What is the Best Capo for Acoustic Guitar?

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Acoustic guitar trigger capo

Choosing the best capo for acoustic guitar is somewhat down to personal preference and somewhat down to budget.

There are several options for an acoustic guitar capo 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.

Shubb Guitar Capo (Best Classic)

This is a beyond classic capo design, one for consecutive ages and generations of guitarists. This design is so distinctive and has been a mainstay on both acoustic and electric guitar for over 35 years.

Shubb purports that this is entirely unique in the world of adjustable capos. Whereas others might require the user to readjust the pressure with each use, the Shubb boasts a ‘set it and forget it’ policy, where you can simply keep using it and using it without any fiddling.

Shubb Guitar Capo (C1)

Though the design might look a little more complex than more simple style capos, using one really is as simple as flipping the lever and placing it wherever your heart desires, whether that be right next to the headstock and nut or all the way up the other end of the fretboard at the 12th fret, sharpening the tuning of the guitar by a whole octave!

The rubber on the capo side of things is custom-designed by Shubb to be as similar to human skin as it can be without any cause for concern that they might be made from actual skin. Eek! Reminds me of the old wives’ tale of when Crayola once changed the name of their flesh-colored crayon to peach when they started to run out of flesh to prey upon.

Regardless of all of the cannibalism and homicide, this really is a capo for the ages. The design and look are so classic; surely the fact that they are still being used as much now as they ever have been is testament enough to their enduring power as some of the best capos around that are going to treat the guitar neck with respect.

Ernie Ball Axis Dual Radius Capo (Best Updated)

Though not as revered for their capos, the Ernie Ball Axis capo is more of a reiteration of another classic kind of design, often used as an electric guitar capo, though perfectly suited to acoustic and electric guitars.

There is a reason this kind of spring coil design is so popular and oft considered one of the best guitar capos. The sheer ergonomy of the structure allows for fast and easy changes with only one hand, allowing one to easily change the key and, in turn, the landscape of the fretboard for as long as the user desires.

Ernie Ball Axis Dual Radius Capo, Black Satin (P09600)

Ernie Ball has got one step further with this piece of kit, including a reversible design that can accommodate more than one kind of fretboard. In this day and age, there is more than just one kind, and now you can have a capo that caters to either your curved or flat fretboards at a moment’s notice, with a reversal of a capo!

This capo is constructed in such a way as to entirely eradicate any buzz that other capos might foster; true enough, you can place this thing just about anywhere on the fretboard and you will get the same reasonable and clean response.

All of this, on top of the fact that the design is sleek and minimal, fits into just about any musical situation and onto just about any instrument without seeming out of place! And, if not, you can always buy it in another color (Black Satin, Blue Steel, Bronze, Gold, Gold Satin, Pewter, Rose Gold, and Silver Satin)!

Dunlop Acoustic Trigger Capo (Best Normal)

Now, this truly is a classic! Surely this design has not changed in eons – this is the capo design, the one you are more than likely first going to think of when spurred to think of a capo. And, though it might not be the best guitar capo, it has served countless droves of musicians over the years, so for that, it deserves a place here.

The shape is ergonomic and easily manhandled into place – much like the Ernie Ball it is easily moved into place with one hand, which is why I believe many have come to rely on it over the years.

Dunlop Acoustic Trigger, Curved, Black Guitar Capo

Being constructed from aluminum (supposedly of aircraft quality), this is lightweight while still being robust enough to last a great deal of time as your main capo. It is also large enough to accommodate both 6 and 12-string guitars.

The first thing to go with a capo is always the spring mechanism. It is not hard to imagine an analog between the veritable graveyard of ossified capo limbs and the end result of the Somme, with all the discarded body parts torn asunder and removed from their original owners and contexts just as all the pieces of a capo are ripped apart by the loss of their unifying spring.

WINGO Guitar Capo (Best Budget)

For those working on a bit more of a budget, WINGO seems to have you covered, all while garbed in a wood veneer that provides a touch of class.

As with the previous offering from Dunlop (and plenty of other capos constructed in this way), this capo boasts a quick release thanks to the adept and tactile spring mechanism. This means, as before, that you can easily switch from key to key and song to song with only one hand that can get you where you need to go accurately and without prejudice.

WINGO Guitar Capo for Acoustic and Electric Guitars - Rosewood Color with 5 Picks

WINGO are very clear that they do not want to just be pigeonholed to acoustic and electric guitar; rather, they believe that their capo is also incredibly well-suited to plenty of other kinds of string instruments, including the banjo, mandolin, and ukulele, just to name a few.

The construction of this capo is purported to be exemplary, using only high-grade aluminum alloy alongside a thicker silicone padding on the capo side of things than you might otherwise expect from capos of this price range.

This all comes with a selection of five picks in a medium thickness shipped in random colors – anyone aching for a way to release their fetishistic leanings towards the element of surprise will not be disappointed!

You are scarcely going to find a capo for such a low price elsewhere – especially with the cost of living crisis – unless, of course, you feel you need one enough to steal it!

Creative Tunings SpiderCapo (Best)

Now, for something a little different as Creative Tunings takes us on a trip down a road less-travelled, where creativity and intonation are brought into a harmony that scarcely any attempt to merge.

The name seems incredibly apt as this thing truly does look like a spider haunting the fretboard (if you squint and scrunch up your eyes enough, I suppose). Thankfully, this likeness to arachnid-kind is not gratuitous, for the splaying out of each of its legs is for the fine-tuning of each string so that the exact intonation can be achieved each and every time.

