6 Best Guitar Capos for Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Finding the right capo to suit your guitar can be quite frustrating. Most of them cause detuning and fret buzz issues, many of them break after a couple uses, and some just don’t fit your guitar at all.
Fret not though, because we’ve got you covered. We’ve researched and compiled a list of the 6 best guitar capos available today, and we’ve got one for every type of guitar aficionado.
Top Picks: 6 Best Guitar Capo Reviews
G7th have been making premium quality guitar accessories like capos since 2004, having received awards for their innovative designs. The Performance 3 ART Capo is the newest in their line of products, offering an improved design that increases tuning stability, with a rock-solid, gorgeous build.
The Performance 3 features G7th’s proprietary new ‘Adaptive Radius Technology’, or ART for short. This consists of a sophisticated spring pad (the part of the capo that touches your strings) that ‘senses’ and adjusts according to the individual tension exerted by each string. This results in a smooth and even pressure across the entire fretboard, so there is no unwanted buzzing or detuning of strings. It also features an easy clutch release, touted as ‘Unique Tension Control’, that makes it easy and effortless to one-handedly place and remove the capo as needed. According to Fingerstyle Guitarist (1):
In use, the Performance 3 is really as good as it gets. It’s simple and intuitive to use while keeping your guitar in tune wherever you place the capo, on whichever guitar you use, buzz-free.
G7th is known for its fantastic build quality, and the Performance 3 features stainless-steel construction that’s robust and durable. The silicon pads prevent any damage to the finish of your guitar, and the tension can be adjusted as needed to make sure it sits right on your guitar. The capo can easily be stored behind the neck when not in use, taking very little space. Plus, it comes with G7th’s lifetime warranty.
If you’re looking for the best guitar capo there is, then the G7th Performance 3 is your answer. It’s definitely more expensive than most capos, but given its features and functionality, it’s more than worth it. With its unique ART system and adjustable tension, it works for any guitar effortlessly and grants greater tuning stability than any other capo. Amateur or professional, the Performance 3 is our top pick for you.
D’Addario is one of the biggest and most popular guitar string manufacturers, and under their Planet Waves brand, they make some of the most innovative and advanced guitar accessories. The Planet Waves NS Capo Lite is their most affordable capo offering, designed to offer an affordable, convenient, and lightweight capo option to guitar players.
The NS Lite is, as per its name, extremely lightweight and compact, and it could easily fit in your pocket. Functionally, it requires two hands to place properly, as you have to first unscrew it, place it on the fret, and then screw it to the appropriate tension. The micrometer screw allows for fast and accurate adjustments, so you can set it accurately to your guitar’s curvature, practically eliminating any fret buzz. If you set the tension right, it won’t cause much detuning either, making it quite stable.
Moving the NS Lite up and down the fretboard in case of live performances and such is not the most ideal, as you’ll have to unscrew it and set the right tension again. It’s built with ABS molded thermoplastic, so it’s quite robust and durable. Owing to its compactness, it can also fit on your guitar’s headstock for easy portability.
If you’re looking for a compact guitar capo on a budget, then the Planet Waves NS Lite is a great option. It offers adjustable tension with its micrometer screw to ensure that there is no fret buzzing or detuning, it’s quite durable, and it’s compact enough to carry wherever you go. Plus, with its lightweight body, it’s the best electric guitar capo.
Thalia makes some of the most exotic and premium-design quality capos as well as other guitar accessories, with exceptional attention to detail. The Thalia 200 Series of capos was designed to offer gorgeous-looking capos built with exotic woods and embroidery, while maintaining efficiency, tuning stability, and build quality.
The 200 Series offers a unique solution to the ‘fretboard radius’ and ‘tuning stability’ issues that plague most capos. Thalia provides a 14 fretpad tuning kit that consists of different fretpads designed for specific fretboard radii, along with a quick start guide that details how you can swap out these fretpads to suit one specifically for your guitar. This makes it very easy to simply customize the capo according to your guitar’s fretboard radius, so there won’t be any detuning issues. According to Tyler Larson from Music Is Win (2):
The coolest part about these capos is that they slide on under the neck, and allow you to quickly move around, switching positions with ease.
