I've currently got six pedals in a chain and will be adding a few more shortly but was wondering at what point the length of the chain will start affecting the tone?

Also how much of an impact do patch cables have as well - I'm currently using these which are Planet Waves but they weren't hugely expensive :

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The quality of pedals matters more than how many you have. The longer your chain, the more highs you'll lose. You can fix the issue by adding in more highs with an EQ pedal, or using active pickups.

Also remember that your entire chain is only as good as the weakest link. One bad cable will defeat the purpose of any good cables you have.
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the longer your cable(s) run, the more your tone degrades. true/buffered bypasses have an effect, as do effects loops (which are often buffered)
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Cheers guys - so if a pedal doesn't have 'true bypass' it's effectively degrading your signal somewhat?
It's not that simple. A super long run of cable or a long run of true bypass pedals will degrade the signal eventually. A true bypass pedal (when it's off) is essentially a couple inches of cable, from an electrical perspective. A good buffer is useful; a bad buffer is way worse than no buffer at all. Things like the Boss delay pedals have awful buffers that really mess up your treble.

To "drive" the cable, you need to either have a pedal on or have a buffer. Two buffers is a redundancy, and having too many will start to mess up your signal, too, because you've got too many filters going on. A buffer is essentially a clean boost set to just a hair above 0, so you can imagine that running through three of four of those (especially from different brands, with conflicting EQ responses) might make your rig sound weird.

The best solutions, IMO:
-With any length of chain, simply have a pedal on. If you've got a pedal on, you're driving everything after it. If you have 6 pedals and 20 feet of cable after it, perhaps just driving that last cable with the reverb pedal you always have on anyway will take care of the problem.
-If you have a short pedal chain, don't do anything. Often 6 pedals just aren't enough to cause a problem.
-With a longer chain, have a pedal looper to remove the whole chain when you're not using it.
-Also with a longer chain, have a single buffered pedal early on in the chain to drive the rest.
To be honest I always have the compressor on so that should cover things really. Thanks for the advice