Creative Tunings SpiderCapo Standard - The Studio Grade Capo

The guitar is an in imperfect instrument and so barring the capo straight down along the fretboard like it normally is will undoubtedly lead to some issues with intonation – we have all been there! This design attempts to elide this issue by allowing the intonation of each string to be catered to, perfect for those really trying to hone their sound into something without fault – folk-heads unite!

Not only is this patented design excellent for the purpose of fine-tuning in this way, but it also has the side effect of being excellent for maximizing sustain and tone, especially in comparison with the usual kind of capo design. These supposedly lesser designs use silicon that can often choke the natural tonality of the guitar, something that the SpiderCapo attempts to elide completely.

Kyser Quick-Change Guitar Capo (Best Ornamental)

I remember always being particularly enamored with the way this capo looked when I was originally learning the guitar. There is something truly regal about the curvature of the design that, even now, I can’t quite put my finger on. It looks as though it would be better suited to some sort of art-deco garden ornamentation than a guitar.

Even still, this thing is incredibly well-suited to its job, constructed (as with many others on this list) from robust and lightweight aluminum and equipped with a reliable steel spring that is bound to last a good while.

Kyser Quick-Change Guitar Capo for 6-string acoustic guitars, Black, KG6B

The design of the padding is such that it straddles a line between catering to a flat fretboard and a curved fretboard, itself exhibiting a very minor curvature that makes it adaptable to both.

And, if the design itself was not quite your idea of swag, the capo itself comes in a whole panoply of different colors: Black, Blue, Camouflage, Emerald Green, Gold, Maple, Orange Blaze, Pink, Pure White, Red Bandana, the US Flag (Red, White, Blue), Rosewood, Ruby Red, Silver, Sunburst, Tie Dye, and Yellow Blaze!

TANMUS 3in1 Capo (Best Gimic)

Oh boy, we have certainly seen this design somewhere before, but hear me out! This one does things a little differently, and though it is only this one thing that truly separates it from the other similarly constructed capos on this list, it is an interesting enough novelty that I thought you might want to see it.

So, where others are simply content to be capos, this capo has decided to go one better and use itself as a pick-holder as well, offering a small groove in the front of the capo where a plectrum can be slotted for later use.

Guitar Capo,TANMUS 3in1 Zinc Metal Capo for Acoustic and Electric Guitars (with Pick Holder and 4Picks),Ukulele,Mandolin,Banjo,Guitar Accessories

Pretty neat, huh? Certainly saves lodging your plectrums in the strings of the headstock and potentially causing some damage later down the line!

Alice Guitar Capo (Best Reptile)

True to its title, this really is nothing more than a typically-styled capo in the shape of a crocodile – does it get more rock and roll than this?

Alice Guitar Capo for Beginner - Alligator Shape Aluminum Alloy Acoustic Guitar Capo with Clamshell Package

Besides the novelty shape, this capo will serve you about as well as any other capo of this kind of design, though in this instance you might feel a little more bolstered and confident in the knowledge that you have your very own reptilian bodyguard.

G7th Performance 3 Capo (Best Expensive)

Easily the most expensive option, but is it worth it? You decide.

G7th Performance 3 Capo with ART (Steel String Satin Black)

This is often placed at the top of best capo lists, so the critics have had their say. What about yours?

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

D'Addario Accessories Guitar Capo – NS Tri Action - For...

These are perhaps the most common type of capo going around. This is probably because they are easy to use and don?t cost too much.

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

Triggered/Lever Capos

Jim Dunlop Acoustic Trigger, Curved, Black Guitar Capo...

Triggered capos work slightly differently than spring loaded capos.

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.

Pros:

  • Relatively compact when locked in place compared with the spring loaded
  • Once you get your desired tension fairly quick to get on and off

Cons:

  • 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

Shubb Capos

Shubb Guitar Capo (S1)

Shubb capos are capos made by a specific company and these are technically probably trigger capos. But they are a special type of trigger capo.

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Higher price
  • Time it takes to initially set up the tension

G7th Capos

G7th Performance 2 Silver Capo 6-String, Silver (G7C-P2SILV)

Like Shubb, G7th is a Capo-specific brand and have their own type of capo.

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Higher price

Capo Brands

The more specialized capo companies, like Shubb and G7th design capos specific for:

  • steel string acoustic guitars
  • classical guitars
  • 12 string guitars
  • Electric guitars
  • Banjos
  • 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.

FAQs Best Capo for Acoustic Guitar

Which capo should I buy for my acoustic guitar?

This will really depend on your budget and your intentions with the capo, as well as your own level of professionalism in music. If you are a professional musician with more of a reputation, then you will be wanting to invest in a capo that not only serves you well but that is going to be able to hold up on the road. If you are more of a beginner working on more of a budget, then something around $10 or so should do you fine for the foreseeable future.

What capo does Ed Sheeran use?

Surprisingly enough, Ed Sheeran still uses one of the most affordable capos around, the Dunlop Trigger capo. Now, if you are trying to imitate Ed Sheeran and his style, my first piece of advice would be to not do that; my second piece of advice would be that you can use more or less any kind of capo and achieve a similar result. The reason he uses this one in particular is that this design of capo is especially good for quick changes, something that is especially important for Sheeran who is essentially a one-man band.

Does any capo work for any guitar?

More or less, yes, though you will certainly want to do a little research before investing your hard-earned dollars into one that does not work for precisely your instrument. Some capos, for example, are better suited to fretboards that are flat while some are, likewise, better equipped to deal with curved fretboards. Thankfully, there are capos that attempt to straddle a healthy middle ground, either with padding that suits both types or by being wholly reversible.

Are some capos better than others?

Just as some versions of certain products are better than others, indeed some capos are better than others. This is often relative to price, but only to a point, and I would say that this point is around $50; if you are paying anything more than that for a capo, I would suggest that it is wholly unnecessary.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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