CaposBuying Guide

Choosing the Best Capo for Your Playing Style

If you play any style of guitar, you know how useful capos can be. You're also probably familiar with how detrimental a bad capo can be to your tuning, your instrument, and your tonality. It's important to make sure that you buy the best capo for you, your playing style, and your instrument.

To make this easier, we compiled the guide below to disseminate the differences between each capo type and give some solid picks for each category.

Quick Picks for What You Play

Trigger Capos

Trigger capos are clip-on-type capos featuring spring-loaded mechanisms that allow players to easily clamp it onto their guitar's neck with one hand. If you only gig with one acoustic guitar—especially steel-stringed—pick up a capo like this that can be easily taken on an off and moved up and down the neck without having to pause for too long between songs to unscrew.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that you can't dial-in the tension with these capos, which can severely affect your intonation. You'll get buzzing frets if it fits too loosely and tuning issues and string bending if the fit is too tight.

More Excellent Trigger Capos

Screw-On Capos

Screw-on capos are the answer to the trigger capos' tension problem, allowing players to tighten tension to the perfect degree. However, this precision comes at the expense of a quickly movable capo, with most screw-on models requiring more than one hand to make adjustments. There are a few models of this type, however—like the Schubb S1 Deluxe—that are designed to make one-handed adjustments easier.

More Excellent Screw-On Capo Options

Specialty Capos

Though many capos fall into the above categories, those aren't the only designs available on the market. Many companies and builders have set out to develop their own unique iterations on the capo design.

Toggle capos, for example, hold their tension via an adjustable strap that's tightened incrementally along the notches on the back of the bar, and players often choose them because of how light and unobtrusive they are. But dialing in tension can sometimes be frustratingly imprecise with this capo style, especially if you find that your desired tension falls in between two notches.

On the flipside, if you're looking to get super specific with how you're dialing in your tension, you can pick up a Creative Tuning SpiderCapo, which works by individually capoing each string for the ultimate in control and precision. And somewhere in between is the G7th Performance 2, which forgoes both screws and levers to instead allow players to dial in tension simply by squeezing with one hand.

In addition to unique iterations on the standard capo design, there are also other kinds of specialty capos like partial capos, which only capo a select few strings at a time. These can be super useful for musicians who utilize a lot of alternate tunings in their playing and don't need to capo every string.

Partial Capos