Cloth Covered Wire Vs PVC
This is an age old argument, but does it really make a noticeable difference in your tone? Why Do we see cloth used in guitars?
In the late 40's and early 50's, when electric guitars were in their infancy, cloth wire was the common wire in use. In fact, it wasn't just in guitars.... it was in everything. PVC was mostly being used at the end of World War 2 in navy applications, because the commonly used cloth was not waterproof. It was not common to see it in consumer electronics for quite some time because of cost.
The reason cloth covered wire was used at the time was because of cost and availability. Is it better than PVC, PTFE, or Teflon covered wire that we use now? No not really.
Wire Quality Matters
Wire quality DOES matter. If the quality of the conductor is subpar, there can be higher resistance and capacitance and tone loss. Most wire from the popular guitar hardware outlets is probably going to be fine. Remember, we are only using a foot or less of wire in our guitars.
Cloth Vs PVC insulation
You have probably heard people talk about the dielectric properties of PVC insulation being terrible and if you use it in your guitar, you will suffer tone loss. While PVC is on the lower end of the quality spectrum for insulation, this doesn't mean it is bad for this application.
Any time electricity moves through a wire, some of it gets lost along the way in the form of heat. This is compounded by the amount of voltage and current present in the conductor.
The quality of the insulation is measured by it's ability to minimize this loss and keep more energy in the wire. In a guitar we are dealing with both current and voltage requirements far below the limits if PVC or cloth as an insulator. This is true almost to the point of being immeasurable. While the data sheets may show one being better than the other, this is testing them at their limits. A guitar never even gets close.
Watch the video below for more information on wire types, twists, and other tips that will do your tone some wiring good.
Wire gauge is something I overlooked in this post. I can address it in my next FAQ day.
what about something on wire gauge ?