Best Capos for Classical Guitars – 2020 Top Picks Reviewed

Capos may not be on top of the list of most important guitar accessories, such as cables, straps, amps, or pedals.

However, they can be extremely useful, not only for beginners but also for more experienced players.

This is why we decided to put together our favorite capos of this year, as well as a short guide to give you all the information you need. 

Comparison of the Best Capos For Classical Guitars

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Dunlop Trigger Classical Guitar Capo

  • Best classical guitar capo overall
  • Strong, spring-action grip, only a squeeze needed
  • Unique pressure pad with a tailored fit for frets and fingerboard
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On-Stage Classical Guitar Capo

  • Simple squeeze-release design
  • Best intonation and buzz-free fretting
  • Padded contact points for enhanced comfort
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D'Addario Planet Waves NS Classical Guitar Capo

  • Best for the money
  • Buzz-free, in-tune performance
  • Ultra-light, aircraft-quality aluminum
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Kyser Capo for Classical Guitar

  • Best Kyser Classical Guitar Capo
  • Protective pads for the contact points
  • Quick-change clamps for easy and fast repositioning
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Shubb Original C-Series Nylon-String Guitar Capo

  • Patented locking action
  • Speed, ease of use, and accuracy
  • Best Shubb Capo for Classical Guitar
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What is a Capo and What is it Used For?

A capo is a little device that clamps down all the strings of your classical guitar. This makes it easier to play in different keys because it basically moves the guitar’s nut up and down the fretboard.  

Capos are used for several reasons. For instance, guitarists use them to raise or lower the key of the song when working with a singer. They can match the key of the song with the singer's voice. Additionally, capos make playing the guitar much easier, so it is often used by beginners. 

Lastly, it comes in handy for a guitar duo. When playing with another guitarist, you can use the capo to play higher voicings of chords. 

Are All Capos The Same?

Just like any other product, capos come in many variations. Truthfully, it can become quite overwhelming if you do not know what you are looking for. Not all of them are suitable for every guitar type, and they have different features and characteristics. 

Clamp Capos

Similar to what we have mentioned above, this is the most common capo you will find. It is a clamp that holds down all the guitar’s strings, pressing them across the frets. 

A Shubb

This is the most flexible capo because it comes with a screw and a lever to adjust the size. If you have different instruments that you would like to use the capo on, a Shubb might be the perfect choice for you. Since it adjusts, you only need one for different neck sizes. 

Less Common Types

You can find g-bands, which are capos that hold down only specific strings. Usually, these are the ones on the outer parts of the fret, forming a ‘G’ shape. A slider goes smoothly from one fret to another without having to remove it. Lastly, a spider is used to hold down only selected strings. 

What Makes a Great Capo?

Here are the basic features that make a capo stand out from the crowd:

Construction Quality and Materials

First, the construction quality and materials are important, as they decide the durability of your capo. Not to mention, if the capo is slippery or poorly made and bounces into your instrument, you will risk some scratches if the materials are too rough. Lightweight zinc alloy or aluminum are recommended, but it is wise to avoid plastic capos, as they are not durable. 

Adjustments

Another great feature of a capo is the tension adjustment (a screw, most likely). This allows you to fine-tune the pressure of the capo on the strings, ensuring a firm grip and no buzzing. Buzzing is a real problem with many capos on the market, so a great capo eliminates the fret buzz. 

Protection

Lastly, it is important to have a secure grip on the guitar, but without damaging the finish. Silicone pads are usually the best option. They have a firm grip without disturbing intonation and tuning of the guitar. Padding on the inner sides of the clamp is useful because it protects the instrument from damage. 

Review of the Best Capos For Classical Guitars

Now that you know what to keep an eye out for, take a look through some of our favorites to see what they have in store for you.

PROS

  • Durable, heavy-duty quality capo
  • Built from aircraft-quality aluminum
  • Ergonomic shape enhances comfort
  • Strong spring action keeps it in place
  • Spans the wider neck of a classical guitar
  • Padded grip for convenience and comfort

CONS

  • Heavy-duty aluminum design can scratch the instrument if it slips, must be handled with care

What Recent Buyers Report 

This capo is very durable and well-constructed. It secures the strings without any buzz, and it is ideal for guitars with flat fretboards (not radiused). Make sure you handle it with care, as the aircraft-quality aluminum can definitely scratch your instrument if you don’t secure it properly.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Dunlop 88N Classical Trigger Capo has an ergonomic shape that offers comfort and convenience. It has a padded handle that makes the fret-positioning smooth and easy. With a strong spring action, you can clamp it firmly in place. The quality and innovation of this capo make it stand out from the crowd.

