Best Guitar CapoGuitarSpotting
What is the Best Guitar Capo?
Looking for the best guitar capo? Since most capos serve a similar purpose, deciding which one is “best” may depend on your individual needs, and often comes down to personal preference.
A capo is a guitar accessory used to clamp down the strings of the guitar in order to alter the tuning. They can be quite useful for guitar players, especially beginners.
They come in many different shapes and styles, and sorting through the various options can definitely be confusing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at several different types of capos, and recommend the best capo for acoustic guitar, electric, 12-string and classical. We’ll highlight several capos that provide the best overall sound quality, functionality, and value.
- 1 What is the Best Guitar Capo?
- 2 Types of Capos
- 2.1 Trigger Capo (aka Clamp Capo)
- 2.2 Toggle Capo (aka Band Capo)
- 2.3 Screw Capo
- 2.4 Roller Capo (aka Glider Capo)
- 2.5 Partial Capo (aka Spider Capo)
- 2.6 Personalized Capos
- 2.7 Best Capo for Acoustic Guitar
- 2.8 Best Capo for Electric Guitar
- 2.9 Best Capo for 12-String Guitar
- 2.10 Best Capo for Classical Guitar
- 3 Conclusion
Best Guitar Capo (Value + Premium Options)
There’s a wide range of capos out there, and you’ll find a brief description of the most popular types below. But you may be thinking, I don’t need anything too fancy or technical. I just want a good capo with great value.
So which one should you get?
Best Guitar Capo (Overall Value): Kyser KG6B
The Kyser KG6B trigger capo has been a top-seller for years.
A whole lot of guitarists use one, including some professional musicians. It’ll give you the best bang for your buck, and get the job done with minimal hassle or expense.
Certainly, there are premium capos that provide more precise tension, better craftsmanship, or a cooler look. They’re also a lot more expensive.
Many people are just looking for a “normal” mainstream capo that works.
And if that describes you, I recommend the Kyser KG6B.
- quick release capo that’s easy to use
- popular top-seller
- cheap price, but well-made
- lots of colors to choose from
- suitable for acoustic or electric guitars
- can clamp onto headstock when not in use for easy access
- non-adjustable tension
- can cause strings to go out of tune (slightly sharp)
If you’re looking for a high-quality low-cost capo, the Kyser KG6B checks off all the boxes. It’s easy to use, works well, and is surprisingly cheap.
If you’re a beginner (or even if you’re not), it’s not a bad idea to grab one of these Kyser’s now if you need a cheap capo. Later on, when you have a better idea of the type of capo you want, you can always experiment … they’re not that expensive!
PRO TIP: Place the KG6B near the top of the fret to prevent strings from going out of tune too often.
Who Should Get a Kyser KG6B Capo?
It’s a good choice for anyone looking for a cheap and easy to use capo. Just clamp it onto your guitar strings and you’re good to go. It can be applied with one hand, and provides quality sound with minimal buzz.
Best Guitar Capo (Premium Quality): G7th Performance 2
If you’ve been playing guitar for a while and are unimpressed by cheaper capos, or if you want a premium option right off the bat, the G7th Performance 2 is a pretty cool capo.
Guitar players frequently rave about both Shubb (discussed below) and G7th capos – they’re easy to use and provide precise tuning. The Shubb company revolutionized capo design in the early 1980s, and G7th came along several years later to improve on the design.
It has excellent precision and control, includes a well-crafted cushion to eliminate buzzing, and is better than most capos at preserving guitar tone. It’s easy to clamp on, and unlike a basic non-adjustable trigger capo, allows you to dial in the precise amount of tension required.
The G7th Performance 2 capo provides enough pressure to clamp down on the strings securely and prevent buzzing, but not enough pressure to sacrifice tone or frequently pull the guitar out of tune.
It’s a winning combination of quality craftsmanship, ease of use, and a super-cool look.
- rarely causes strings to go out of tune
- tension can be adjusted
- great tone
- lightweight and durable
- suitable for acoustic and electric guitars
- can clamp onto headstock when not in use
- not a great fit for guitars with thicker necks
- more expensive than entry-level capos
One knock on the original G7th Performance capo is that many guitarists found them to be too heavy. The newer Performance 2 is thinner and lighter than the original version.
PRO TIP: Clamp it onto your guitar neck (can be done using one hand), and squeeze slowly until your preferred amount of tension has been applied.
Who Should Get a G7th Performance 2 Capo?
It’s a perfect fit for anyone seeking innovative capo design, who is more interested in tone than price. Also a great choice if you play live gigs and use your capo a lot, since it’s easy to re-position quickly, yet still precise.
Still learning how to play? Check out my article on the Best Ways to Teach Yourself Guitar.
Have a look at my detailed post on Best Beginner Guitars if you’re in the market for a starter guitar.
What is a Capo?
A capo is a device that is clamped onto a guitar’s neck, in order to press the strings down across the fret. This shortens their length, raising the tuning or pitch.
The main purpose of a capo is to enable a guitarist to play a song in a different key, while still using familiar guitar chord shapes. They can also be used to provide a more resonant tone than by simply forming a barre chord with your fingers.
While capos are generally used to clamp down all strings on the guitar, there are some “partial” capos out there that can be used on just a few strings, to achieve a specific sound or effect.
Capos are often used in rock, blues, flamenco and folk music, and less frequently for classical or jazz.
Types of Capos
Trigger Capo (aka Clamp Capo)
The trigger capo is the most popular and widely-used type of capo on the market. It uses a spring-loaded clamp to provide and hold its tension when fastened to a guitar neck.
They’re popular because they’re cheap and simple to use, and get the job done for most people.
Call it the gateway capo.
