Best Capo For Electric Guitar?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by stucker, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. stucker

    stucker Member

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    Years ago I never considered using a capo on an electric guitar. However, I've been playing country, bluegrass and other "roots" style music that just doesn't sound authenic without the open string licks and chord voicings.

    Most spring loaded designs clamp too tight for light gauge strings and force the instrument sharp. Others aren't tight enough or clamp unevenly and give the open string a sitar buzz.

    I appreciate any suggestions.

    Scott
     
  2. Junior

    Junior Member

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    Banjo players seem to prefer the Paige (we're talking light strings, right?). It's design applies even pressure across the fretboard. The Shubb is also a good choice. Both have adjusting screws to fine tune the tension. The new G7th is a work of art (and priced accoringly). It's a 'squeeze to tighten' affair, which would be faster to adjust unless you squeeze too hard, go sharp, have to release it and start over.

    New capos I haven't tried but look promising: Dunlop's C-4 looks like a G7th but works like a Shubb (exactly like a Shubb - never mind patents, how about pride?). Dunlop also has the Victor, same price, new design, and I think I'll like the big knob. I'm also looking forward to the Planet Waves NS (Ned Steinburger) model.

    Capos to stay away from: the all plastic Planet Waves' Ratchet bar bends over the strings. The Dunlop Advanced lacks fine adjustment and the old ones with a buckle slip.

    BTW, Kyser's aren't so bad if you place them almost on top of the fret.
     
  3. stucker

    stucker Member

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    Junior,
    Thanks for the suggestions. The Paige looks like a likely candidate for me. I see the advantages of:

    1) even pressure with the traditional screw clamp.
    2) I can loosen it and slide it above my Tele nut whan not in use.
    3) It appears lightweight for a traditional design so keeping it above the nut all night won't affect my Teles feel or balance.

    I have a nice Dan Crary traditional style capo for my bluesgrass acoustic but it's brass, and a little heavy and bulky for my Tele or Strat.

    I've been using a Shubb (the standard, not the deluxe model) and it has been the best I've tried. But no matter how I adjust it I can't get good even pressure with it. When I adjust it so the tuning is unaffected I often get some "boinging" on the E or A string (my radius is 10" so that shouldn't be an issue). Plus, I can't slide it above the nut when not in use so I have to remove it, then pick it from the floor when I need it.

    I'll give the Paige a try!

    Scott
     
  4. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    Shubb capos should do the trick for most electric guitars BUT be sure to match the curvature of the fingerboard, as they offer a few different models with different curves. This is really, really important. For example, a fairly flat capo used on a Fender with a vintage 7.25" radius will put too much pressure on the middle strings before you get the outside strings to ring clearly. This of course will make the middle strings go sharp.

    http://www.shubb.com/capomodels.html

    I cringed at the price of the G7 capo when I first saw it, although it really is a great capo. I recently scored one for $30 at a guitar show and use it on my slide guitar (a Tele with oversized neck, heavy strings and raised action) and it works extremely well. For some reason, the G7 adapts to all my guitars, while I have to be selective about which Shubb capo I use. I think these normally sell for $40-50, which is tooooo much, when a $15 Shubb will do the trick if you get the right radius match.

    BTW, there's no shame in using a capo on electric guitar. If it makes sense for acoustic guitar, why not on electric?

    cheers,
    Dave
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for pointing out that Shubb designed for the 7.25" radius. I was using one of my normal Shubbs on my Nocaster and was disappointed with how it performed for two reasons. The first was that it had to be clamped pretty tight to get the high E to ring clearly. The second reason is that the neck is so thick that the capo didn't have enough leverage to stay clamped. Does anyone know if the Shubb designed for the 7.25" radius works well with thicker necks?

    EDIT: I e-mailed Shubb and they got back to me right away (on a Saturday, no less). Here is what they said:

    Bryan
     

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