Who Will Use This Most

This is one of the top recommendations for the best capos for classical guitars. It is ideal for nylon-stringed instruments, as it can span the wider neck and clamp all the strings firmly into place. It can be used with ease. Thus, it works great for both beginners and more experienced players.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Dunlop 88N Classical capo stands out because of its innovative design and construction with the best quality materials. The aircraft-quality aluminum build will last through the apocalypse. Make sure you don't bang it on your instrument by mistake, though, or you are bound to have a scratch.

PROS

  • Proper intonation
  • Buzz-free fretting
  • Well-balanced and easy to use
  • Made from lightweight zinc alloy
  • Easy-to-use design, ideal for on-stage performances

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This capo works flawlessly, and, unlike other capos, it will never de-tune your strings once you learn to apply it correctly. This is a major asset when gigging or during on-stage performances. The grip is strong, but the capo feels very comfortable. It can be released with a simple squeeze.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This capo is ideal for professional use. It is sized and contoured especially for classical guitars with nylon-strings. Plus, it has a simple squeeze-release design for quick changes. What is more, it is made from lightweight zinc alloy for a balanced feel. Also, it is padded in all the contact points, which protects the finish of your instrument.

Who Will Use This Most

Perfectly designed for on-stage use, this professional-quality capo embeds all the features you would expect: ease of use, portability, and accuracy. It is great for buzz-free fretting, whether you use it in the studio, in a showroom, or for on-stage performances. It also does not de-tune the strings when applied correctly.

Bottom Line

All in all, if you are looking for a sturdy, ergonomic, and professional capo, this model is the right one for you. It is recommended for more experienced players for studio or stage use. It can be quickly maneuvered, and it protects your instrument through padded contact points.

PROS

  • One-hand, quick operation
  • Less tuning needed after use
  • Durable and long-lasting design
  • Can adjust the precise tension for great notes
  • Convenient, can be moved with only one hand
  • Unique design with a micrometer adjustment screw

CONS

  • Cannot be stored on the headstock (place on the nut instead)

What Recent Buyers Report

This product has a friendly clamp on the instrument, protecting the strings. It is well-made and easy to adjust and use. On the other hand, the design is a bit too wide to be stored on the headstock. You can clamp it across the nut instead. Overall, it does a great job!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The NS Capo has a sleek, featherweight design and is made from aluminum. It is best for fast and accurate one-hand positioning on the instrument’s neck. All you need to do is turn the smooth and tactile dial to eliminate all the string buzz. The one-hand operation is a great feature, especially when you perform live.

Who Will Use This Most

Another universal capo, it works flawlessly with classical guitars. It is made of lightweight materials. Thus, it can be a great accessory for traveling musicians. You can easily attach it to your guitar when on stage for in-tune seamless performances.

Bottom Line

The D'Addario Planet Waves NS Classical Guitar Capo has a unique design. It uses a fast micrometer screw to ensure perfect pressure for a buzz-free performance. Thus, it always stays in tune at every fret. The design is easy and makes it easy to use.

Best Kyser Classical Guitar Capo:
Kyser Capo for Classical Guitar

PROS

  • Professional quality
  • Does not disturb the tuning
  • One-handed, quick-change system
  • Firm, but lightweight aluminum construction
  • Can be placed on the headstock when not in use
  • Maintains intonation through the spring-tensioned clamps

CONS

  • Paint is not very durable

What Recent Buyers Report

The Kyser Classical Capo is believed to be one of the best capos on the market for guitarists who make frequent changes. You can easily play the guitar in a different key, and you can change its position with only one hand. It is definitely suitable for professional use and on-stage performances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Kyser Classical Capo is easy to move, use, and remove. When not in use, you can clamp it on the headstock. It easily raises the pitch of the instrument without changing fingering, which means that you can easily play in a different key. It is durable, but the paint might fade after some time.

Who Will Use This Most

The Kyser capo is perfectly tensioned to fit on classical guitars. Ideal for both beginners and more experienced players, this product is simple to use, reliable, and durable. The steel spring mechanism is trustworthy and strong enough, yet it is also easy to adjust when needed.

Bottom Line

All in all, if you want a durable capo suitable for daily use or on-stage performances, this one is what you need. It is durable and lightweight due to the aluminum construction. It protects the finish of your guitar through the padded contact points, and it has a fast and simple mechanism.

