Often when at a live show, we will notice the guitarist does not have a cable connecting their guitar to the amp. A relatively uncommon setup that is starting to gain in popularity due to technological advances. So, how do guitarists play wireless?
Guitarists play wireless by using a wireless guitar digital system. This system has two main components: the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter plugs into the guitar’s jack and transmits the analog signal from the guitar into an electrical signal which is received by the receiver and re-converted to the analog signal. This analog signal is outputted by the amp.
Continue reading to find out:
- How do guitarists play wireless?
- How does a wireless guitar work?
- What wireless system do pro guitarists use?
- Does wireless affect guitar tone?
- Best cheap wireless guitar system.
This post contains affiliate links, please review our disclaimer and disclosure policy for more information
How Do Guitarists Play Wireless?
Guitarists play wireless through a wireless digital system. This system works to transmit the signal produced from the guitar to the amp and/or pedal board without using cables. This signal is transferred from the transmitter that plugs into the jack of the guitar to the receiver which is plugged into either the amp or the pedal board.
This system allows guitarists to move about the stage or room without the need for cables. Allowing guitarists to not have to worry about a cable tangling, getting in the way, falling out of the guitar due to being shorted or stepped on, etc.
A great example of the benefits offered by a wireless guitar system is Cory Wong’s performance at Madison Square Garden with Vulfpeck. Here Cory effortlessly moves around the stage and is not constricted by the length of a cable. The wireless system works great for Cory as he is accustomed to moving around and playing alongside other band members, a task that can be made difficult using cables.
How Does a Wireless Guitar Work?
A wireless guitar works via two main parts. The two parts are the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter plugs into the jack of the guitar. The receiver plugs into the input of the pedal board or the amp itself. The transmitter sends the guitar’s electrical signals to the receiver which are then outputted from the amp.
With technology advancing rapidly, these wireless systems are becoming increasingly reliable.
In the past, wireless guitar systems had intricate setup instructions and limited range. Furthermore, they were known to hiccup/crackle occasionally. Because of this, many guitarists swore against them.
Find Out If Guitar Cables Matter Today
Today, these wireless systems can be just as reliable as cables. Even for less expensive models like the one mentioned below, all a guitarist needs to do is plug in the transmitter to the guitar, plug the receiver into the amp or pedal board, turn both on, and you will be playing away. The model below comes charged. The range is reliable and more than most guitarists will need unless you are Roger Waters and you walk around a massive stage.
What Wireless System Do Pro Guitarists Use?
The wireless guitar system that many pro guitarists use is the Sennheiser EW 172 G4. This system is well received by pro guitarists because of its reliability and range on stage. Furthermore, the various tonal options like the cable emulator dial allow professional guitarists to control all aspects of their output.
This wireless system was also voted the Best Wireless Guitar System by Sweetwater. Here they mentioned how:
“For a pro-quality, road-tested system, many guitarists swear by the Sennheiser EW 172 G4. This guitar wireless system employs an impressive 25Hz–18kHz frequency range for a clear, natural sound that retains the tone you’ve worked so hard to perfect. The onboard cable emulator dials in your virtual cable length to achieve the sound that you’re shooting for.”Sweetwater
With a wireless system as reliable and of higher quality, the price increases significantly. The Sennheiser EW 172 G4 runs at a steep price of $679, which for a pro guitarist is well worth it based on the road-tested reliability and performance.
One key attribute of this wireless system that attracts professional guitarists is the expandable capabilities. An attribute that is very attractive to a performing guitarist. This system can link up to 12 receivers.
Does Wireless Affect Guitar Tone?
A wireless digital guitar system does not affect tone. After comparing the playing with a short cable vs. with the wireless system, the tone and sound are almost identical. Thus, no tone degradation was incurred when the wireless system was incorporated.
One thing I did notice is that the wireless tends to sound a little darker, but not worse. Check out Alamo’s comparison here.
In the past, wireless systems may have affected tone. But with today’s technological advances, wireless digital systems have no tone degradation. It should be noted that this analysis was performed with medium to higher-level wireless systems. Although, the majority of even the cheaper wireless systems will not have tone degradation.
Best Cheap Wireless Guitar System
The best cheap wireless guitar system is the Xvive U2 Wireless Guitar System. This is because of its large range of 120ft outside, extended battery life of five hours, light and portable, and superior quality at an affordable price point.
You can purchase this wireless system on Amazon here for $149.
So why is this the best one? Let’s go through some reasons why.
First is the range. The Xvive u2 wireless system can perform well within a range of 120 feet. Now I highly doubt you will need that many feet of range, but in case you did, this wireless guitar system has you covered.
The second is the battery life. This system can last five hours on a single charge and takes roughly 30-60 minutes to charge fully.
Discover What a Guitar Capo is Used For and Its Best Uses
The third is portability. As you will see in the product information linked above, they are small. I play a lot of SRV-style music so my right strumming hand is often moving rapidly and wildly. Not once did I accidentally hit the transmitter, which is something I thought may happen before I put it in.
Fourth is the quality. The sound output and tonality sound the same as if you were using a short cable. There is no delay in the response when playing and it is simply like you were playing with a cable. Check out this video testing it out.
And finally, the 5th is the price. For the price of two higher-quality cable sets, you can get a wireless guitar system with the above attributes. From there, no need to worry about tripping over cables or how the length of your cables affects tone.
Thank you for reading How Do Guitarists Play Wireless. Please subscribe if you would like to be notified when a new article is posted.