The biggest drawbacks are that they pull strings out of tune fairly often, and the tension isn’t adjustable. If you want to dial-in the perfect amount of tension, consider a Screw Capo instead.
Bottom Line: A trigger capo is often recommended for new guitarists, and in many cases will be the only capo you’ll need.
Toggle Capo (aka Band Capo)
The toggle capo is also a popular option. It’s simple, small, and lightweight, using an adjustable strap or band to hold its tension on the guitar strings.
Toggle capo tension is also non-adjustable (similar to a trigger capo), and they’re secured to the guitar by clicking the strap into one of several notches. This can be problematic as sometimes one notch may be a bit too loose, whereas the next notch will be a bit too tight.
Bottom Line: Toggle capos can sometimes feel cheap and flimsy, and I’m not a big fan. However, lots of people prefer this style of capo, and they’re dirt-cheap. Choose model # 11F if you have a flat fingerboard, or 11C for a curved fingerboard.
Screw capos are more precise than trigger or toggle capos, with an adjustable mechanism that enables you to screw or “dial-in” the amount of tension required, regardless of the guitar’s size or string type.
By their very nature, they’re more fiddly than a regular capo.
They also take longer to re-position, since you have to unscrew the mechanism, move the capo, then dial-in your tension again whenever you want to change positions.
Bottom Line: Screw Capos are technically superior, though not as quick to move or easy to use, and often more expensive. If you prefer ease of use, go with a trigger or toggle capo. If you want more control over the tension, a screw capo’s a better choice.
Roller Capo (aka Glider Capo)
Glider Capos incorporate a roller device that makes it easier to slide the capo up and down the neck with your thumb.
Similar to trigger and toggle capos, the tension is non-adjustable.
Bottom Line: They’re definitely unique, and you can “glide” it up onto the nut if you want to continue playing without the capo. Opinions are varied on these, and I’d recommend avoiding it unless you know what you’re doing, or need to re-position your capo on the fly a lot.
Partial Capo (aka Spider Capo)
Most capos are used to clamp down all guitar strings at once. However, there is also the partial capo, which enables you to clamp only selected guitar strings. This provides added versatility if you want to experiment with alternate tunings or simulate open tuning.
Bottom Line: Only consider one of these if you know what you’re doing, and want the option to choose which strings are clamped down.
Sometimes a capo is just a capo. And if you just want a functional accessory that will get the job done, every capo discussed above fits the bill.
However, sometimes you just need to go to 11. If you plan to use your capo a lot, there are personalized capos out there with a variety of unique looks and features.
One such option is the Thalia 200 Series Capo. These capos aren’t cheap, but they are damn cool!
If you want to stand out from the crowd, the Thalia 200 has an elegant look, with engraved inlays and 24k gold finish. It comes with a jewel case and pouch.
It’s a non-adjustable spring capo, but is still versatile as it comes with 14 different fret pads (7 standard tension, and 7 high-tension). This enables you to modify the tension using different pads, and also find the perfect fit for the fretboard radius of your guitar.
Thalia 200 capos can be used with acoustic, electric and classical, 6-string and 12-string guitars.
Bottom Line: Stand out from the crowd with a unique capo.
Best Capo for Acoustic Guitar
Most capos were designed for use with both acoustic and electric guitars. If you’re still learning to play guitar, or just want a basic capo, the various options listed above are all great choices for use with an acoustic guitar.
Another option to consider, however, is the Shubb GC-30 Deluxe capo, designed specifically for acoustic guitars. It’s smaller (less width) and unobtrusive, for use with 6 steel-string acoustics that have radiused fretboards.
Shubb capos were designed to combine the ease-of-use found in trigger capos with the precise tension provided by screw capos.
Many guitar players love ’em, and the GC-30 Deluxe will allow you to dial-in your preferred amount of tension using a screw mechanism, and then just flip a lever to add or remove the capo from your guitar, so you don’t need to fiddle with the screw every time you want to use the capo.
It’ll help keep the guitar sounding great and in tune, and it’s got a cool stainless steel look.
Best Capo for Electric Guitar
It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the best capo for electric guitars due to differing objectives and the wide variety of guitar neck shapes and sizes. Many guitarists prefer using an adjustable-tension capo with an electric guitar in order to have better control and avoid tuning issues.
If you’re looking to keep costs down and don’t need adjustable tension, the Kyser KG6B or Planet Waves NS are perfectly fine choices.
If you don’t mind spending a little more for the flexibility, you can take a look at the Shubb GC-20 Standard, just be sure to choose the right size for your guitar.
But overall, the G7th Performance 2 is the best option for use with an electric guitar, if you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend.
Best Capo for 12-String Guitar
If you’ve got a 12-string guitar, it’s a good idea to purchase a capo made specifically for 12 string guitars, though a 6-string capo can be used in a pinch.
The best option here is probably the Shubb Deluxe 12-String Capo.
Best Capo for Classical Guitar
If you’re looking for a capo to use on a classical guitar, you’ll want to make sure it’s flat and wide enough to cover the fretboard. Luckily, most companies make a capo model designed specifically for classical guitars. And you can’t go wrong with the Shubb C2 Nylon-String Guitar Capo.
If you’re still learning to play guitar, you should definitely get yourself a capo. They’re cheap and can be quite useful.
Of course you may just be looking for a replacement capo, or thinking about checking out a different style.
Figure out what type of capo you want, and whether or not you prefer ease-of-use or adjustable tension. Then get one that fits your guitar and will look cool sticking out at a weird angle!
The Kyzer KG6B will get the job done for most people, and at a very reasonable price. Shubb, Planet Waves and Nordic Essentials (though they didn’t make the article) all make high-quality capos as well. And if you want a premium adjustable capo that’s easy to use with great tone, check out the G7th Performance 2.
Thanks for reading … now go make some music!