The first documented use of a capo was in 1640, by Giovanni Battista. It has since then been used in many different settings, and if we jump to it right now, it is extremely common to use. It gives the guitar a completely different feel and sound. It allows for quick transposition for new or intermediate players, making almost any song playable by just knowing the open chords.
Choosing the right capo for your electric guitar might seem trivial. But if you can do a bit of research and get it right on the first purchase, why not do it that way? Capos are designed for different scenarios. Choosing a capo designed for something with a wider neck than the typical electric guitar can do serious damage if misapplied. There are various shapes, prices, sizes, materials, and mechanics in capos. We have looked at the best picks for capos that go along with the electric guitar.
This listing is to help you understand the differences between some of our selected top picks. For a more detailed view of how capos can be used to affect greatly, visit the Buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article!
D’Addario has always made quality accessories for the guitar. They are mainly known for their top-notch strings but also make oils, straps, pick holders, tuners, and much more. It is why you can count on a certain standard with D’Addario, and they are dedicated to accessories. The D’Addario Tri-Action capo is designed to work well with six-string acoustic and electric guitars. It is light on the fretboard, made out of aluminum, meaning it is sturdy enough to be tossed around without a problem. You can have this capo resting on your headstock. The mechanic for adjusting grip strength is simple, and it applies pressure evenly through the entire neck.
Most capos are affordable, and this one is no different. It is, however, in the higher range of prices in this listing. As with any product, there will be flaws in manufacturing sometimes. But by paying slightly more for a capo, you can be even more confident that it won’t come out bad from the factory. Overall, this capo should suit any electric guitar.
WINGO 6 String Single-Handed Guitar Capo
- Cheap Material
Here is a very simple option for someone looking to try something out. It is designed and marketed to be used on electric, acoustic, ukulele, banjo, and mandolin. Indeed, the manufacturers will claim that there are no buzz or intonation issues with this capo. But since there are no options to adjust grip strength and it has such a cheap design, you can count on more of those problems than in a more expensive capo. It will, however, do the job in most scenarios. It is made out of lightweight zinc and won’t cause too much pressure on your electric guitar specifically. As WINGO claims, this capo is suited for other stringed instruments such as ukulele and mandolin, but there are better options for those instruments specifically.
If you find a capo that perfectly suits your instrument and is a cheap one, the price won’t matter. Almost no capo in any price range has an innovative or ingenious design; they function very similarly. A capo like the one from WINGO might actually be the perfect bet for small-scale performers who shift capos between one or two instruments during a set. It is super simple to put on your instrument, and it is reliable in that the grip strength can’t be adjusted.
Donner DC-2 Guitar Capo
- Unreliable Build
Next up is a cheap capo with string technology that ensures even pressure is applied no matter the instrument. It is made from zinc and is easy enough to move around the neck to do well in any performance scenario. Comparing the previous two listings, this capo is slightly less sturdy and will probably lose some string tension faster than the first D’Addario capo, for example. The strings and the capo are made out of cheaper material and not as bulky, which strains the strings extra.
This capo might be considered one of the most beautiful looking ones on this listing. It comes in several different colors and has a very slick look. It will work fine for any electric guitar, but since it is produced to be as cheap as possible, it won’t last you as long as something a little more expensive. Some might consider it too stiff for their guitar necks because it has no adjustable string. However, it is still light and apply a reasonable amount of pressure to your guitar neck and has a practical silicone pad to protect the guitar from unnecessary damage.
Fender Dragon Capo
Tailored For Electric
- Clunky Adjustment
Next up is the only capo on this list that is specifically marketed as an electric-only capo. It does not mean any of the other capos are unusable for the electric, but it gives the Buyer a little bit of certainty that the capo is specifically tailored for their electric. Above that, Fender is a huge player in the guitar market, and whether you like their products or not, they are of great quality. This Dragon Capo is relatively cheap and has a small but sturdy design.
For a Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Telecaster, or any Fender brand guitar, using this capo is your safest choice. It is specially made for electric guitars, and Fender surely did testing on their own guitars. The design is smooth and cool in the spirit of Fender. The adjustment of grip strength is slightly slow, making this capo best for bedroom practice instead of live performance. A must-have for any Fender guitar, but it will work just fine on all electrics.
