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The best guitar capos 2022: 10 top choice capos for acoustic and electric guitar

Included in this guide:

The best guitar capos 2022: 10 top choice capos for acoustic and electric guitar
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Even the very best guitar capos are very simple devices at heart. In the most basic terms, it’s a clamp designed to raise the pitch of your guitar – just like putting the guitar’s nut or your finger at a higher fret. Capos are the ideal tool to enable you to jam in tricky sharp or flat key signatures, or when you need to transpose a song to a higher pitch but still use the same chord shapes. The capo is a gigbag staple whichever type of guitar you play, so we recommend that everyone invests in one of the options in this guide. The capo is also a stellar choice if you're looking for gifts for guitar players for any occasion, as even if the guitarist in your life already has one, spares can't hurt.

You’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to capos, with a crazy number of models available to buy online at any budget. But with so much choice, how do you tell the cheap knock-offs from the best buys? That’s where we come in, as we take a closer look at some of the best capos available today and for all budgets.

We’ve included some in-depth buying advice at the end of this guide. If you’d like to read it, click the ‘buying advice’ tab above - it’ll take you straight there. If you’d rather get straight to the products, then keep scrolling. You’re nearly there!

Best guitar capos: Our top picks

The G7th Performance 3 ART Guitar Capo came out a little while back and we’ve been mightily impressed with it so far. It’s reasonably lightweight, built to last and almost as quick to adjust as the mightily convenient quick-release spring-clamp design. The basics are more than covered here. 

You also get the benefit of the G7th’s Adaptive Radius Technology. You'll learn more on fretboard radiuses in our buying advice section, but suffice to say the G7th can be used with both flat and curved fretboards with only minimal tuning compromises. Striking a fine balance between simplicity, ease of use and overall quality, we’d happily empty our wallets for the G7th, despite the higher-than-average price tag.

If you'd rather spend a little less, we can thoroughly recommend the Shubb S1 steel string capo. Shubb is an industry standard name in the world of capos, so you can rest assured that the S1 is a reliable option that will last a long time. Its slick, smooth design looks killer and doesn't impede your playing, and the easy-to-use screw tensioner is designed to enable optimal pressure. It's not cheap cheap, but definitely worth the relatively small financial outlay.

Best guitar capos: Product guide

Best guitar capos: G7th’s Performance 3 ART

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1. G7th Performance 3 ART Capo

One of the best guitar capos on the market. But does it justify the price tag?

Specifications
Price: $55/£39
Type: Wrap spring clutch
Weight: 63g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Suits any fretboard radius+Easy to operate, even one-handed+Reasonably lightweight and slim
Reasons to avoid
-It’s not cheap

You can buy a capo for less than 10 bucks, so what’s G7th’s big idea charging just shy of $55? Can it really be worth the outlay?

Well, the G7th Performance 3 ART features the company’s Adaptive Radius Technology – a system within the top bar which adjusts to the curvature of your guitar’s fretboard. The benefit? In theory, there should be no buzzing strings at the capo’d fret as the device makes even contact with all six strings. In turn, that gives the best possible tuning stability too.

Coupled with rock solid build, comfortable one-handed usability, and, actually being not quite the priciest offering here, the G7th is worth consideration for any guitarist who demands high performance from their capos.

Best guitar capos: Shubb S1 Steel String Capo

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2. Shubb C1 Steel String Capo

The most up to date version of an industry standard

Specifications
Price: $26/£20
Type: Lever/screw operated
Weight: 68g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Nickel-plated brass
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Svelte shape won’t impede playing+C2-5 models available for 12-strings, banjos etc
Reasons to avoid
-Lever/screw is slower than other designs

With the Standard C series of capos Shubb have integrated many features previously only available in the S model. Deluxe spec at standard price, then. Bargain! A capo of svelte design, its diminutive frame shouldn’t inhibit your playing around the clamped fret either.

Simply flip the lever to lock the capo in place or remove it – after you’ve adjusted the screw tensioner for optimal pressure, that is. Sure, it’s barely a 20-second task, but if you regularly move your capo around the fretboard or to a second guitar, the speed of a quick-release capo may be preferable.

Still, it’s a minor gripe. This is a classic design, a well built industry standard that should give years of reliable use. Buy with confidence.

Best guitar capos: Ernie Ball Axis Capo

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3. Ernie Ball Axis Capo

One of the easiest capos to use, and at a great price

Specifications
Price: $15/£15
Type: Quick-release spring-clamp
Weight: 99.8g
Adjustable tension: No
Material: Lightweight aluminium
Suitable for: Six- and seven-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Quick, single-handed operation+Works with curved and flat fretboards+Suitable for six- and seven-string guitars
Reasons to avoid
-Those arms may get in the way

Ernie Ball’s tasty looking Axis capo sure has kerb appeal but its talents aren’t purely skin deep. Its main strength is easy, one-handed operation. Need to move your capo mid-song? No problem! Just grab the Axis and move it. The springs deal with the tensioning for you. As long as you’re careful not to bend the strings in the process, capos don’t come easier to use than this.

