Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big capo test 2021. Here we present all the capos we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best capo for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a capo.




Summary

  • The capo is a kind of clamp for your stringed instrument, which increases the sound of your strings. Some locking mechanisms allow operation with only one hand, others do not.
  • Basically, there is a difference between capo for a straight fretboard or a curved fretboard, depending on your instrument.
  • It is used when you have to adapt your guitar to a given vocal part or key, when you want to play a very difficult piece and when you want to discover a new timbre of your instrument.

The Best Capo: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying a capo

What is a capo?

The term capo comes from the Italian "capotasto" meaning "main fret", English "capo". It is a type of clamp for stringed instruments (guitar, mandolin, lute, banjo, ukulele) that is used to shorten the length of the vibrating strings, thus raising the pitch of all the strings. Capos fit the instrument to the singing voice.

What special types of capo are there?

In addition to the conventional capodasters, there are 2 special types. The Partial-Capo (cut capo) and the Third-hand capo. The normal capo includes all the strings of a guitar, while the Partial capo only covers a part of the strings. There are different versions where the capo only raises 3 strings, 4 strings or 5 strings. With the Third-hand capo the pitch of each individual string can be determined specifically. That is why it is also called Third-Hand-Capo because it acts like a third hand.

When do I use a capo?

When you need to adapt your guitar to a given vocal part or key By using a capo, you can easily raise your pitch without the hassle of transposing chords to a different key or playing difficult chords.
Did you know that a good capo should be detune-free? Ideally, the pressure that the capo exerts on the strings can be adjusted. This way, the guitar always sounds optimal.

If you would like to play a very difficult piece, but the chords are still toodifficult Then you can play the piece with easier chords and adjust the pitch with the capo. If you want to discover a new timbre of your instrument. Just use a capo and play in the same key, even in pairs.

A capo is suitable for various purposes. The primary purpose of the device is to shorten the length of the strings in order to be able to play certain pieces of music without awkward fingerings or transposition. (Image source: pixabay.com / FidesP)

Who is the capo suitable for?

The capo is suitable for beginners as well as for advanced players. For the beginner, it simplifies the process, and for the advanced player, it opens up new possibilities for musical development.

What does a capo cost?

The price of a capo can vary greatly - from a cheap capo for a few euros to a professional capo in the 2-digit price segment. The prices depend mainly on the material. We have identified the following categories and would like to present them to you in a table:

Capo Description Price
Capodaster made of plastic This kind of capodaster is quite suitable for beginners, but it quickly becomes brittle and is tied around the fingerboard and tightened with a plastic lever. This can cause the capo to be attached too tightly to the guitar and damage the guitar neck. Under €10
Capodaster made of metal Better finished models made of metal (e.g. nickel) are suitable for beginners and advanced players and have a much longer life. They are simply clamped around the fingerboard and can be operated with one hand. A locking spring makes them suitable for all common guitar necks 12 to 30€
Professional models Professional models are very durable and excellently made. In addition to the clamping mechanism, they often have an adjustment mechanism, e.g. a locking screw. This allows the strings to be fixed for a secure hold. After reattachment, no readjustment is necessary and they can be operated with one hand from 30€
Plastic capos are cheap and good for beginners.

Decision: What types of capodasters are there and which is the right one for you?

There are 2 different types of capo. It depends on the fingerboard of the stringed instrument you play. The profile of the fingerboard can be straight and wide (e.g. classical guitar, nylon or concert guitar), then you use a straight capo. The profile of the fingerboard can be rounded and narrow (e.g. acoustic guitar, electric guitar), then you use a curved capo.

How does a capo work and what are its advantages?

A capo is stretched between 2 fret bars around the neck of the instrument. This presses all the strings onto the fingerboard. This shortens the length of the vibrating strings and increases the tone. Usually the frets are spaced at a semitone interval. When a capo is used, the tone of all strings increases by one semitone per fret. An overview of the advantages of a capo:

  • Easy adjustment of the pitch
  • No cumbersome transposing
  • Easier playing of complicated pieces of music
  • Easy handling
  • Characteristic sound
  • Distances between the notes to be picked can be reduced

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate capos

In the following, we will show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate capos. This will make it easier for you to decide which capo is right for you. In summary, these are:

  • Weight & dimensions of the capo
  • Material
  • Guitar type
  • Operation
  • Mounting
  • Number of strings

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Weight & dimensions of the Capodaster

The weight, dimensions and material of the capo are important criteria for unrestricted playing pleasure. The capo should not be too big and bulky, because otherwise you will be limited in picking your chords. The size of your capo also depends on the guitar you play. Classical guitars often have a wider fingerboard than, for example, an electric guitar. Furthermore, if the capo is too heavy, it will hinder your playing because there will be additional weight on the fretboard. Of course, this depends on the material.

