To put it mildly, the history of the guitar has been quite dynamic. For the vast majority of the instrument’s history, its operation was simple: pluck the correct string while holding the correct fret to get the correct sound. In the early 20th century, the advent of the electric guitar and amplifier complicated things, as now a guitar player’s rig required a minimum of three pieces (electric guitar, amplifier, and a cable). For most of the history of the electric guitar, this third component, the cable, was largely ignored. Because a cable doesn’t actively process or alter the sound, any sonic traces this piece of equipment leaves are quite subtle and easily enveloped by the high noise floors of vintage gear. Modern audio equipment, however, makes hearing the differences between cables a relatively simple affair, and as such various specialty cables exist to suit the needs of players of different styles. Though numerous companies now sell cables, and one of the more popular is Spectraflex. This American company was founded 27 years ago and holds the distinction as the inventors of the “braided cable,” which are colloquially referred to as tweed cables by players despite only occasionally being made of actual tweed. Spectraflex’s tweed cables come in a variety of different types, including the Fatso Flex.
While certain elements of sound quality will always remain subjective, the vast majority of users find themselves pleased with the sonic capabilities of the Fatso Flex. Players typically praise the cable’s uncanny ability to exactly recreate the tone coming from their guitar. This results from the Fatso Flex’s ultra-low levels of capacitance (~ 39 pf/ft). To explain this in simpler terms, the capacitance of a cable can be thought of as the amount of total electricity that the cable can hold within itself at any given moment. When an instrument sends a signal through the cable, it mixes with the electricity stored within the cable, altering the signal present at the output of the cable. Therefore, the lower a cable’s capacitance, the more accurately it transmits the sound. This phenomenon particularly affects high-frequency signals and harmonics. For this reason, the low capacitance rating of the Fatso Flex can assure players that the delicate high-frequency harmonics that give character to their sound will be extremely accurately reproduced and preserved.
With a name like Fatso Flex, one might correctly assume that this cable feels very durable and rugged. In short, it’s one thick beast. The heavy duty nature of the Fatso Flex stems primarily from the aforementioned tweed shielding surrounding the Fatso Flex. In comparison to a rubber jacket of similar strength, the braided jacket offers a much wider range of motion. When considering both the superior flexibility and improved protection offered by a tweed jacket, it’s easy to see why Spectraflex prides themselves on bringing this product to the market.
One of the more interesting attributes of the Fatso Flex (and other Spectraflex products) are the wide variety of stitching patterns available. The player may choose between thirteen different designs, though few stores besides Spectraflex’s online store typically stock all thirteen designs in any of the six available colors. These options include violet, black, blue, green, red, and tweed. Unfortunately, the downside of purchasing from Spectraflex directly is that you typically pay full retail price. You can usually get a better deal somewhere like Amazon.com.
In addition to the design of the cable, potential customers need also consider the usage of their cable. The Fatso Flex comes in nine different lengths ranging from nine inches to twenty-five feet. Furthermore, players must choose between straight tips, right-angled tips, or a mixture of the two. The wide range of options available indicates that Spectraflex highly encourages personalization of their products. It should be noted that none of their personalization options are decidedly better than any other. They really are just a matter of personal preference.
All in all, it’s hard not to think the Spectraflex Fatso Flex cable is a great value. It delivers on both of the most important characteristics of a cable, sound quality and durability. Additionally, the Fatso Flex gets a huge bonus for offering a wide selection of color and pattern options. What’s not to love?