G7th Performance 3 Capo with ART
Good All Round
Lastly, on this list, we feature the most sturdy capo. It is a thick and small capo that works well for electric as well as acoustic guitar. This capo is in the higher price range and will cost more than you may think a capo should cost. But the cost makes up for itself in the quality of the product. This capo will seldom detune any guitar, won’t cause fret buzz, and is designed to take up as little space on the fretboard as possible. A capo like this would be perfect for someone looking for a lifetime friend, tired of going through the hordes of cheap and low-quality products. It comes in either black or silver/grey.
The G7th Performance 3 Capo is a reliable all-around capo. Probably the best one on this list. Again, it is not so well suited for smaller stringed instruments like the mandolin or ukulele. However, it will do the job in any case for acoustic steel-string guitars, nylon-string guitars, and all types of electric. The higher quality of material and reliable mechanics in this capo means that it won’t cause too much strain on your stringed instrument. It is excellent all-around but also the hottest contender for single-purpose use on the electric guitar.
There aren’t too many things you need to understand about the capo to make an informed decision before a purchase, but we will try to cover what needs to be said about it here.
The capo clamps down on the fingerboard of your guitar. It essentially creates a new nut, allowing the open strings to play at higher pitches. Open strings are not to be underestimated in guitar playing. They are used for the most basic open chords and can also be used in advanced playing for great effect.
Another essential use of a capo is that it can cure fatigued ears. When playing in the same tuning, on the same guitar, you might become bored with the same strings for a long time. Again it might seem trivial but using a capo as a tool to cure writer’s block and become more creative is a legitimate option. It gives the guitar a completely new sound.
The most practical and straightforward use of a capo is to change the key of whatever song you’re playing. For practicing singers, this is beyond helpful when trying to fit a piece into your specific range. If there are notes within a particular song that are too low to be reached, play around with capo placement and play the song exactly the same way on your instrument until you find the right key for your voice.
When fretting a note, players should try to place their fingers before the fret. The same goes for capo placement; put it just before the fret, not over the metal or too far away. Capos function very simply by either using strings, bolts, or elastic.
Overall, the creativity block that a capo can help cure is since it brightens the guitar’s sound. It makes it sound more like a ukulele or mandolin. We get tired after hearing the same thing over and over again, be it producing, practicing, or performing.
Capos can also greatly affect live performance where two guitars sound muddy or need more contrast. Place a capo where the frequencies resonate at a pleasing point and transpose the piece to get a completely different sound than if two guitars play the same thing. Some capos change your guitar’s tuning very quickly by only pressing down on a few strings at a time. These are useful for live performances where the performer wants to switch between two tunings between songs but still wants to use the same guitar.
You can’t deny it: a capo is an essential tool for almost every guitarist. Some guitarists will take pride in not using one, but that pride is falsely claimed. The tone-shaping ability that a capo has can’t be achieved any other practical way or by just playing a song in a different key without the capo. If you want a brighter sound or a quick way to hop between keys, the capo is legitimate.
However, if you have more time on your hands, it is recommended to learn how to switch between keys without using open chords and a capo. Capos sit in such a price range that it is pretty comfortable to try a few and see what happens, depending on how tightly you hold onto your money. However, the best bet for the case of an electric guitar capo would be to purchase something slightly more expensive right away and save yourself the trouble. If you are planning on playing any amount at all, the slightly more expensive product will treat your guitar better both because they won’t strain it and won’t interfere with the tone.
There are plenty of good options for the beginner in this listing that will do just fine and cost as much as a hamburger. As a final disclaimer, many manufacturers will claim that their capos work well with almost any stringed instrument. It can be seriously dangerous as too much pressure on a ukulele’s neck can have serious damages rather than the short term markings that too much pressure does to electric guitars. For smaller stringed instruments, purchase capos that are specifically designed for those. Nothing is wrong with having the same type of capo for stringed instruments of similar sizes.
As this article shows, some capos are better suited for the general purpose.