Material

A capo made of light metals such as aluminium or chrome alloys is particularly stable and unbreakable with a long durability. Capos made of plastic are quite suitable, but quickly become brittle. Very light metals such as aluminium or chrome alloys are often used. However, the stability has to be considered. Plastic can quickly become brittle and then break. Metals offer a longer and better durability.

Guitar type

The choice of capo depends on the stringed instrument you play. You either need a capo that is suitable for straight fretboards or for curved fretboards.

  • straight fingerboard: suitable for classical guitar, nylon or concert guitar
  • curved finger board: suitable for acoustic guitar and electric guitar

Operation

For many guitarists, the capo should be quick and easy to use, preferably with one hand. Operability is a very important criterion for most guitarists. Advanced guitarists need to be able to change their capo quickly between pieces. It is very advantageous if you can operate it with one hand and don't have to unscrew it awkwardly. However, if you know that you need the capo in the same fret all the time, then a capo with a nylon strap or a locking screw is also suitable.

Fastening

Capos with a spring mechanism offer a secure and easy-to-use fastening. Capos with a nylon strap are tied around the fingerboard and tightened with a plastic lever. This can cause the capo to exert too much pressure on the strings and damage the guitar neck.

Did you know that you can improve the sound of your guitar with a capo? The higher up on the neck you strap the capo and play over it, the more brilliant and "bell-like" your guitar sounds.

Most capos are simply clamped around the fretboard, using a spring mechanism, and can be operated with one hand. The locking spring makes them suitable for all common guitar necks. Capodasters that have an additional locking screw in addition to the clamping mechanism ensure optimal string hold. Thanks to the spring mechanism, they can be operated with one hand and no readjustment is necessary after reattachment.

Capos are available in many different designs. Fancy materials and colours make playing the guitar fun, especially for growing guitarists and young musicians. (Picture source: pixabay.com / stux)

Number of strings

Standard capos usually include all 6 strings of the guitar. It is important to know how many strings of the guitar should be raised by the capo. With the standard capo, this is usually 6 strings. However, the length of the capo plays a role, because not every capo is suitable for every guitar. Some guitars have a wider fingerboard and others a narrower one. Then there are also 12-string guitars and so you have to decide beforehand what you want to use the capo for. As already mentioned, there are also capos that only cover a part of the strings or specifically raise each individual string. Before buying a capo, it is important to consider which capo fits your guitar.

Facts worth knowing about capos

How do I attach my capo correctly? What do I have to pay attention to?

The capo is usually attached to the fingerboard like a clamp. It is clamped between 2 frets with the rubberised side on the strings. If the pressure on the strings is too low, "buzzing" noises can occur because the strings vibrate against the fret bar. To avoid this, the capo should be placed as close as possible to the next higher fret bar. If too much pressure is applied to the strings, the guitar can sound out of tune and the guitar neck can be damaged.

A capo must rest solidly and securely on the fingerboard to achieve the desired effect. Therefore, you should know the dimensions of your guitar's neck before you decide to buy a particular capo. (Image source: pixabay.com / akd835)

Make sure that you place the capo parallel to the fret bar so that you have an even pressure on all strings. Furthermore, the capo should fit tightly with enough pressure. Too loose a fit will cause "buzzing" noises, too tight a fit will cause detuning or damage. The outer strings must not slip off the fingerboard when you put them on, and the other strings must not be shifted up and down either, otherwise they can break.

What is a capo table and how does it work?

You use a capo table when you want to transpose a piece of music into another key. The timbre of the instrument remains the same. Using the capo chart, you can read off the chords you want to play and then find the right fret for your capo to be attached to. Major and minor keys are always preserved. Example: If the first chord of a piece of music is C and the capo is to be placed in the 5th fret, then the C becomes an F. If you play Em with the capo in the 5th fret, it becomes Am. The chord progression of a piece is D Am G C. If you put the capo in the 7th fret, then you play your chords D Am G C as normal and A Em D G will sound. In the following video it is explained in detail how to transpose with your guitar and a capo and how to apply the capo correctly. Have fun with it!

Image source: pixabay.com / HutchRock

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