Every guitarist should have a capo in their gig bag. They are incredibly versatile little gadgets and if you are stuck in a rut playing the same thing all the time there is nothing like a capo to break the cycle and provide inspiration on a tired theme.
There are certainly no shortage of options when looking for a capo but although they all do essentially the same job there is a big different in how they go about it and consequently how well they perform. So here is our guide to what we consider to be the top three capos on the market at the moment. We have tested all three ourselves and used each one on a variety of acoustic guitars. None of these are “sponsored” products so we gain nothing by promoting one over another. This is purely based on how we found them in use.
Our Top 3 Capos:
G7TH Performance 2. This is the smaller, sleeker version of the original ‘Performance’ model and is just as well made with a very solid feel to it. It is so well built that each G7th Performance 2 comes with a lifetime warranty so that pretty much says it all. Also the G7th Performance 2 combines the best of both worlds in that it is a clip on capo but also has tension adjustment.
Like the Thalia capo the G7th Performance 2 can be clipped on with one hand although in our experience you may want to use two hands just to make sure it is fully seated properly. It really depends on how strong your fretting hand is but basically if you can fret a bar chord you can use this one handed. It works by placing the capo in position on the fretboard and then you fix it in place with a pinching motion, squeezing the front and back together. This locks the capo in place. To release the capo there is a small lever type mechanism on the back but basically it is the same pinching motion. So, very easy to put on and take off. The contact pad is made from silicon rubber which is inert so it won’t react with the strings or finish on your guitar and the capo itself comes in 3 finishes, Silver, Black and Gold and there are versions for classical and steel string guitars.
Whilst the G7th Performance 2 is on the pricier side for capos at around £32 it is in my opinion one of the best capos you can buy and it would make a wonderful gift for any guitarist.
The Paige ‘Clik’. This looks like a very simple capo and indeed it is but it is also very clever and makes a lot of sense. You see unlike all those spring loaded clip on capos out there the Paige ‘Clik’ never puts your guitar out of tune. All spring loaded capos have a fixed pressure applied to the strings. They are a “one size fits all” arrangement but as most guitarists know, not all guitars are the same. There are different fretboard profiles, string gauges and fret heights to consider. On some guitars a clip on capo will be fine but on others the amount of pressure on the strings will put the intonation out and that means you can only realistically play within a few frets of the capo before you sound very much out of tune!
The Paige ‘Clik’ gets around this problem because it doesn’t use a spring. You clamp it onto the fretboard and then tension it with a screw on the back. This means you can finely adjust it to just the right amount of pressure to clamp the strings down without putting the guitar out of tune. To release the capo you simple squeeze a button and the pressure is off. It looks simple, it is simple and it works which probably explains why it has been in production since the 1950’s and has been used by some of the biggest names in the guitar world.
The Thalia Capo from thaliacapos.com. If you are going to use a purely spring loaded clamp on type capo this is probably one of the best. Certainly not cheap but they look great, they work well and to some extent they have mitigated the issues with the different fretboard radius you find on some guitars by having the pressure pad “unclip” and be replaceable with a selection of pads to suit most guitars.
There are also two material options for the pressure pads. Hardened rubber and Teflon. The rubber pads are what we are all used to but the teflon pads allow the capo to slide up and down the neck without releasing the clamp. This turns it into not just a capo but a performance tool. There are also half capo options for when you want to clamp some strings and not others. Thalia Capos come in all sorts of colours and you can even specify your own engraving. If you want a clip on type capo this is definitely one of the better options.
For more info and about capos and all sorts of guitar talk why not drop by our forum. We would love to see you there!