If you are not familiar with what a Capo is and why one is used, or which one to choose to best fit your playing style and needs, have no fear, and read on!
A capo, short for the Italian “capotasto”, "capo d'astro", or "capo tasto", which means “head of the fret board” is a small device that is clamped onto the neck of a guitar just behind the desired fret in order to raise the pitch of the guitar strings by shortening the string length. The use of a capo allows a guitarist to transpose a song to a higher key while maintaining their initial tuning and still use the original chord shapes.
So right now you’re probably thinking, “what’s there to think about when choosing a capo? You clamp it on where you want it and play. Right? Pretty simple”
Well, yes it is that simple, but not before you choose the right capo in order to ensure that it remains that simple.
When you go to choose a capo, make sure that:
- It is a capo that you can maneuver easily, and is one that will clamp evenly across the fretboard.
- Consider the type of guitar you ar playing. Acoustic, Electric, 12-string, 7-string, 8-string, bass…etc., as this will narrow your choices in choosing the capo that is best suited for your instrument.
- Determine if you fretboard is flat (most are) or radiused (rounded). Choosing a capo that matches the curvature of your fretboard will ensure that all of the strings are properly clamped down to get the best sound possible.
The Best Capo In The World - For Almost Any Stringed Instrument
Before we get into the different types of capo's and which is best for you and your instrument, we figured we would address just about everyone's needs, and bring your attention to the Thalia 200 Series Guitar Capo.
The one Capo to outdo them all! - The Thalia 200 Series Capo.
For the 6, 7, 8, & 12 string, acoustic, electric, classical, flat or radiused fretboard, and even banjo player; the Thalia 200 Series Capo is the Cadillac of Capos.
It can handle and adapt to any of the instruments listed above, and will give you the best fit and best sound quality of any capo on the market. The only thing it can't do is give you the versatility of a partial, or spider capo (featured below).
The Thalia 200 series Capo may be a bit more expensive than most, but it’s style (you can get it in a vast number of different finishes, including 24k gold), and more importantly, it’s ability, by way of 14 different interchangeable fret pads, to offer uniquely superior performance across a variety of instruments make it well worth the price.
Oh yeah, it also comes with a lifetime guarantee, as well as a 30-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee. For the serious guitarist, the Thalia Series 200 is an obvious choice.
Different Types of Guitar Capo's
The Clutch Capo clamps onto your guitar’s neck close to the fret. Typically it takes two hands to install and remove, but once on, they ae typically very secure. Clutch Capo's, like the one pictured above, while utilizing the same mechanism of attaching to the guitar's neck may look a bit different. If it's a clutch capo you're after, make sure it is specified in the product description.
Top Three Best Clutch Capo's
Sometimes to referred to as a “Lever” capo, The Trigger Capo, like the one above, works by squeezing the handle, placing in the right position, and letting it squeeze down on the neck and fretboard. These are very easy to use, require only one handed operation. Very secure, but a bit more likely to get knocked loose if you get too crazy, but the ease of use outweighs this risk by a longshot.
Top Three Best Trigger Capo's
Just like it sounds, a partial capo only clamps down some of the strings, as opposed to barring all strings across the fretboard on the same fret. Partial capos can be extremely versatile in mimicking alternate tunings, or even creating custom tunings, especially when a musician uses two or more at different places on the fretboard.
Top Three Best Partial Capo's
The Most Versatile Partial Guitar Capo
The Spider Capo
If it’s true versatility you’re after, the Spider Capo may be for you! The Spider Capo can be used like a standard capo or a partial capo. The reason it can do this is because instead of using a straight bar to cover all strings on a fret (standard capo), or only two or three strings on a fret (partial capo), is because the Spider Capo uses “Fingers” that you can set into place to select which strings you want to fret. Great for guitar and bass guitar! Read the full review here.
Make sure your capo doesn’t bend your strings, as this will make your guitar sound out of tune. With most modern capos, this can easily be corrected by slightly adjusting the capo’s position on the nex=ck and fretboard, making fne tuning adjustments to your guitar after the capo is in place, or both.
A capo can get in the way of your fretting hand. When choosing a capo, look it over to determine if it’s size and shape will interfere with your fretting hand. Depending on the individual players’ technique, you will note that some players place their capo on the top of the neck, and some place theirs capo on the bottom of the neck. This is all about preference and ensuring that your capo does not interfere with your playing.
When placing your capo in the desired position on your guitar’s neck and fretboard, pay attention to any non-padded surfaces that might damage your guitar. There’s nothing worse than unknowingly damaging your guitar when this damage could have easily been avoided. Furthermore, damaging the neck or fretboard of a guitar has a higher potential to negatively affect the guitar’s sound and performance, as opposed to getting a gouge or large scratches on the guitar’s body.
Hopefully this guide has helped you to determine the capo that is right for you, your unique playing style, and you unique instrument.
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