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The 7 Best Guitar Capos – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Capos are small, clamp-like devices that work by pressing down across the guitar’s fretboard and applying pressure. The increased tension on the guitar strings changes the tone pitch they produce.

Their main purpose is to remove the need to play barre chords higher up the neck. Instead, you just clamp or strap it into place at a fret of your choosing. And then, with the open chords you already know, you can move it up the neck and play any chord in any key.

Here, we cover the best on the market for 6 string guitars, then cover some specialist one if you’re into alternate tuning, play a 12 string, or if you’re a total nerd and want to retune every string individually.

Best Guitar Capos: Product List and Reviews

Shubb C1

C1 Shubb Standard series Acoustic Guitar Capo – Polished Nickel
  • Distinctive capo design that has been loved and trusted by musicians for over 35 years
  • Unique among adjustable capos, with Shubb you can “set it and forget it”- no need to reset the pressure with each use
  • Locking and removing is as simple as flipping the lever

Shubb have been a market leader in capos for years. Fans include Keith Richards, Joe Bonamassa, and Eric Johnson. Not a bad crowd.

The Shubb C1 is an adjustable tension capo, which applies pressure to the guitar’s fingerboard using a manually adjustable thumbscrew at the back. This lets you adjust the tension to suit different guitars (electric guitars don’t need as much tension as acoustic guitars).

The one downside? Although the design allows you to regulate the amount of pressure it applies to the strings, it’s not the quickest to remove and shift to another fret. It’s also not great for storing on the headstock when not in use.

However, the grip you get with one of these is like a handshake from Thor. If you want maximum grip, then this one is your friend.

Pros:

  • Satisfyingly tight grip
  • Its low-profile, svelte shape doesn’t impede playing
  • Great value

Cons

  • Tension needs to be adjusted
  • Not great for storing on the headstock when not in use
  • Only for acoustic guitars

G7th Performance 3 ART Guitar Capo

G7th Performance 3 Capo with ART (Steel String Satin Black)
  • Adaptive Radius Technology – gives you maximum tuning stability by mechanically matching the curvature over the strings in ANY position, on ANY guitar neck (steel string acoustic, electric or hybrid nylon).
  • Unique Tension Control – By simply squeezing to attach and squeezing to release, the Performance 3 capo gives you complete and intuitive control over the pressure you place on your strings, meaning you can have confidence that you are in control and will keep your guitar in tune.
  • Easy to use – Designed for one-handed use, in any sized hands. With a little practice it’s nearly as quick to move between frets as a spring capo, but without the need for frequent retuning.

Here’s a relative newcomer to the capo party, but one generally regarded as one of the best – the Performance 3 ART from G7th. The ART stands for Adaptive Radius Technology, which in plain English means it adjusts to the curvature of the fretboard.

The better fit means improved contact across all the strings, resulting in less buzzing of the strings (the major issue with many capos) and superior tuning stability. You can operate it with one hand (always a plus) and you can store it on your headstock or behind the nut when it’s not in use. It’s also built like a tank. In fact, they’re so confident in its greatness that they offer a lifetime guarantee.

Yes, it’s probably the best guitar capo of the lot, but it is on the pricey side.

Pros

  • Adaptive Radius Technology adjusts to the curvature of the fretboard
  • Easy to operate with one hand
  • Sits nicely on the headstock when not in use
  • Looks the business
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Pricey

Ernie Ball Axis Capo

Ernie Ball Axis Reversible 2-in-1 Capo - Black Satin
1,636 Reviews
Ernie Ball Axis Reversible 2-in-1 Capo – Black Satin
  • Quick, single-handed operation.
  • Simply flip the capo around to accommodate flat or curved fretboards.
  • Buzz-free clamping pressure for for both acoustic and electric guitars.

If all these capos look too fiddly for you and you’d rather have something really straightforward to use, check out this one from Ernie Ball. You can’t get much simpler – it’s basically a quick-release, spring-loaded clamp. Its ergonomic design allows for fast and accurate single-handed key changes, and the reversible design fits both flat and curved fretboards.

