Capos aren’t just for beginners either. Many professional musicians use capos. They alter the pitch and timbre of the strings and are often used in blues and folk music. If you want to know more, check out the capos we recommend.
Guitar Capos Buying Guide
Why buy a guitar capo?
Musicians use capos, in part, to play songs in different keys while maintaining first-position open-string chords. It takes a lot of skill to switch from barre chords to open chords with your fingers, especially in complex songs with fast tempos. Another reason to add a capo to your guitar toolbox is that it alters the pitch of open strings, so you don’t have to adjust tuning keys. Ask any experienced guitarist, and they’ll tell you that playing hard is physically demanding. Your hands and fingers sometimes get tired during a long practice session or performance. A capo can help with that.
What should you look for in a guitar capo?
- Type: Some of the capos we review here are trigger capos. You squeeze the clamp, position it on the neck of the guitar and release it like a clothespin. Spring capos are similar to trigger capos but have a spring mechanism. There are also elastic strap capos, usually covered in fabric, similar to a bungee cord. Other types worth looking into include yoke style capos, toggle capos, screw capos and even spider capos.
- Style: You can find handcrafted capos of exotic wood with intricate designs. Many prefer lightweight materials like aircraft-grade zinc alloy. You will find rosewood stained alloy capos that look like natural wood. If you’re going for a more flashy vibe, check out brush-sprayed capos with vibrant metallic colors. You can also consider a capo with a silhouette that stands out for its straight lines or elegant curves.
- Convenience: Capos are supposed to make barre chords easier to play, not more difficult. Depending on the type and music you play, you may need to move your capo to different frets in the middle of a song. Spring-loaded, trigger-operated capos are go-tos for many guitarists who need that quick convenience. Children or people with hand weakness may benefit the most from screw-on capos, as they require no hand strength. Partial capos often get in the way of your fidgety hand. There are, however, ways to make it work.
How much should you spend on a guitar capo?
It depends on the quality, material and type of capo you are looking for. We’ve reviewed a few capos that are easy to use and offer quick fixes for hitting barre chords. If you want to go ahead, look for capos with patented technologies that can outperform other capos in applying pressure evenly to every string. Ultimately, you can spend as little as $10 or as much as $300.
Our picks for the best guitar capos
Best wooden design
Advantages: The lovely rosewood look of this capo is so convincing, it’s hard to believe it’s made of aircraft-grade zinc alloy. The material makes it super light – only 0.2 ounces, so you’ll hardly notice it. Wingo gave it a thick silicone pad to protect the fretboard and fingerboard of the guitar. With a quick-release construction, this capo is easy to maneuver during and between songs. Move it with one hand! You also get five colorful celluloid guitar picks.
The inconvenients: If you like the wood look, know that the Wingo capo is not made of solid wood.
Conclusion: Check other websites if you must. The Wingo is undeniably one of the most popular guitar capos. It’s beautiful, light and easy to use.
Best with pick holder
Advantages: Perhaps the biggest selling point of the TANMUS guitar capo is that it is a three-in-one. The zinc alloy capo comes in a velvet bag with four colored picks. The capo’s spring-loaded design provides optimal pressure and grip. Silicone pads protect the fingerboard and prevent the capo from slipping. The compact and lightweight capo is made all the more impressive with the integrated pin puller located at the end of the lever on top of the capo when placed on the guitar neck. You’ll appreciate the pin puller when it’s time to rearm your instrument. Another quality feature is the pick holder, an integrated serrated slot located at the top of the capo. It grips your pick securely, so it won’t wobble even when you play hard.
The inconvenients: Users report that the capo works best for medium to light strings. It is not a universal fit.
Conclusion: Made beautiful with an even brushed spray, this capo looks as good as it performs. And it works well. It is available in several colors: metallic silver, black and wood, and bronze.
Best Multi-Piece Set
Advantages: This rosewood colored aircraft grade aluminum capo has a clean and elegant look. You won’t see its steel spring, but it’s inside where it should be, ensuring buzz-free performance. Soft silicone pads line the capo where it adheres to your guitar neck and on the grip handle to cushion your palm. It comes with a 360 degree clip-on tuner with an easy-to-read LCD digital display. The tuner can tune all guitars, ukuleles and violins. Tune your instrument anywhere and get an accurate reading.
The inconvenients: You may experience some buzz, although this capo promises a buzz-free experience.
Conclusion: This Moreyes set receives consistently positive feedback. Plus, you get eight celluloid guitar picks.
Advantages: Here is an ultra-light capo made of pink aircraft-grade aluminum. Pink! And as any good capo should, the Nordic Essentials Steel Spring Capo features protective silicone pads. Use it with one hand without worrying about messing up the tuning. The capo is made just for musicians like you. Put it in your purse or bag and go. Plus, you also get a purple capo! There you have it: two colorful and flashy capos and two bags to keep them pristine when stored away.
The inconvenients: Although these capos are meant to accommodate 6 and 12 string instruments, for ukuleles, banjo, bass and mandolin, you may not find this to be true.
Conclusion: This two-pack two-tone capo combo is available in different color pairs. There are also black and silver, green and blue, red and gold.
Advantages: While many capos are designed to fit all guitars, Kyser’s Quick-Change is explicitly designed for 12-string guitars. You need a capo with higher tension and a larger body to cover each string with equal pressure. This beauty is made of lightweight aluminum and a steel spring. But there is more to the story. Kyser’s quick-change capo rose to popularity in the 1980s and has remained one of the fastest growing capos in the western United States. It gets its speed from the innovative trigger mechanism that promises reliable adjustment and stay-in-place. Place the device on the headstock of your instrument between uses.
The inconvenients: Even the best capos have insufficient performance for some guitars. If you have a guitar with a thin neck, for example, you might find that the Kyser doesn’t hold all the frets as it should.
Conclusion: You don’t just get a great capo for 12-string guitars with the Kyser Quick-Change. Because it’s well known to guitarists, it’s also a fashion statement, a sign that you’re in the know.
If you’re ready to make guitar playing easier, check out these capos. These are all great accessories for guitarists of varying experience levels.