A not-so-quiet grassroots revolution is gaining momentum. Innovative guitarists from around the world have been experimenting with new single-string capos, then posting their own demo videos as part of a growing online community.
Fretlocks, a new capo that can be placed on any string and on almost any fret, launched its product six months ago with a bang—not to mention its very own GuitarWorld.com feature.
With zinging one-liners like “songwriters have traditionally been limited by having five fingers on each hand,” we’ve decided to catch up with Fretlocks six months later.
“What’s really great is that although we’ve had a number of prominent artists and bands contact us, we’re now really seeing a lot of grassroots guitarists try our new type of capo and experiment with it,” says Jonny West, inventor and co-founder of Fretlocks.
Marco Lelpo likes to let his guitar resonate. “To do this, sometimes I use open tunings—and I really love them),” he says. “Fretlocks is exactly what I was looking for in order to play some interesting melodies while letting the strings ring and getting a rich sound.”
“We’ve seen lots of different styles—hard rock, classical and acoustic fingerstyle,” West says. “But the common theme has been guitarists wanting to try something new and to create a different sound.”
The U.K.-based company also has created its own community of vloggers, dubbed the "Freternity," where people have posted videos of themselves playing innovative new music. Even some award-winning guitarists have posted videos and shared their inspiration for using Fretlocks.
Will McNicol’s inspiration comes from his initial classical training, although he now plays more steel-string, so there’s a lot of technique-crossover going on. “Fretlocks capos have made me consider how I can craft melody accompanied by drones in areas on the guitar I hadn't thought of previously,” McNicol says. “I found working with them on the tremolo technique particularly fascinating.”
Neil Swanson, who plays mainly electric guitar (and with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics) also has been schooled with one of his all-time favorite “axe grinders,” Steve Vai.
You can see more videos at Fretlocks and also buy a tester pack of six Fretlocks for $15 and $30 for a composer pack of 12.