Pros

  • Super easy to use
  • One-handed operation
  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Suitable for acoustic and electric guitars, as well as seven-string guitars

Cons

  • No adjustable tension
  • Cumbersome arms

D’Addario NS Tri-Action Capo

Save $4.48
D’Addario Accessories Guitar Capo – NS Tri Action – For 6-String Electric and Acoustic Guitars – Micrometer Tension Adjustment for Buzz-Free, In-Tune Performance – Integrated Pick Holder, Black (PW-CP-09)
  • TUNED IN: Designed for use on 6-string electric and acoustic guitars, the micrometer tension adjustment on the black Tri-Action Capo ensures the proper force is being applied to the neck of the guitar for buzz-free, in-tune performance at any fret.
  • TRI-ACTION GEOMETRY: Tri-Action geometry reduces the force required to open and close the capo and applies even tension regardless of neck profile.
  • EASY TO OPERATE: The single hand, easy to operate Tri-Action Capo clamps to the headstock when not in use. An integrated pick holder stores your pick in a convenient location when playing fingerstyle.

Here’s another adjustable tension capo. The adjustment mechanism allows you to set the exact tension needed for tonal clarity in any position on the fretboard.

This neat little feature ensures that tension is correct on every fret, so you don’t inadvertently increase the pitch of your notes by applying too much tension to the neck (an issue with many non-adjustable capos). Its geometry reduces the force required to open and close the capo, applying even tension regardless of neck profile.

Additionally, the sleek frame design adds very little extra weight or obstruction to the guitar. It can also move up and down the neck single-handedly thanks to its smooth, lightweight design.


Specialist Capos

Kyser Short Cut 3-String Acoustic Guitar Capo

Kyser Short-Cut Partial Guitar Capo, 3-string, DADGAD, Black, KG3B
565 Reviews
Kyser Short-Cut Partial Guitar Capo, 3-string, DADGAD, Black, KG3B
  • Makes your guitar sound like it’s tuned to “D-A-D-G-A-D”
  • Ideal for creating alternate tunings
  • The original one-handed Short-Cut partial capo

If you’re a fan of D-A-D-G-A-D tuning, then this one is for you. This partial capo effectively tunes your guitar to D-A-D-G-A-D when you put it on the second fret. This is superb if you want to play a song in this tuning (obviously), and especially good if you’re gigging and don’t want to mess around retuning strings. It has a trigger design so you squeeze the capo in your hand, placing it exactly where you want it on the fretboard.

Pros

  • A handy way to get D-A-D-G-A-D tuning quickly
  • One-handed short-cut partial capo
  • Great for songwriting, it encourages you to experiment
  • Ideal for creating alternate tunings

Cons

  • You’ll still need a normal capo

Kyser Quick-Change Capo for 12-String Guitars

Kyser Quick-Change Guitar Capo for 12-string guitars, Black, KG12B
  • Specifically designed for 12-string guitars
  • The original one-handed Quick-Change capo
  • Strong, lightweight aluminum with steel spring

This one is specifically designed for 12-string guitars and adds tension across a wider surface area and, therefore, requires more spring force. Your typical capo won’t provide enough tension for all 12 strings.

Pros

  • Bespoke 12-string capo
  • Strong, lightweight aluminum

Cons

  • Just for 12 string guitars

Creative Tunings Universal Capo

Creative Tunings Spider Capo – The Studio Grade Capo (2-pack) Bundle
  • 6-string Universal Partial Capo with Per-string Capoing Capability

Yes, this one looks a bit like a medieval torture device, but bear with me. The ingenious thing about this one is that it lets you press down each string individually, so you can basically achieve any alternate tuning you like. It’s not for beginners, but then, nor are alternate tunings really.

Pros

  • Alternate tunings without retuning your guitar
  • Incredibly versatile

Cons

  • You have to be a total alternate tuning nerd for this one, but if you are, then walk this way. You’ll love it.

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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