Hello Everyone! First of all, what actually is a capo, and how many different kinds are out there? A capo is a little peg as it were to press down all your strings to change the key in which you’re playing. Essentially you are changing the pitch of your guitar to make it fit a specific key, without having to change the chords or make a whole different arrangement. There are many different capos, with many options and possibilities which we will take a closer look at. I hope it will make more sense to you what will best fit your needs before you make a purchase.
What if I’m just starting out?
There is nothing wrong with getting a cheap guitar capo if you’re only just starting out and you just want to play around with playing in different keys, or you suddenly have an overwhelming desire to play Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, for one time only, because even cheap capos have the potential to perform the job to a high standard.
You just want to make sure that your fits your guitar, because otherwise it becomes a very frustrating when you’re playing a tune, and you don’t know whether you are playing it badly, or if it’s because your capo isn’t connected correctly.
Often the cheap ones consist of some fabric connected to teeth-like hooks that you wrap around the neck of your guitar, and you can tighten it depending on the width of your neck. These are particularly good if your’e starting out on a classical guitar with nylon strings. The neck of these guitars are generally quite wide, which automatically gives you an opportunity to fasten it tightly, as it won’t reach all the way around.
The real issue with these capos is that you can never be quite sure how long it will last, as the elasticity of the fabric will inevitably fluctuate, meaning the tightness will never be quite the same. It may get to a point where the tightest setting is too tight, and you can’t close it, but the slightly looser setting is not quite tight enough, and the sound will become muted.
So in conclusion this will be a fine capo to start off on, like I did all those years ago. But do note that the quality will not remain consistent due to the wear and tear of the fabric.
Ready to step up your game?
Awesome! You like come to discover that playing the guitar is something you want to pursue, so inevitably you will want better quality gear. There are a lot of capos out there that really look the part, but their appearance can be misleading. I have often played on capos that just don’t hold the pressure and will mute the strings, and there is nothing you can really do but throw the capo in the bin and get a better one.
Having said that, there are also very affordable, elegant capos that will be able to take on any guitar without a fuss, and they are real gems. So on your journey to playing with better quality capos. Generally, the more pressure the capo can generate, the better the playing experience is, but of course for many people the speed of putting it on or off is nearly as important as the pressure it can generate.
Having said that, I once had a capo which was so tight, it dented the back of the neck on my guitar, which I was also not very pleased about. But this might be an issue about the quality of the guitar rather than the capo.
What if I want to play songs in various different keys?
It goes without saying that if you want to do a key change, there are various ways of going about it. The easiest way is to change the position on the neck the capo is on. This can be done with fairly common capos, that you have become very in tune with (mind the pun, I couldn’t help myself) and you become very efficient on putting it on or off. But sometimes the song just doesn’t allow you the time to do this, however quick you are. In this case you might want to look into glider capos, that are especially designed to glide up and down the capo if you want to change to a different key whilst you are playing. It can even rest on the top of your neck if you don’t need to play with a capo, but it’s there if you need to glide it to the first or second position if necessary.
Does it always have to bar the whole neck?
There are many guitar players out there that like to experiment with sound, and different keys and styles of playing. There are some capos that will allow you to only secure the capo to a number of strings on your guitar, giving you the freedom to play a combination of really high notes and really low notes at the same time, giving you a unique and interesting sound and style. You just want to make sure that your guitar is right for these capos. It will help you to have a guitar with a wide neck, so the capo has more surface area to grip on. Guitars with narrow necks often can’t handle half capos as they slide off, and aren’t secured very well.
So how do I move forward?
Depending on what works for you, and what you are interested in, whether it be the speed of securing it, or how tightly it grips, I would always recommend one that will not ever decrease in tightness, so you can always rely on it not muting your strings whilst you are playing, as that to me is more important than the easy, and speed of putting it on. Once you know what is important to you, you can now find funky designs that match your quality to give you a unique a look when you’re playing, and it will give you that good feeling of something being truly yours.
I hope that has given you some insights about various different capos that are out there, and I hope this will prompt you to find that capo that speaks to you, and fits your needs whilst you are playing.
Take care for now,