Choosing the best capo for acoustic guitar is somewhat down to personal preference and somewhat down to budget.
There are several options for acoustic capo’s and there are capos that are designed specifically for acoustic guitars and there are others that can be used on any guitar.
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Capo Price Range
Prices can range from anywhere from as little as $5 to as much as $50 – in the normal range. But you can also get some really pricey models and I’ve seen capos for as much as $235!
But you shouldn’t need to spend that much to get a good capo that’ll do a good job.
Different Types of Capo
Below are some of the different types you can expect to see.
Strap On Capos
Strap on capos work how they sound. There is usually a metal bar with rubber that sits on the strings with a strap attached to it.
The strap is then wrapped around the back of the neck and attached to the other side of the bar. The tightness of the strap can be adjusted to make sure that it is tight enough.
The straps are usually made from some form of fabric or elastic.
These types of capos are usually well priced but aren’t very common these days.
- The strap (depending on the material used) is nice on the back of the neck
- The strap conforms to the shape of the guitar
- You can be creative with the style of strap you use
- They are compact and unobtrusive on your playing
- Low cost
- May not last as long as other capos
- Placing the capo can require a bit of effort – you need to be careful to lay the bar down properly so that it is straight across the strings and that the strings are evenly spaced
- Can take longer than other types to affix
- Not easy or practical to attach to your headstock when not in use
Spring Loaded Capos
To place a spring loaded capo you simply squeeze on one end to open the capo out allowing it to fit around the neck of the guitar. You then set up where you want the capo and once you have in place simple release the trigger and the capo squeezes onto the neck.
- Easy to use
- Fast to attach
- Low cost
- Can be attached or removed using just one hand
- You can easily attach to your headstock when not in use for easy access the next time you need it
- The amount of pressure applied to the strings can’t always be adjusted (in the standard spring loaded capo)
- Usually look fairly ugly (in my opinion anyway)
- Aren’t very compact and can be intrusive while playing
A triggered capo has two padded bars. The first padded bar sits on top of the strings and the other one has a rounded shape and sits on the neck of the guitar.
Rather than being spring loaded the triggered capo opens right out and is loose until you pull the trigger. So you set the string bar across the strings, place the neck bar on the back of the neck and then squeeze the trigger until it locks in place.
There is usually a way of adjusting the tension and this may need to be done several times when you first use it until you can lock it in place.
- Relatively compact when locked in place compared with the spring loaded
- Once you get your desired tension fairly quick to get on and off
- Slightly more difficult to use than their spring loaded cousins
- Can affect string spacing if not applied carefully or if the tension is too tight
- Can take a bit of playing around to get the tension right
- Still not completely unobtrusive when playing
They work in a similar way in that they have two bars – one placed on the strings and one placed on the neck and then a lever is pulled to lock it in place. You can adjust the tension to get it just right.
It is essentially a flash version of a trigger capo but is designed so that it will lock and place and never move and won’t affect your tuning or bend the strings. That’s not to say that all other trigger capos will but there’s less risk with a Shubb and they have a good reputation.
- Easier to remove and apply than a standard trigger capo
- Less likely to affect string tuning or bending of strings
- Locks in place and won’t move while playing
- Nice and compact and unobtrusive when playing
- Easy to stow away on the headstock
- Retains tone well
- Higher price
- Time it takes to initially set up the tension
You can get G7th trigger capos and spring loaded capos but you can also get what they call their performance capo (see image to the right).
The way this works is just by placing the capo over the strings and squeezing it. This locks it into place and then just by squeezing a small lever (see bottom left of image) you can remove it.
- Very easy and fast to place on and remove
- Can be tucked away easily onto the headstock (or even just onto the nut)
- Retains the tone of the guitar
- Puts just enough pressure on the strings to clamp them down but not so much that it goes out of tune or loses tone
- Compact and unobtrusive when playing
- Higher price
The more specialized capo companies, like Shubb and G7th design capos specific for:
- steel string acoustic guitars
- classical guitars
- 12 string guitars
- Electric guitars
- Partial capos (that only fret a certain number of strings)
Thanks for reading
I hope this post has given you more knowledge on acoustic guitar capos and which type of capo you think is best for your guitar.
If you can think of any other types of capos or if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.