Best Shubb Capo for Classical Guitar:
Shubb Original C-Series Nylon-String Guitar Capo

PROS

  • Powerful and accurate
  • No re-tuning required
  • Does not pull strings off-center
  • Nickel-plated or plain brass finish
  • ​Does not bend the strings over the frets
  • Easy-to-use patented locking mechanism

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Highly recommended, the Shubb capo eliminates all the unnecessary buzzing that other capos produce. From the first use, you will easily notice fuller sounds without any holes. It provides just the right amount of tension without any unnecessary de-tuning.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Shubb Original C-Series is the embodiment of what an ideal capo should be. It does not create tuning issues. Also, it has a resilient, soft rubber, so the capo does not bend the strings over the frets. The patented locking mechanism can be used with only one hand, so it does not pull the strings of the guitar off-center.

Who Will Use This Most

This capo is ideal for practice, both for beginners and more advanced players. It is also great for professional use on-stage or in the studio. It boasts a no-string mechanism, and the tension is fully adjustable. The compact size makes it easy to use. You can also easily store it out of the way when you do not need it.

Bottom Line

The Shubb Original C-Series Nylon-String Guitar Capo is a buzz-free, high-quality, lightweight capo that will help you achieve your best potential. It has a unique design that can be easily classified as one of the best capos for classical guitar.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Here is a short summary of what you need to know about capos before buying one. 

Clamp Capos – Benefits and Disadvantages

These capos clamp down on the instrument, and you can adjust the tension with a squeeze or using a screw. The major advantage of this model is that you can adjust the tension to eliminate all the string buzz without de-tuning your instrument. On the other hand, it will take quite some time for you to do this. 

Spring Capos – Benefits and Disadvantages

This type comes with a built-in spring that clamps down on the neck of your instrument. All you need to do is squeeze the trigger to release the tension, relocate it, and then release it. Intuitively, the bad side is that you cannot adjust the tension, so you may either de-tune your guitar or have string buzz. 

Dual-Action Capos

The combo of the two types is the dual-action capo, which offers the advantages of a spring capo but also has adjustable tension. 

How to Use a Capo on a Guitar

These guidelines depend on what type of capo you have, but the procedure is quite smooth and easy. Follow these steps :

  1. Place the guitar on your lap or around the shoulder using a strap. The position should be the one in which you usually play.  

  2. Take the capo in the playing hand.

  3. Place the capo on the fret. For each fret, the capo raises the key 1.5 steps. For instance, when it is on the first fret, the key is 1.5 steps higher. It works the same for all the frets. 

  4. Open the capo and attach it to the fret behind the fret bar. Usually, the capo has two padded areas that are clamped down on the guitar's string. There is a longer side that will touch the guitar's string, while the shorter side is at the back, clamping the guitar's backside.   

  5. Make sure the position is correct. If it is in the wrong position, your instrument will get de-tuned. The capo needs to be in the fret, right behind the fret bar. This means that the capo should not be placed right on the fret bar, but not too far from it, either. 

Conclusion

Overall, there are a few different designs for capos. The best thing to do is to experiment and see which one works best for you. The requirements of your playing technique plays a key role in determining the best capo. The best ones are lightweight and easy to use, with no fret buzz or de-tuning of your guitar. 

People Also Ask

Here is a short FAQ section to help you out with your quest of choosing the best capo. We have also answered other common questions, such as whether they can damage your guitar and why your instrument might get out of tune. 

Does Using a Capo Make Playing Guitar Easier?

Most guitarists find that a capo will make playing much easier. This is because a capo allows the player to use fewer chords. This is one of the main advantages of capos and one of the primary reasons many guitarists choose to use capos. 

Do Professionals Use Capos?

Many professional guitarists use capos. They are extremely versatile and make the process easier, allowing you to play more songs with fewer chords. Thus, it is not surprising that many professionals use guitar capos when they perform. Capos help you achieve a great tone, and they also have other benefits. 

Do Capos Damage Guitars?

Capos apply pressure on your guitar, so this will not damage the guitar, especially if the capo is high-quality. Wear usually comes from friction. Therefore, make sure your new capo has good quality padding that keeps it steady and fixed on your guitar.

Can You Leave a Capo on Your Guitar?

Leaving a high-quality capo on your guitar should not cause any damage, as it simply applies pressure. However, we recommend to remove it when you are using the guitar because the capo applies extra tension on the neck and top of the guitar. Over time, this might cause you problems. 

Why Does My Guitar Sound Out of Tune With a Capo?

If you are a beginner, you will need some experience to learn how to position the capo appropriately on the guitar. Tuning issues are caused by excess pressure on the string. This means that the capo can squeeze the strings too much and pull them out of tune. Thicker strings are even more exposed to this issue.