As affiliates we may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases through product links.

What is a Guitar Capo?

|By|Updated:
What is a guitar capo featured image.

Regardless of your guitar expertise or playing level you can agree on one thing. Guitars have some excellent accessories. One of which is the guitar capo.

A guitar capo is a small object that clamps around the neck of a guitar. This helps shorten the length of a guitars strings giving it a higher pitch. Typically you will look to fasten the capo across all the strings on your guitar. Although you do have the option of using the capo on specific strings.

This allows guitarists to utilise different keys and play with higher pitches tones from the offset. They work in the same way in which a guitar nut does. In the sense that you can remove vibrations by fixing the capo to any required fret.

Another useful feat when it comes to capos is that you don’t need to stretch as much. This should make those higher pitches songs that little bit easier to play. Capos actually really help your vocalists out. They can help them get that desired pitch match with very little effort.

Why do you need a guitar capo?

A common question is rather than buying a capo, why can’t you adjust the tuning keys? Well to start off, this would be pretty time consuming. Also using a capo changes the tone of the open strings only. This means that the tones of the fretted notes won’t change.

Using a guitar capo is simple. Once it’s attached to the neck of your guitar you can slide it to find your desired tone. It’s exactly like playing your guitar normally. It’s worth noting that you should place the capo before the fret, not over the horizontal metal wire.

The image below details the correct placement of a guitar capo.

Guitar capo positioning

Guitar capos come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Cloth and Toggle capos are a popular option. These have a toggle made usually from wood, rubber or metal which you place against the fret. The cloth which is connected to the toggle then wraps around the back of the neck.

Roller capos are a fairly new design. They’ve got a round toggle which is pressed against the frets. It’s connected to the rear section of the capo via springs. The idea behind these types of capos is that they can sit behind the guitars nut when not in use and can be slided down when needed.

Another option you’ve got is the spring loaded capo. These are known for their quick change ability making them a very popular option. It’s easy to clamp these on or remove them with a single hand.

C clamp capos are similar in terms of appearance to spring loaded capos. Instead of springs these have thumbscrews which allow you to secure the capo in place. These take longer to put in place, but you are able to adjust the tension.

So now you know exactly what guitar capos are, what they’re used for and identify the different kinds.