Frequently Asked Questions
About Acoustic Guitar


What Types of Capos are Available?

The capo is a device that lets you change the key to which your instrument is tuned, without retuning.  Simply slap it into place, and voila, you're ready to go.  Capos are often used to allow you to change keys, but still utilize open strings.  For example, you can play the chords F#, B, and C#7 simply by placing the capo on the second fret and playing the basic E, A, and B7 chords.

Capos come in 3 basic types. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. They are outlined below, and makers of each type are given.

Elastic Capos
These are the least expensive capos you can buy, but also have the shortest expected lifespan.  They are basically a piece of rubber-coated metal rod with a piece of elastic attached.  Simply put the rod at the fret you want, and pull the elastic band as tight as you need.  If you are going to use one of these, make sure it has a heavy elastic band, so it will hold firm, and last longer.  Some makers of elastic capos include: Bill Russell, Jim Dunlop, and Third Hand.

Clamp Capos
This type of capo clamps onto the fretboard and has an adjustable "thumb screw" that allows you to select the proper tension more precisely than an elastic capo.  This type of capo also allows you to do partial tunings, by only clamping it across the strings you want capoed.  For example you can achieve dropped-D tuning from standard tuning by capoing the 2-6 strings at the second fret and leaving the 1 string uncapoed.  This capo is a little slower to get into place than an elastic capo, but is more versatile.  Makers of clamp style capos include: Shubb, Saga Golden Gate, Victor, and Kyser.

U-Shaped Capos
This type of capo is a flat rubber-coated surface with a U-shaped metal bar that hinges around your guitar neck, and is adjusted using a thumb- screw.  It has the advantage of applying even pressure across the whole neck, but is slower to get into position than the elastic or clamp style capos.  Makers of U-shaped capos include: Picker's Pal, Paige, Baldy Brothers, and Golden Gate. Here's a link to more information.

Check out the Sterner Capo Museum for more.

Check Musician's Friend for their list of available Capos

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