Frequently Asked Questions:
How Do I Use A Capo?
When you install the Capo, you want it to be tight. If you install it too loosely, the strings will buzz. It can also slip mid-song if it isn’t tight enough.
I like to put the Capo on right behind a fret. Just behind the fret seems to help keep it from sliding down as you play, and that position makes it easy to keep the strings from buzzing.
You also want to make sure to keep it on parallel with the fret to make sure it doesn’t bend the strings. If it clamps the strings unevenly or bends them, it can make the guitar sound out of tune.
Learning how to play with it was challenging. I had to learn how to rethink my chord progressions and calculate which chords to use for each position.
You see, once you barre a fret, you need to subtract ½ step from each chord. For example with the Capo on the first fret, an A♭ becomes a G. Now a G chord is much easier to finger, but you have to learn how to rethink the chord progression while you play.
For the first little while, I practiced with a cheat sheet. I tried to calculate in my head and then would double-check my answer before I played. But after little while, it became second nature to play with the Capo.
Can The Capo Hurt My Guitar?
There is always some concern when clamping something to your instrument. Can it cause damage to the guitar itself?
Thankfully the manufacturers of capos are also very concerned about the same thing. You will find that they are padded well, and offer little risk to your instrument.
The only thing is, I would never leave it on for storage, or long periods of time. Not only does it risk damaging the guitar over the time (slight as it may be), if you leave it on between practices it will cause your strings to need more retuning.
Trigger Capo Versus C-clamp Capos
I like them both. I mean, I get a little annoyed by how long it takes to screw a C-clamp into position, but it does seem to provide a better hold, it can be less finicky than the spring clamp.
The trigger style design is easier to slip on, but is bulkier, and may get the way of playing. Also, you have to make sure to line up the clamp properly to keep the guitar in tune. That can be a little hard to do with a spring clamp.
However, the spring-operated designs are by far the favorite, thanks to their one-handed operation.
And, as I review above, the G7th Performance Capo helps combine the one-handed operation of the spring-design with the locking design of a c-clamp for the best of both worlds.
On a 12-string acoustic guitar you have a couple of challenges. To begin with, it is a little more difficult to prevent buzzing. Each of the 6 strings is paired with a smaller string. When you Capo your guitar, you need to apply enough pressure to these small strings without bending the top strings and creating a buzz.
Additionally, the necks on these guitars are often (although not always!) thicker.
A 12 String Capo will typically apply more pressure than a 6 string capo, provide the capacity to accommodate a smaller radius fretboard and a little wider to allow for guitars with wider fretboards.
Probably the most important feature to look for in a capo for a 12 string guitar is to get one with adjustable tension. This will let you dial in the pressure and ensure that you get the proper sound no matter were you are fretting it.
Electric Guitar Capos
It is not as common to see them used on electric guitars. There are several reasons for this. So much of playing an electric guitar has to do with playing individual notes. And so you just play the note. No fancy accessories needed.
The other aspect is that electric strings are much easier to depress than acoustic strings are. So it is easier to master those barre chords that drive so many acoustic guitarists to insanity.
However, if you were doing a lot of rhythm work and decide that you want a Capo, any standard model should work on your electric guitar just as well as it would on an acoustic one.