SnapJack Guitar Cable

The seemingly less-than-exotic SnapJack cable was nonetheless one of the show-stoppers at the Summer NAMM show in Austin, Texas. In fact, it won a Best In Show Award in the “Gotta Stock It” category. Taking a cue from the Apple MacBook MagSafe power adapter, the SnapJack uses magnetism to hold the cable’s jack housing and input-jack tip together. Basically, the tip snaps right off, muting the signal from guitar to amp with no hums, pops, or other noises.

The killer app for this tool is switching guitars without having to turn down your guitar volume and put your amp on standby. You also don’t have to buy a guitar-switching box. All you need is the SnapJack cable ($53 retail for 15 feet; $57 retail for 20 feet) and some extra jack tips ($29 retail for two). You just run the cable to your amp, and insert the jack tips into your guitars. When you want to switch from, say, your Tele to your SG, you snap off the jack from the Telecaster, and snap it on the SG’s jack. Easy. It would be nice to have an all-in-one set available for at least two guitars, but for now, the cable and additional tips are sold separately.

If you’re thinking the tip might fall off every time you do one of your stunning stage moves, don’t worry—this isn’t a cheap magnetic toy. The neodymium magnet is so strong that none of the GP editors could break off the tip by tugging it straight on. The only way the connection can be easily broken is to crack the jack at an angle—like breaking a twig—and even that operation requires a tiny bit of effort. When I ran the cable under my guitar strap, a series of aggressive moves—including stepping on the cable and jerking my guitar skyward—couldn’t induce the SnapJack to unsnap.

However, if you run with an accident-prone crowd that tends to trip over speaker cables and guitar cords, the SnapJack is designed to detach under swift, extensive tension. I tested this claim by parking my Fender Strat in a guitar stand, and running a conventional cable across the room. When I kicked the cable, the guitar was wrenched from the stand, and it slammed to the floor. That wasn’t exactly unexpected. When I did the same test with the SnapJack, the jack tip separated, leaving the Strat safely in its stand. The guitar didn’t even wobble.

Construction-wise, the SnapJack is well appointed. The connector is gold plated, and the jack housing is a nickel-plated metal shell. The PVC-jacketed cable includes an oxygen-free copper conductor protected by a polyethylene insulation wrap and helical-braided shielding. I plugged several different mid- to high-end cables from my Strat into a Marshall MG50DFX, and from a PRS Paul Allender into a hand-wired Vox AC15, and the SnapJack’s sonic quality matched the comparison cables in clarity, articulation, and signal level.

Even knowing what the SnapJack is designed to do, it’s still pretty freaky how graveyard quiet it gets when you break the jack connection. It’s dead silent. This is definitely one of the hippest ways to change guitars onstage. It’s even a cool move if you want to shut down your guitar immediately when you’re across the room from your amp. Need to answer your cell phone? Just snap off the jack. The SnapJack is an ingenious little gizmo that can make your guitar-playing life a bit more trouble-free. And that’s a beautiful thing, jack!

Kudos Totally silent when jack connection is broken.

Concerns Additional input jack tips not provided with cable.

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