And there’s no need to worry about the curvature of your guitar’s fretboard either. The Axis has two rubber-padded arms – one for flat fretboards and one for radiused. Just flip the capo around to suit your ’board. The arms can get in the way a little, but, generally, the ergonomics are pretty good so we’re not complaining.

Best guitar capos: Dunlop Trigger Capo

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4. Dunlop Trigger Capo

Still among the best capos available…

Specifications
Price: $20/£18
Type: Quick-release spring-clamp
Weight: 63.5g
Adjustable tension: No
Material: Aircraft grade aluminium
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Ease of use+Robust build quality
Reasons to avoid
-Tough competition from Ernie Ball-Single radius design only

Dunlop’s Trigger capo has been around a while. Some would say it’s another of those ‘industry standards’. Well, in 2020, it has a natural competitor in the Ernie Ball Axis model, both being spring-loaded quick-release designs. Like the Axis, you can easily change key with just a squeeze of the Trigger’s spring loaded arms. Easy!

However, despite the Trigger’s reassuringly sturdy build – sure to offer steady intonation in use – the Axis has it licked for both price and flexibility. There’s nothing to dislike here though. It’s a great capo with proven longevity. If you want one, you can be sure the Trigger will serve you well.

Best guitar capos: Planet Waves D'Addario NS Capo Pro

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5. Planet Waves D'Addario NS Capo Pro

Beautiful ergonomics from product designer Ned Steinberger, Jim D'Addario and Planet Waves

Specifications
Price: $20/£20
Type: Screw/spring-clamp
Weight: 45g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Aircraft grade aluminium
Suitable for: Six- or12-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomic slimline design+Micrometer adjustment helps minimise buzz
Reasons to avoid
-You may need a second capo-Not much really

Both lightweight and slimline, this capo from D’addario is designed to have as little negative impact on your playing as possible. Minimal mass means the NS Pro doesn’t weigh your guitar’s neck down (a potential concern when capoing at the 1st or 2nd fret) and its diminutive stature makes for easy fretting beside the capo.

This model is for guitars with radiused fretboards. That means you’ll need another capo for classical guitar or generally flatter-radiused instruments, which, to be fair D’addario do offer. Just be aware this isn’t a one size fits all capo. Need to save your dollars? Consider D’addario’s NS Lite model instead – it’s plastic, admittedly, but high-strength molded ABS, so it should be bear the rigours of many years of use.

Best guitar capos: Thalia Capos 200 Series

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6. Thalia Capos 200 Series

Thalia’s premium priced offering delivers great tuning and intonation

Specifications
Price: $75/£60
Type: Quick-release reverse fulcrum
Weight: 91g
Adjustable tension: No
Material: Die cast zinc
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Beautifully crafted+Excellent tuning/intonation+Custom styling options
Reasons to avoid
-Adjustable tension may be preferable

Thalia claim to have solved the traditional capo’s tuning problems by matching their device’s fret pads to your guitar’s fretboard radius, thus requiring less pressure on the strings. 14 tuning kits are included: pads for seven radiuses in both standard and high tension form (for 12-string guitars, amongst others). Simply slot in the tuning kit that matches your guitar’s fretboard radius.

It’s a premium capo that does its job well. We prefer the adjustable tension of the G7th – you need a bit of strength to click the Thalia into place. And, of course, the premium price represents quite an investment, so we’d recommend keeping a budget capo around too. You do not want to lose your $75 Thalia at a gig!

Best guitar capos: Paige Original 6-String Acoustic capo

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7. Paige Original 6-String Acoustic Capo

Set it and forget it! One of the best wraparound capos available

Specifications
Price: $30/£28
Type: Wraparound
Weight: 45g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Metal
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic
Reasons to buy
+Even pressure ensures good intonation+Leave it behind the nut when not in use
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t be adjusted for specific radiuses-Not the quickest position shifts

We just had to include a wraparound in our list and the Paige is a worthy contender for your cash. A tension screw sits at the middle of the back of the neck, pulling on the capo’s front arm with even pressure across the fretboard. It’s a design which largely minimises sideways string pull – so expect steady tuning.

A version for electric guitar includes thicker rubber to allow for easier string bends and to accommodate all but the most curvaceous of fretboard radiuses. A wider variant is available too – an important concern with wraparounds. Make sure to measure your guitar neck to ensure it’ll fit the Paige’s 2.062 inch width (or 2.187 for the wide model) before buying.

Best guitar capos: Guitto GGC-02 Revolver capo

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8. Guitto GGC-02 Revolver capo

A well thought out budget capo from Joyo’s new accessories company

Specifications
Price: $10/£14
Type: Screw/spring-clamp
Weight: 120g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Zinc alloy
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar / ukulele
Reasons to buy
+Genuinely useful pin puller and pick slot+Impressive build quality for the price+Cool revolver styling
Reasons to avoid
-Big handles can impede playing

So, who knew capos could include features beyond clamping strings against a guitar’s fretboard? Those cool cats at Joyo’s new accessories brand, Guitto, that’s who!

