There’s no denying the sexiness of playing a musical instrument. There’s just something photogenic about a long-haired rocker wielding a golden Les Paul, plugged into a towering Marshall stack. If you like that aesthetic for yourself or your band, you’ll need to get everything right down to the smallest details. To get that truly classic look, you’ll want to use antique pedals and gear, and choose a cable that fits the image. For many guitarists, that cable is the CBI Gold Rush. This inexpensive cable sports golden tips and a tweed jacket with gold highlights. All in all, the cable looks quite handsome, but does its functionality match its appearance? Over the course of the following review, we’ll dive into just that question, looking first at the most important attribute of any cable…
CBI proudly touts that its Gold Rush cables are the “cables of choice of the Gibson Custom Shop,” which admittedly is an impressive claim. Fortunately, the performance of the Gold Rush series lives up to this claim. These cables are remarkably clear, offering an unaltered and genuine representation of the sound source. Most users report little to no issues with buzzing or feedback, though some have experienced these problems after subjecting the cable to heavy use. It’s important to note that while this cable will suit the needs of 95% of users, it is positioned as a low-cost economy cable. Professional recording studios and artists that require the most pristine sound possible are advised to skip this cable in favor of a more high end guitar cable. For the rest of us, however, the CBI Gold Series should more than suit its purpose.
In the hand, the CBI Gold Rush cables are remarkably stiff to the point where you may have to manually unravel them. This makes the cable perfect for use plugged into a pedal board or amplifier that doesn’t move positions very often. The tough tweed jacket also offer a layer of physical protection to the cable. If you need a cable which needs not to bend abruptly, the CBI Gold Rush is one of your best bets in terms of build quality.
The centerpiece of the Gold Rush, of course, is the golden tips on the cable. The company states that these tips are gold-plated G&H Bigfoot 1/4” connectors, which are widely regarded to be one of the finer connectors on the market. These attractive tips offer a classy feel to the cable, which define the niche CBI is seeking: a low-cost yet vintage class cable that performs well.
One of the downsides of the CBI Gold Rush is the inability to choose more than one tweed pattern as easily as you could with some of the Spectraflex cables. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t options; 9 different patterns exist in the Gold Rush line. However, few websites allow users to select which pattern they want, as all of the skews are typically listed as one product. Obviously, if you’re lucky enough to find this cable in your local music store, you’ll have a choice in the patterns, but there’s nothing guaranteeing the pattern you want will be in stock. Note that the choice of pattern is entirely cosmetic and has no effect on the functionality of the cable.
Another downside to the Gold Rush series is the lack of right angled heads. However, the cable is available in a variety of lengths, including 10, 15, 20, and 25 foot lengths. The price variation between lengths is typically around $2 and can easily be had on large sites such as Amazon.com. As of the writing of this article, the CBI Gold Rush cables are not available as a patch cable, but this may change in the future.
Although the stiff construction, relatively impersonal cosmetics, and lack of angled tips might drive off some consumers, by and large the CBI Gold Rush fulfills its function and does so with class. The cable typically costs around $20, which places it squarely in the budget end of the guitar cable spectrum. Just from looking and listening, however, one would never guess this, as this crisp sounding cable looks, feels, and sounds fantastic. In all, this cable is a great value for guitarists seeking a vintage image with high quality performance.