A classical guitar capo is an essential tool every guitarist should have. But what is the difference between a classical guitar capo and a capo for other styles of playing.
A classical guitar capo is a little differently shaped, specifically designed to fit the shape of a classical guitar’s fretboard.
While you can likely use a regular capo in some instances, you may need a capo made for a classical guitar.
Does classical guitar use capo?
Yes, classical guitarists can use a capo to transpose the open key of their guitar. While not super common for classical guitar, capos do exist and are a part of every guitarists tool kit.
The main reason you might not see capos used as commonly for classical guitar, is that you’re often utilizing the whole or most of the fretboard during every song.
Capos, classical or otherwise, shorten the length of the playable area of the fretboard. For classical guitarists this may be necessary, but does limit the total playable area.
Classical guitarists are typically skilled enough to the point where they may opt to transpose a song rather than using a capo.
Can you use a capo on a classical guitar
Yes, Classical guitars can use a capo in just the same fashion as a regular acoustic or electric guitars. Although you should ensure that the capo you get works for your classical guitar.
When required a capo is an absolute necessity. Unless of course you have a friend willing to lend you their finger for an entire song, but they might not be your friend much longer after the song is over!
Can you capo nylon strings
Yes, a capo can be used with nylon strings. Nylon strings should not be a problem with most capos.
You may want to ensure you get a tension adjustable capo to ensure you can get a proper fit between the capo, strings and the frets.
Nylon strings can play a little differently with a capo, I’ve noticed this even on my acoustic guitar with ball-end nylon strings.
While I’m able to use my non-classical capo, I find I need to play with it a little more than normal to get the right fit to avoid string buzz.
How do you pick a capo for a classical guitar?
Choosing a classical capo is not as tricky as you might think. You will be well served simply by selecting a capo specifically made for classical guitars.
However, not all capos are made equal. If possible you will want to select a capo with tension adjustment. As a classical guitarist, so long as you buy a capo made for classical guitar, that has adjustable tension you will be good to go.
A good capo will have adjustable tension, a strong clamping mechanism and soft rubber bar that contacts with the strings.
So long as you can find a capo that check all three of those boxes you can’t go too wrong.
I would recommend staying away from “fancy” or “advanced” capos. You don’t need your capo to also be a tuner, a guitar pick holder or a string cleaner.
When it comes to guitar tools and accessories, less is often more. You want your capo to be a capo that does its job well.
Likewise you need your tuner to be accurate and get you in perfect tune.
As soon as you start combining guitar tools you’ll lose precision on one or more of the uses.
Capos with a built in tuner is likely going to compromise on one feature in order to better accommodate the others, you don’t want this.
A solid capo is cheap and effective, likewise a solid tuner will be more expensive but should last a long time.
A tuning capo is going to do both things decently sure, but the second you begin to have problems with tuning or string buzz, you’re not going to be happy with your purchase.
My recommendation is to get guitar tools, like capos and tuners, as separate tools that are great at one thing.
This way when your tuner starts acting funny or dies, your capo isn’t affected and vice versa.
Here’s some D’Addario capos that are really solid capos. These are solid capos with tension adjustment.
However, they get a little too fancy for me and have some that also have the tuner built in.
The basic tension adjustable classical capo is what I’d go with, the ones with tuners are a pass for me.
Are there different types of capos
Yes, different styles of guitars will need slightly different capos. A good capo will likely work for both acoustic and electric guitar.
However, a classical guitar will need a capo that has a clamp that is longer and flatter than other guitar styles.
Some speciality types of capos are designed to only capo a few of the strings, while leaving some open.
This capos are more specialized and aren’t as common, but you should be aware of all your options while capo shopping.
Do capos fit all guitars
No, some capos will not fit all guitars. The length and shape of the clamp will greatly impact how well the capo fits onto the fretboard.
Also, the strength or tension of the clamp, and the material used to contact the strings to the frets will play a role in how good a capo fits your guitar.
Classical guitarists want to be looking for a capo with adjustable tension, with a longer flatter clamp.
Does it matter what kind of capo you get for classical guitar?
It’s hard to make a capo choice that completely just doesn’t work for your guitar.
However, some capos will have a more ideal fit for your guitar than others.
Classical guitarists will want a capo that has a clamping bar with firm but soft rubber to contact the strings to the frets.
The top of the clamp should be flat and fit the fretboard well, and the bottom of the clamp that fits onto the back of the guitar neck should have a similar shape to your guitar (they’re all a little different).
You want one will adjustable tension, with springs, screws or both.
Keep your choice for a classical guitar capo simple, meaning don’t buy a combination capo and tuner.
You can most likely head down to you local shop and they can show you a few different capos already out of the box and demonstrate how they fit onto various guitars.
At least I haven’t found a reputable shop that doesn’t have a bunch of capos laying around.
It isn’t difficult to pick the right capo, but it does help to know what you’re looking for in a great classical guitar capo.