Sliding the capo up and down the fretboard is extremely easy, with a preloaded spring that makes it easy to squeeze it open and place it anywhere you like. Thalia offers the 200 Series in a wide range of finishes and inlays, so you can pick one that beautifully complements your guitar. The build quality is fantastic, and it feels sturdy and robust in your hands. You also get a polycarbonate jewel case and a carry pouch to easily and safely carry your capo when traveling.
If you’re looking for the most beautiful, premium guitar capo with custom-designed inlays and finishes, then definitely check out the Thalia 200 Series capo. It is indeed the most expensive capo on this list, but owing its quality, it’s worth it. It’s compact, durable, doesn’t alter your guitar’s tuning, and most of all, it looks simply gorgeous, which isn’t something you expect from a capo, hence making it one of the best capos for guitar.
Creative Tunings is a startup company founded by jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn on the idea of an innovative and revolutionary new capo design that would allow individual strings to be fretted separately, resulting in unique new tunings and combinations. The creation of the SpiderCapo is backed by a story as fascinating as the device itself, and one that brings about many new possibilities in guitar.
The SpiderCapo is a relatively large capo that sits across your entire guitar neck comfortably. It features individual, lever-triggered ‘finger’ pads for each string, essentially meaning that every string has its own capo on top of it. So you can choose precisely which strings you want to put the capo on, and leave the others open, leading to seemingly endless combinations across the fretboard. Operating the SpiderCapo is very easy, and you can quickly flick the finger pads into place as needed, even during live performances.
The SpiderCapo also features an adjustment knob that allows you to adjust the tension to an optimum level, hence it ensures tuning stability. This capo is designed to be placed on your guitar’s neck and stay there; it can comfortably sit at the nut when not in use, without disturbing your playing. Build-wise, it’s quite sturdy with a steel and plastic construction that’s durable and works well enough.
If you’re looking for a capo that allows you to innovate and create new chord shapes and dreamy soundscapes, you should definitely try the Creative Tunings SpiderCapo. Its usage is hassle-free, and it takes the concept of a capo to a whole new level. Fingerstyle guitarists looking to experiment will certainly find solace in this capo
Shubb capos have been one of the most widely used capos all over the world for almost 40 years now due to their reliability and ease-of-use. They have a wide range of capos suited for different types of guitars, and for 12-string guitars with their wide necks and high-tension strings, the Shubb C3 is our weapon of choice.
The Shubb C3 features a unique over-center locking mechanism that’s easy and quick to use in practice. The design of the capo is such that it clamps on the strings similar to a human hand, with a soft rubber pad that acts like your fingertips and doesn’t bend the strings out of tune when placed on the fretboard. Placing and removing the capo is easily done with the simple flick of a lever that doesn’t require much force.
For 12-string guitars, the Shubb C3 has a long fingerpad and a higher tension to easily accommodate the wider neck. In terms of build quality, the C3 is built with strong and durable stainless steel, with different finishing options like nickel brass. It’s slightly bigger than some other capos, but it feels robust and comfortable in hand, and it can fit on your guitar’s headstock as well.
If you’ve got a 12-string guitar, then the Shubb C3 is the best option for you. It’s built exceptionally well, very easy to use, durable, and won’t cause any tuning instability or buzzing issues like many others. It’s built specifically for the extra tension on 12-string acoustics, making it the best capo for acoustic guitar.
The second D’Addario entry on this list, the NS Artist DADGAD Capo is a partial capo designed to simulate a DADGAD tuning on a standard-tuned guitar, as well as opening up other tuning possibilities. The ‘NS’ here stands for Ned Steinberger, the renowned creator of headless guitars.
The NS Artist features a standard trigger-style spring-clamp type capo design found in most capos. As it’s a partial capo, the fingerpad portion is very small, so it can only cover 3 strings at a time. On a regular six-string guitar, it can cover either 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings together to simulate a DADGAD tuning (when placed on the second fret), or the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings together. It features a micrometer tension adjustment screw that allows you to precisely adjust the pressure applied by the capo for smooth, buzz-free playing and without any tuning stability issues.
The trigger-style makes it easy to move the capo around the fretboard with just one hand, whenever required. The NS Artist is made of aircraft-grade aluminum so it’s designed to last a long time, and it can handle rough usage easily. They’ve also integrated a pick holder, so you can place your capo on the headstock when not in use and keep your picks on it, as well as a mounting bracket for the NS Micro Tuner, which is extremely handy for live usage. It’s relatively compact, so it can fit into gig bags and even smaller pockets quite easily.
