less likely to break than straight-jack cables.
Are Angled Guitar Cables Good For Amplifiers And Pedals?
Angled guitar cables are good for most guitars, but the other end has to be plugged in somewhere too.
Some angled cables have a straight end at one end, but there are angled cables that have angled connectors at both ends.
The angled end that is not on the guitar side can be a benefit as well. Amplifiers with top-mounted input jacks are a good example of this. Top-mounted inputs mean that straight-jack cables will protrude a long way straight up from the amp, and this means they are likely to be damaged or cause damage to the amp if bumped too hard.
Using an angled cable instead means that the cable will run flat against the top of the amp and then straight down in front of the speaker grill.
This is also true for large speaker cabinets, as an amp that is high off the ground will allow the angled cable to run straight down from the input. This is not great for smaller amps with front-mounted inputs, and the cable will be bent sharply up to the instrument from the hanging cable.
Angled cables are good for connecting to pedalboards that are kept in tight-fitting gig bags where a straight cable will just not fit.
The low–profile of these cable ends means that they are able to fit well in between pedals on a board as well, so if your patch cable breaks between two pedals, you will not need to dismantle your entire board to fit a straight-jack cable between them.
In general, angled guitar cables are safer for all hardware than straight cables unless the cable is required to run straight out of the unit.
Pros And Cons Of Using An Angled Guitar Cable
While angled guitar cables are very useful and there are many reasons to use them, they do have some drawbacks. No cable is perfect, but which cable you use should be based on your requirements, your rig, and your preference.
Let’s go over some of the major pros and cons of using angled guitar cables.
Pros Of Using An Angled Guitar Cable
The pros of using an angled guitar cable include:
- Safety – angled cables are safer for most types of guitar inputs and are less likely to cause damage by being accidentally ripped out, knocked against, or bent.
- Toughness – angled guitar cables tend to be tougher and last longer than standard straight-jack cables due to their low profile and that they are less likely to be bashed into or pulled out.
- Wrap Around The Strap – angled guitar cables make it much easier to wrap your cable around or through your strap while standing, further preventing damage to your guitar and cable.
- Top-mounted Amp Inputs – angled cables are better than straight cables for top-mounted inputs on amplifiers. They will allow the cable to drop down from the amp more naturally and are less likely to be damaged by sticking out too far from the amp.
- Pedal Board Input – running your guitar into the first pedal on your board with an angled guitar cable is easier than with a straight cable, especially if your pedalboard is cramped or in a tightly fitted gig bag.
- Aesthetics – angled guitar cable simply looks better within a guitar rig than straight cables. They are more streamlined and protrude far less from guitars and other hardware or equipment, making everything look neater.
Cons Of Using An Angled Guitar Cable
The cons of using an angled guitar cable include:
- Do Not work With All Inputs – the inputs that are used for Strat-style guitars do not work well with angled cables, and the connector tends to become jammed within the input. Face-mounted amplifier inputs do not work well for these cables either, as they are more likely to be damaged to damage the amp if the cable is accidentally ripped out of the input.
- Cable Cannot Run Straight Away From Hardware – angled cables run flat from hardware, usually straight down. This is an issue for some rack-mounted hardware that requires the cables to run straight out from the unit they are plugged into. This is also an issue for complicated rigs that use multiple speaker cabinets, amps, or modeling units with foot controllers.
- Availability – angled guitar cables are less commonly available than standard straight cables, and so if these become your preference, they may be more difficult to reliably replace than standard cables.
- Challenging To Repair – straight-jack guitar cable connectors are very easy to repair or replace, and the work is very straightforward. Replacing or repairing an angled-jack cable connector is more challenging and can be frustrating.
Angled guitar cables are used by many guitar players all around the world.
These cables are generally safer to use than straight cables, especially for guitars that have face-mounted input jacks (other than Strat-style input jacks) and amplifiers that have top-mounted inputs.
Angled cables are less likely to be accidentally ripped out of guitars and other equipment, and they are usually much tougher than straight cables.
These cables also look neater and have a lower profile when plugged into guitars and hardware, and they make wrapping the cable through the strap for playing while standing much easier and safer.
At the end of it, both types of cables will work well in any rig, and it comes down to personal preference, but there is no denying that these cables are far safer for almost every type of guitar out there and should be considered for use by every electric guitarist!