No matter the experience, a capo is one of the most essential pieces of gear, something that every guitar player needs to have. The benefits of this small device are obvious, as you may count on much more convenient playing in many ways. Therefore, it is critical to pick a quality capo that won’t affect the guitar tone or give you a hard time with tuning and similar issues. So, we’ve picked some of the best products you can find on the market these days.
Before we start with the list, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this simple but very useful guitar tool.
What is a capo?
Simply said, a guitar capo is a tool that replaces your pointing finger when you want to play a barre chord. More precisely, a capo can be clamped on any fret of your guitar, so it changes the key of an instrument but also shortens the scale length.
This is highly beneficial in many ways, especially for singers who sing in high pitches and don’t want to bother with all those barre chord shapes. More skilled players find it very useful as well, particularly those who like to experiment with different keys, chord shapes and voicings.
Do Capos fit all guitars?
Generally, most capos fit most guitars. However, there are always specific designs of both capos and guitar necks, so there is a chance that a certain capo won’t fit a certain neck. This particularly refers to seven-string guitars, which feature wider necks and many capos aren't big enough to put pressure on all seven strings. Besides dimension issues, keep in mind that some guitars feature more complex designs, which require more complex design solutions. 12-string guitars are a perfect example, where you need a capo that can put an equal amount of pressure on all strings and deal with potential problems such as string buzz or tunning issues. These days, you can find all kinds of capos, which are designed especially for a certain type of guitars.
What is the best guitar capo for a 12 string guitar?
As we’ve just mentioned, today’s market is full of capos that are designed particularly for 12-string guitars. They all work great and you probably won’t go wrong with any of them. Still, my recommendation would be to stick to capos that pull the strings from the center position, as this is the best way to distribute equal force to all 12 strings. The Paige Clik 12-string guitar capo would be a great choice.
Are capos bad for guitars?
Generally, using a capo can’t damage your guitar, whether we are talking about the wood from the back side or from the fretboard. Still, you should keep in mind a couple of things. The first one is that if you use the capo always on the same fret, that fret may wear out faster than the others. Also, don’t leave the capo clamped on the neck when not playing the guitar. The pressure on strings creates extra tension, so they will wear out faster as well.
And now, here's our list of the best guitar capo
G7th Performance 2 Capo
When we saw the original Performance version of this capo, which comes from a Britain-based company, we were amazed by its design. It features a one-handed clamping mechanism to lock onto the neck, which is super simple and convenient to use. The second-generation Performance 2 Capo comes with the same system, but with a couple of nice improvements as well.
Speaking of the improvements, the G7th Performance 2 Capo is lighter, smaller and even easier to use. Also, this is an adjustable capo, so you can perfectly set it up for your guitar neck and avoid buzzes or tuning issues. All in all, this is one of the best guitar capos on the market, but keep in mind that the price is pretty high as well.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to use
- Lifetime warranty
- Above Average price tag
Donner DC is an excellent choice for those who are looking for an affordable but also quality capo. With a typical clamping system, this capo is easy to use. Smooth mounting and moving over the guitar neck is something you may count on.
The capo doesn’t look particularly prestigious, but the overall appearance is more than okay. Moreover, there is also room for customization, as you can pick different colors. More importantly, the build quality is very good and the capo looks like it could last for ages. Also, you may remain calm, as Donner DC2 doesn’t leave any scratches on the guitar neck.
Good build quality
Easy to mount and move
- Doesn’t look particularly attractive
Deluxe Series GC-30
A well-known name in the business offers a variety of capos but this one stands out for its interesting design. This model looks stylish, but also works pretty well. The first thing you’ll notice is that it delivers that hi-grade feel, probably because it’s made of stainless steel. Also, there is a special kind of rubber which, according to the manufacturer, delivers the amount of pressure that mimics the pointing finger. In that way, your guitar will always stay in tune.
Besides an attractive look, this capo comes with a pretty interesting design solution. Yes, we are talking about that adjustable tension screw, which is the reason why this capo can fit pretty much every guitar neck with ease.
- Not the most convenient mounting mechanism
Nordic Essentials Deluxe
In many cases, the best thing you can do is to keep things simple. When it comes to capos, Nordic Essentials Deluxe is one of the products that stick to this philosophy. Design-wise, this is a typical clamp capo, so you may count on familiar benefits this design usually brings. This particularly refers to the easiness of use. The capo is easy to mount and move, but keeps you in tune as well. That’s pretty much everything you should look from this kind of guitar accessories.
When it comes to some base details, one of the interesting things is that the capo is made from zinc. Of course, the spring is made of steel, while silicone mimics human fingers. Also, we like the fact that there are several color options in the offer, such as metallic bronze, matte silver, matte coffee, metallic gold and metallic black.
- Similar products feature more affordable price
xGuitarx Ultra Lightweight
If you look at the xGuitarx Ultra Lightweight, it doesn’t seem much different compared to numerous clamp capos on the market. That’s definitely true, so you may count on all the benefits such design brings. Still, there are a couple of things that make this product stand out. Of course, there is a quite affordable price, but we also like the fact that the capo is made of hi-grade aluminum, which makes it lighter compared to most rival products.
Despite being around for only a couple of years, this capo has already become one of the most popular products on the market, thanks to a fantastic balance between price and quality. Just take a look at reviews, which are mostly very positive.
- Plenty of capos with similar design and price
Dunlop 83CB Acoustic
There is no need to waste words on explaining what Dunlop name means in the guitar world. Among numerous kinds of products in the offer, you can also find a variety of capos that come under this badge. The Dunlop 83CB is probably the most popular one and that’s for a reason.
The first thing that comes to mind with this capo is its simplicity. We are talking about a typical spring-loaded trigger capo, which is extremely easy to use. Also, it affects neither the tuning nor the guitar tone at all. Also, a great thing to know is that this product works great both on 6- and 12-string guitars.
This capo is versatile, but also well-made. You may count on a hi-quality, aircraft-grade aluminum, which ensures both longevity and lightweight.
- Can be a little too tight on the strings sometimes
Ernie Ball Axis Capo
If the fast fits and removals, as well as fret changes, are your main concern, this is the right capo for you. One one side, we are talking about a typical clamp design, which is the best capo design when it comes to the easiness of use. The Ernie Ball Axis capo makes things even more convenient, as it comes with the dual-radius design. One of the sides is designed for flat fingerboards, while the other one perfectly fits the curved ones.
The capo is made from hi-grade aluminum and rubber and it fits both six- and seven-string guitars. As we already mentioned, it is super easy and convenient to use, while it can also remain clamped on a headstock when not in use. The price also seems pretty fair.
- Non-adjustable in any way
Paige Clik 12-String Guitar Capo
Paige offers a variety of capos, which are designed for different kinds of string instruments like banjo, mandolin or a guitar. This particular model is designed for a 12-string guitar. Just like other capos from this manufacturer, this one also comes with a unique mechanism, which pulls the strings from the center.
Such design ensures equal tension over all the strings, which is important if you want to eliminate buzzes and tuning issues. This is critical for 12-string guitars, and that’s the reason why Paige Click is one of the best products of this kind on the market. Also, it features a nice click mechanism that ensures super quick removals.
- Taking off seems a little bit complicated