If you’re looking for a 3-string partial capo to simulate DADGAD tuning, or just experiment in other ways, then the D’Addario NS Artist DADGAD Capo is for you. It’s a well-built capo with an easy-to-use mechanism as well as a precise tension adjustment screw and even features an integrated pick holder, making it a great all-rounder.
Buying Guide: How To Pick The Guitar Capo That Works Best For You
Buying the right capo can be quite a tricky conundrum since there are so many different types available on the market, each suited to different purposes. Plus, the problem of your guitar’s fretboard radius can be a major concern for tuning stability, and that’s why we’ve made this guide for you, so you can consider all the essential things before spending your hard-earned money.
Capos come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to differentiate between the major types of capos (3):
- Trigger-Style Capos: These capos feature spring-loaded mechanisms that can quickly and easily be clamped onto a guitar neck with one hand just by pulling on the trigger and placing it appropriately. However, many trigger-style capos don’t have tension adjustability, so if there are any tuning or buzzing problems, it can be hard to fix.
- Screw-On Capos: These capos feature a screw instead of a trigger, so you have to unscrew the capo first, place it on the appropriate fret, and screw it on tightly. Since the tension is adjustable, you can set just the right amount of tension that won’t cause any problems. However, these are much slower to use due to the screwing action, and generally require two hands.
- Unique Capos: Some capos feature more unique and proprietary mechanisms for dealing with the fretboard and tension adjustability. For e.g., the G7th Performance 3 features a unique one-handed tension control system that’s very easy to use, and the SpiderCapo features proprietary ‘fingerpads’ that act as individual capos.
If you’d like to place the capo on fast, try trigger-style capos. But if you’d like to adjust the tension precisely, choose screw-on capos.
Hence, you should pick a capo that effectively allows you to place and remove it as needed, without causing any tuning instability or buzzing problems.
Another major point to consider is the capo’s suitability towards your type of guitar. Most capos are built for 6-string acoustic and electric guitars. But even so, guitars do come in different shapes and sizes, and fretboards vary a lot based on their different radii and the string gauges being used. Hence, some capos might work better specifically for your guitar than others.
If you’re using a 12-string acoustic, or perhaps a 7 or even an 8-string electric, then you need a capo designed to handle the increase in tension.
Many manufacturers build separate versions of their capos for different types of guitars, so you should choose one that’s appropriate. If possible, it’s always a good idea to try a capo on your guitar at a local store to be sure it works efficiently without causing any problems.
Material And Durability
If you want a capo that’s going to last years, then you should definitely pick a capo built with strong metal construction like aluminum or stainless steel, which are also slightly heavier. Many capos are made with ABS plastic and other materials that do work well in practice and are very lightweight, but over time they may break due to the excess stress imposed on them. Hence, pick one based on your priority: whether you want a lightweight capo, or a heavier but more durable one.
No, capos are not bad for guitars. Capos are designed keeping a guitar’s neck profile and tension in mind, so they do not cause any harm. They apply tension similar to a human hand, so that the strings are clamped hard enough without causing any undue stress. However, it’s not recommended to leave a capo on 24×7, as it may cause neck tension changes.
No, capos do not fit all guitars. Guitars come in a variety of sizes and with a variable number of strings. With a different number of strings or a wide fretboard, the neck tension changes, and hence it is crucial to choose a capo that applies the appropriate tension to achieve a smooth result and prevent any harm to your guitar.
If a guitar capo isn’t available, but you urgently require it for something, then it is possible to make a capo with a pencil and some rubber bands. Simply placing the pencil right ahead of the fret, and clamping it down with several rubber bands to provide sufficient tension on the strings can work as a capo. However, this is not recommended as a crude design like this can likely damage your guitar’s fretboard.
Your guitar sounds out of tune with a capo likely because the capo is applying too much tension on the guitar’s neck. This causes the strings to be pulled down, thus bending them out of tune. In such cases, either adjust the tension on your capo, or else, get a capo that is precisely built to work with your specific guitar and provide just the necessary tension.
- G7th Performance 3 Review. Retrieved from: https://www.jamesbartholomewmusic.com/g7th-performance-3-review
- Best Guitar Capo Ever. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/QyRSSRj7wm8?t=93
- Capo Buying Guide. Retrieved from: https://reverb.com/guide/buying-guide-capos