Guitar Capos

Almost all the guitar capos made in the Western world are described here,

with links to their manufacturers, major online retailers, 

and exactly where you can buy each one of them at the lowest price !


   I hope this site will help you decide upon a capo you like. Not every dealer has every model. Our research on the eight of the biggest USA online retailers' offerings and their prices should get you the best possible deal.

   My name is John, and I play guitar. In the past couple decades I have tried out most of these capodastros myself, either in friendly local music stores or as an owner and user of many capos. I am also relying on many user reviews that are found around the 'net. While I am enthusiastic about capos in general, the advantages and disadvantages of these various models of capos are briefly given with an honest attempt at impartiality.

   If capos are new to you, please have a quick look at our History page.

   If you already know what capo you want, and just want to know the best price, go directly to the Descriptions page.


Why use a capodastro ?

In a word, modulation.

   Perhaps you have learned some 20 or more chord fingerings played near the guitar's nut : C,A,G,E,D, their minors and dominant 7ths, and a few more. While you can modulate to any key using the index finger as a bar, the barred chord leaves you with just three other fingers with limited mobility to form the chord. Most of your 20 fingerings will be impossible, or you can only play them using 3 or 4 strings. You might as well play a big ukelele!

  Useful 4-finger chord fingerings such as extended chords and most diminished, suspended, augmented and Jazz chords simply cannot be played by barring with the index finger, nor played at all without the capo, unless masterfully arpeggiated.

   There are so many occasions to modulate keys nowadays! Tunes that change keys in mid-song, or getting in tune with your accompanying singer or brass instruments. Must you retune your guitar each time, or have a few guitars at hand, tuned to different notes of the scale?! Many guitarists have resorted to bar-chording everything, within the limitations described above.

    A better idea is just tune your guitar once, and use a capo when needed. The capo will replace the guitar's nut for any and every key, and you can still use all the fingerings you know. When the need to modulate key arises, just quickly shift the capo's position.

   Whatever style of guitar you own, you should have one or more good capos to complete your instrument. The capo is a powerful tool. Its correct use demands a great deal of knowledge and expertise, while opening up a world of new chords and musical possibilities!

   For a peek into this world, see our diagrams of dozens of guitar Chords that can only be modulated using a capo.


Important factors

   Besides the price, there are several other important things to consider when selecting your capo, in order of importance, below.

   Can the capo damage your guitar? Beware exposed metal parts, especially sharp angles and corners. Metal should never make contact with your guitar. Offenders are the old Hamilton, the Glider, and the cheaper toggle types. Beware bare metal edges!

    Is the capo for flat or radiused necks? Classical and many acoustic fretboards are flat. Electrics and some other acoustics have fretboards curved upwards along the center-line with a radius of 18 inches (46cm) to 11 inches (28cm) or even much less for some vintage electrics. Classical guitars have much wider necks than electrics. There are many varieties in between. Know your guitar neck's width and radius, and select your capo accordingly. Many capos will not effectively manage 12-string guitars. Paige and a few other makers have models specifically for 12-string.

   How fast can it change position? During many performances, you will want to modulate keys quickly. Of course, the rolling and sliding capos are by far the best in this regard. The one-hand clamps and triggers are next best.

   Does it impede your fretting hand? The capo's dimensions above the fret-board and over the treble-side may impede your chording hand. The Shubb and Russell types are among the best in this regard. Some capos seek to accommodate both slender electric necks and wide acoustic necks, and so will extend too far to treble-side when using an electric guitar.

   Can the compression of the strings be adjusted? While every capo is designed to produce good tone out near the nut, the neck of the guitar is wider and thicker toward the body, and hence the capo may be very tight nearer the guitar's body. Many elastic or spring varieties have no means to adjust. To correct this, some fixed capos have ratchet, clutch, or screw adjustments. A clutch or ratchet can make this adjustment quickly. A screw adjustment takes some time, but it is most accurate of all.

   What material is pressing down your strings?  It affects your tone. Most capos use a durable hard plastic, like polyurethane. This may be fine for many guitarists, but options are available. Some capos use softer, less durable material, such as artificial rubber that more closely resembles the human finger. Shubb and 6to Dedo use such softer materials and are the only manufacturers that offer inexpensive replacement sleeves.

   Will the capo affect your tuning? Always place the capo as close behind the fret as you can. A variety with a bottom-placed screw-adjustment is best, if slow. The Shubb and Hamilton, among others, compress from the bottom with screw adjustment. Elastic-attached capos are next best. The models with very strong fixed compression, like the spring clamps, change tuning a tiny bit sharper. C-clamps are generally adjustible from one side of the neck, but should set be very tight or the compression will not be the same on every string, and the guitar will become slightly out-of-tune. But capos do not make that great a difference in the tuning if one considers hard picking and string bending so often used in a modern performance.

   Is the capo sturdy enough to survive abuse, or even ordinary use? The old Russell style elastic band capos are cheap and inevitably fray away, we know. But we want our more expensive model capos to last many years. Brass screws become stripped, spring steel becomes lax, and whatever touches the strings becomes misshapen and grooved. Certain capos are much better than others and will be useful for decades.

   Will I lose or misplace the little thing? After paying $20 or more for your capo, you hate to lose it. That can happen too often, and this might become an emergency for a performer. The Paige and some others can be loosened and slid back over the pegboard when not in use. If you have a hip pocket, the Quick-Draw or Dunlop Russell slips right in. The 6to Dedo comes with a small zipped hard case that clips onto a belt-loop.



If you are searching for your capo, and the best price, go on now to our Description page.


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