Maybe the easiest capos to use, and the most simple design, spring loaded capos work exactly like you'd think they do.
Spring Loaded Capos
My home is riddled with Kyser Quick Change Capos. I'm pretty sure I have one in most of my guitar cases. I have never had any issue with these capos pulling my guitars out of tune or anything like that, and they will hold up after years of use.
The G7th Nashville Capo is my personal favourite as far as spring loaded capo models go. This capo is priced low, and very high quality. I tend to use this capo on my guitars that have a thicker 50's style neck, because it doesn't put too much tension on these guitars and therefore they don't get pulled out of tune at all.
Clamp style capos differ from spring loaded ones in that they often function by setting the tension of a clamp which you can either engage or disengage. This is pretty interesting because the tension that a spring style capo exerts on your guitar is not adjustable, and it depends on the spring in the capo. However, the tension on a clamp style capo is set to match what your individual guitar needs, and the idea is that this will allow you to set the perfect amount of tension so the guitar isn't pulled out of tune.
Clamp Style Capos
Shubb capos are really the quintessential clamp style capo. By turning the adjustable knob at the backside of the capo, you can set the tension and you're ready to go! Additionally, by not using spring loaded mechanisms clamp style capos such as the Shubb capo are considered to be more durable. I have personally found the Shubb capo to be great for gigging, and very reliable.
The G7th Performance series capos are a little pricier, but they're definitely worth the investment! This capo can be repositioned from fret to fret much easier than a traditional clamp style capo, and the clamp mechanism is intuitive and easy to set. With this capo, it's simple to find the perfect amount of tension your guitar neck requires for the capo to function optimally. As an added bonus, this capo comes with a free lifetime warranty.
Toggle capos operate by fitting a strap around your guitar's neck. These types of capos are the preference of many guitarists for a couple of very good reasons. First of all, the footprint of this style of capo is very small. This means that toggle capos are the least likely to interfere with your fingering or your technique in any way. Also, toggle capos are very easy on your guitar. By fixing a strap around the guitar rather than pinching the neck with a clamp or a spring, the toggle capo is the most careful and delicate style of capo. That said, these capos are still very effective and reliable. As an added bonus, often times toggle capos are on the cheaper end of the price scale as well!
The Dunlop 11f Advanced Toggle Capo is a very widely used model, and is a great capo as well! They are super portable, and you could even keep one in your pocket or in a hardshell guitar case where space is limited. My experience with these capos has been nothing but positive, and I highly recommend them.
A little towards the unorthodox side, the glider capo technically falls under the category of a spring loaded capo but I felt like it was unique enough to deserve its own separate mention here.
The Glider Capo's intended purpose is to be seamlessly moved and repositioned on the fretboard without any issues. This capo does this by being attached to the guitar even when it is not in use. The way this works is that if you are not using the capo, you simply slide it behind the nut of the guitar where it is ready to be repositioned for the next song! This is actually a really neat design, and if you're the type of guitarist who needs a capo at the ready at all times, this might be just what you're looking for.
Thank you so much for checking out my article on capos! I hope that I've helped you narrow down some of your options, and decide what might work best for what you need. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments, and happy playing!
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