Although, finding the best guitar capo out there is no small task…
All you need it to do is to hold all the strings down at a certain fret- like your finger would in a barre chord, right? Well, yes and no.
Have you tried doing this with your finger? It’s not easy when you’re starting out. A good barre (or capo) needs to hold down each string equally- but shouldn’t push so hard as to send the notes out of tune!
Also, you’ll probably want a capo that can do this for a reasonable price…but it shouldn’t be too cheap as to break after only a few years, or a few songs…
So- in no particular order- here is our pick of five of the best guitar capos out there at the moment.
Planet Waves NS Artist Capo
The Planet Waves NS artist capo is probably one of the most popular capos on the market. Probably due to it’s patented tri-action geometry- which reduces the force needed to set it up; or the perfectly even tension across all strings.
Overall: (3.5 / 5)
This capo also has ‘micrometer tension adjustment’, which means you can adjust just how much the capo presses on the strings. The capo also pushes directly onto the strings- whereas others can tend to push them to the side. This means that the strings should stay in tune after you’ve put the capo on your guitar.
There is also space to attach the ‘NS Micro Tuner’ by Planet Waves (sold separately)- so this capo could also double as a tuner (when you have the correct parts).
Designed by famed designers Ned Steinberger and Jim D’Addario, this Planet Waves/D’Addario gadget could well be many guitarist’s idea of the best guitar capo for the money!
- Designed for use on 6-string electric and acoustic guitars
- Micrometer tension adjustment assures buzz-free in-tuneperformance at every fret
- Lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- Integrated pick holder
- Patented Tri-Action geometry offers easy use and even clamping tension
- Includes NS Micro Tuner mounting bracket
We really like that this capo is adjustable, because it means you can set it just right for each guitar- or even set it up for a banjo or mandolin.
It is very solidly built, and when you put it on it doesn’t untune the guitar by any noticeable amount.
There is definitely a reason that this model almost sets the standard for capo design!
Kyser KG6B 6 String Capo
The KG6B ‘quick change’ capo by Kyser is designed so that you can quickly move it around the neck to where it’s needed (hence ‘quick change’).
Overall: (4.0 / 5)
It is made of strong, lightweight aluminium and spring tension clamps it down firmly without losing intonation. Because of the way this capo works, it is very easy to release and then reposition the capo to another fret without having to re-tune.
Also, it doesn’t get in the way of playing the guitar- which can be an issue with some models and it has been especially designed for acoustic (rather than electric) guitars. Though you could probably use it with either.
- The most popular quick-release capo
- Quick-Change action allows for repositioning of the capo with only one hand
- Spring Tension clamps maintain intonation
- Black in Color
- Other Colors options available
This is definitely the best guitar capo for that ‘quick change’ action. Everything about it is designed so that you don’t have to mess around too long in between songs- making it especially suited to gigs.
However, because this capo doesn’t allow for any adjustment of the tension, in certain places it’ll push down too hard, and in other places not hard enough. This drawback can lead to some intonation issues, and means that this acoustic guitar capo is not suited to studio work.
Buy this one if you need to change the capo quickly in a live situation, and don’t want to spend ages between songs making sure it’s properly set.
Dunlop Trigger Curved Guitar Capo
The Jim Dunlop 83C is a capo with a curved ‘trigger’ design. It’s made from aircraft-quality aliminium, with a trigger that allows for fast changes.
Overall: (3.0 / 5)
It’s also fairly light and it fits both 12 string and 6 string guitars.
- For use with most guitars
- Spring Action
- Cushioned Handle
- Lightweight, ergonomic shape makes key changes fast and easy
- Spring action clamp holds capo firmly in place, keeps strings in tune
- Available in five finishes: black, nickel, gold, smoked chrome, maple
Although this capo is designed, as the Kyser is, for the ‘quick change’ whilst on stage, this is not the best guitar capo for that job. It can be a little stiff and take a lot of force to open and remove from the guitar.
On the plus side, the spring action is very strong, and the device is very lightweight. You may also like the price of this one, not to mention how straightforward it is to use!
G7th Performance Capo
The ‘Performance’ by G7th has been awarded gold ‘players-choice’ medals for most innovative new product and best overall capo.
Overall: (4.5 / 5)
It features a clutch mechanism that allows firm and precise placement on the fretboard, without pulling the strings too much to the side. The capo is operated by a ‘control tang’ in the centre- to lock it and unlock it.
That’s the plain English version, but according to the manufacturer:
The G7th Performance capo’s patented clutch mechanism consists of just three elements: a fixed hub, a moving hub, and a spring whose inside diameter is just slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the two hubs.
When the spring is forced over the two hubs, attempting to rotate in the direction which opens the capo wraps it down tightly on the hubs, positively engaging them.
- Innovative capo for acoustic and electric six-string guitars
- Patented clutch mechanism allows you to adjust without retuning your guitar
- Easily squeezed into place with one hand, and released using the lever on the back
- Solid zinc-alloy construction
- Lifetime warranty
This capo is a little more expensive, but it definitely makes up for that in build quality and ease of use. The mechanism is easy to use, and it is padded in all the right places for a steel string acoustic.
This one definitely feels like it’s worth the higher price tag.
Shubb C1 Acoustic Guitar Capo
Shubb capos are a really well known brand who hand make their capos in the USA.
Overall: (3.5 / 5)
All contact points with the capo and guitar are padded with replaceable pads, and this device should fit both acoustic and electrics. It also features an over-centre locking design, which is activated by a lever.
- Nickel plated
- Duel lever and spring-loaded thumbscrew tension adjustment system
- All contact points with the guitar are cushioned by, thick, resilient, replaceable pads
- 2″ length and slightly curved
- Fits most acoustic and electric steel string guitars
One of the best things about this capo- other than the rugged construction- is the screw that allows you to adjust the tension. Yes, it may not be as quick to change over in between songs, but if you’re looking for great intonation all over the neck, this is the one you want.
As I mentioned before, other ‘quick change’ style capos are great for live performances. The Shubb C1 Acoustic is great for that, too (it just takes longer), but it’s probably the best guitar capo for studio recordings.
The adjustable screw means that you’re never pulling the strings sharp (too tight) or getting a stringbuzz (too loose).
So, which is the best guitar capo?
The best guitar capo for you definitely depends on what you want to use it for. If you’re playing a live gig on a six string acoustic guitar, the one you want will probably be different to if you’re recording in a studio with a nylon string guitar, for example.
There are a huge range of features to look out for in the humble capo, but hopefully this guide will help you to find the best guitar capo for your own situation. It’s just a matter of deciding what it’ll mainly be used for.