In addition to its spring-loaded, screw-adjustable clamp, this budget offering from the Chinese company offers two genuinely useful extras. First there’s a slot to hold a spare pick – a nice touch! And, second, there’s a bridge pin puller to help you quickly make string changes on your acoustic.

With its vacuum-cast, electro-plated zinc alloy build this should be a good quality capo too. And, even if you’re not a regular capo user, at this price it’d still be worth keeping one (or two) in your gigbag for those impromptu jams.

Best guitar capos: Creative Tunings Universal SpiderCapo Standard

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9. Creative Tunings Universal SpiderCapo Standard

Quirky, creative and definitely worth a second look

Specifications
Price: $40/£30
Type: Side-grip universal partial capo
Weight: 45g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Stainless steel shaft / Aluminium knob
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Create alternate tunings without retuning your guitar+ Fret notes above or below the capo
Reasons to avoid
-Can impede string bending-Unclamped strings can’t easily be played at capo’d fret

A creative take on a humble device, the SpiderCapo allows you to clamp each string individually, in turn offering up a world of alternate tunings – many that you might not have otherwise tried. All without actually retuning a string!

You could, for instance, place a SpiderCapo at 2nd position, clamp the fretted strings of an open A chord and leave the others open – that’s open A tuning. You can only capo one fret however, so more complex chordal tunings are not an option.

The SpiderCapo is suitable for any fretboard radius, but you’ll be adjusting pressure on each individual string – potentially a slow process. Also, unclamped strings can’t be fretted at the capo’d position which is a weird quirk; above or below the capo is all gravy though.

Still, if a capo can fuel new creative ideas, that alone makes it worth the price of entry. It’ll likely suit technically adept acoustic fingerstylists but we’d recommend it for any player seeking fresh inspiration.

Best guitar capos: Kyser Pro Am 6-String Guitar Capo

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10. Kyser Pro/Am 6-String Guitar Capo

The best capo for a guitarists on the tightest of tight budgets?

Specifications
Price: $8/£8
Type: Screw-clamp
Weight: 45g
Adjustable tension: Yes
Material: Lightweight aluminium
Suitable for: Six-string acoustic or electric guitar
Reasons to buy
+Well, the price!
Reasons to avoid
-No spring or lever assistance; screw-clamp only-More rubber on the lower arm would be reassuring-Aesthetics

Spoiler alert! There are better quality capos elsewhere in this list. So why include Kyser’s budget offering amongst our ‘best capo’ selection, you ask? Well, this is the cheapest model on our list. If you want a chuck-it-in-your-gigbag-and-forget-about-it capo, it’s ideal. Buy two or three and rest assured you’ll never be without.

Yes, it’s somewhat utilitarian, but it’ll do its job way better than any elasticated wrap-around type for just a teensy bit more of your hard earned. If we have a gripe, it’s the screw tensioner, which you have to adjust manually every time you move the Pro/Am. It’s a bit of a yawn but at this price we’re really not complaining.

Best guitar capos: Buying advice

Capo

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What's the deal with fretboard radiuses?

You might be confused by all this talk of fretboard radiuses, but you needn't be. Radius refers to the curvature of this vital part of your guitar. Some guitars (like certain vintage Fenders) feature rounded boards, where others are near flat. While each has its own benefits, suffice to say that different fretboard designs represent a compromise in capo design.

Fix a rounded capo on a flat fretboard (or vice versa) and you’ll end up with unwanted string buzz (the noise made where strings aren’t fully clamped) and poor tuning (where strings are pushed sharp from over-tightening the capo). In a perfect world every capo would apply even force across all six strings (and at every fret position), in order to prevent these problems.

Generally, capos can be divided into radiused capos for rounder fretboards; flatter designs, typically for shreddy SuperStrats and classical guitars; and all-in-ones – capos that either accommodate different radiuses (such as the G7th) or incorporate both a flat surface and a rounded one into their design.

Will any capo work on my guitar?

Ultimately your first consideration when choosing one of the best capos should be to choose one that fits your guitar. Most brands offer a range of options, so if you see a capo you like, there’ll probably be one designed to fit your guitar. Generally capos are designed to fit as universally as possible, so you shouldn't need to buy a specific capo unless your neck or fretboard is exceptionally different to the norm. Most companies are even making standard capos that are big enough to fit on 7-string necks, so you shouldn't need to worry too much about getting something to fit. 

There are various capo architectures available, and each have their own benefits and drawbacks – but the fretboard radius issue should be your biggest concern. Once you’re square on that, it’s a toss up between ergonomics, build quality and features (and hey, it helps if it looks cool too, right?). With that in mind, in this best guitar capos guide we’ve only recommended hardwearing, robust capos. If it’s made of fabric, plastic or elastic, it’s out!