Best Guitar Capo for a Clean and Smooth Key Transpose 

 May 26, 2021

By  Zen Chung

As you continue exploring the various guitar-playing techniques, you'll come to need a capo to raise the key of a particular song. With the best guitar capo, you can play higher up the fretboard without changing the chords and shapes of the piece.

This post reviews the best guitar capos you can buy and the factors to keep in mind when making your purchase.

Let's get started!


1. D'addario Planet Waves NS Capo

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Built from aircraft-grade aluminum, the D'addario Planet Waves NS Capo is the best guitar capo available. It is has a rugged construction which makes it durable enough to withstand years of use and abuse without becoming dysfunctional. The aluminum material is long-lasting and doesn't add that much weight to this capo. As a result, it's a lightweight option that won't make your guitar any heavier than it needs to be.

You'll be glad to know that this guitar capo comes with a patented micrometer which allows you to adjust the tension of the capo on the neck of the guitar. This means you can find the right amount of force you need to prevent buzzing notes or any other tuning issues. It also helps prevent excessive tension on the guitar strings to ensure maximum longevity.

Additionally, this capo works on 6 string acoustic and electric guitars, but it's also compatible with a 12 string guitar. It's a versatile option that allows you to remain flexible as you head out for the guitar playing session.

Thanks to the ergonomic and easy-to-use design, the American Waves NS capo is meant for one-hand operation.


  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight
  • Compatible with 6 and 12 string electric and acoustic models
  • Adjustable tension
  • One-hand operation


  • The pad is a bit soft
  • The turning knob gets loose

2. Kyser Quick Change 6-String Capo

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In second place is the Kyser Quick-Change Capo, one of the best guitar capos on the market, thanks to its durability and ideal performance. If you want a tool for raising the pitch of your guitar with utmost clarity, this guitar capo will do that. It will enable you to play at higher keys without retuning the strings or altering your fingering technique.

Whether you are an advanced guitar player or a beginner, you will appreciate the ease of using this guitar capo. It will help you transpose your guitar in a minimum time without having to use both hands. This item is a great option since it is a strong but lightweight tool made from high-quality aluminum.

After using this capo, you can park it on the guitars headstock for easy access. This will reduce the chances of misplacing this guitar capo.


  • Premium quality construction
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Sits on the headstock
  • One-hand operation


  • It has high tension

3. Jim Dunlop Acoustic Trigger Guitar Capo

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With over five decades of manufacturing superior quality capos, the Dunlop company is a reliable and exceptional provider of instrument accessories, including the best guitar capos. This Acoustic Trigger capo is ergonomically designed to make it easy to set it on your fretboard or remove it. The handle features soft padding that facilitates faster positioning on your guitar.

It's spring-loaded and made from aircraft-grade aluminum, making it one of the most durable capos you can buy. The Jim Dunlop Acoustic Trigger Guitar Capo is more of a long-term investment than a temporary purchase. You can comfortably use it with a 6 string or 12 string acoustic guitar, which is why it's among the best guitar capos for a guitarist.


  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with 6 and 12 string guitars
  • Durable build
  • Stylish appearance


  • No tension adjustment
  • Causes a buzz as you play

4. G7th Performance 2 Guitar Capo

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Next up, we have the G7th Performance 2 Guitar Capo, specially designed for the wide, flat fingerboard of a flamenco or classical guitar. It features a straightforward squeeze-on and squeeze-off design that makes it easy and convenient to use without hassle. Additionally, you can use the squeezing action to adjust the amount of tension it delivers on the guitar neck.

Since this capo has a solid and sturdy build quality, a wrap-around silicone rubber is included to ensure that the contact between the capo and your guitar neck doesn't cause any damage. You can get this capo design in various colors, including silver, satin black, and 18Kt Gold Plate.


  • Intuitive design
  • Color variation
  • Protects the guitar from damage
  • Adjustable tension


  • Expensive

5. Shubb C1 Nickel Steel String Capo

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The fret of your guitar was designed to be pressed by fingers and not rigid materials. That is why most people have to retune their guitars after attaching a capo. Fortunately, you won't need to retune your guitar when using the Shubb C1 Nickel Capo since it features a soft rubber padding that works much like your fingers.

This capo is ideal for any acoustic or electric guitar that has steel strings. The tension adjustment screw is a great feature that allows you to get the right fit and tension on your strings. This will ensure you can preserve the durability of your strings while eliminating the possibility of buzzing or sound dulling.

The lever will give you enough flexibility to work with any guitar neck without any difficulty. The main downside to this capo is that it doesn't clip onto the headstock of your guitar. As such, it is easy to misplace or lose this capo after placing it down.


  • Easy to clamp
  • The tension is adjustable
  • Compatible with various necks
  • Doesn't upset the tuning


  • Doesn't attach to the headstock

6. D'Addario NS Tri-Action Capo

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The last of the best capos available on the market today is the D'Addario NS Tri-Action Capo, which guarantees a buzz-free performance at any fret. The Tri-Action design decreases the amount of force you need to open and close the capo when attaching or detaching it on your guitar's neck.

The neck profile of your guitar won't affect the effectiveness of this capo since it can deliver an even amount of tension to avoid pulling the strings off-center, which necessitates retuning. This ensures you can enjoy a smooth time using this capo without having to tune the strings again.

This capo is made for maximum longevity with a sturdy aluminum build while still being a lightweight accessory.


  • Ideal for electric and acoustic guitars
  • Easy operation
  • Tension adjustment micrometer
  • Solid construction
  • In-built pick holder


  • Not the cheapest option

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Guitar Capo

Types of Guitar Capos

The best guitar capos take different designs and forms. Let's look at the various types of capos on the market below.

  • Trigger Capos

These capos could either be spring-loaded or clip-on. The clip capo works by maintaining the tension with a clip mechanism, while the other uses a spring mechanism. Both beginners and advanced players prefer this type of capo since it only requires you to attach it by squeezing the trigger. This action opens the clamp and places pressure on the strings when you release it on a specific fret.

Since the release mechanism is simple, you can move this capo along the neck of the guitar with one hand. Unfortunately, you can adjust the tension of these guitar capos, which means that the strings could buzz or get off-tune.

  • Screw Capos

Screw capos can apply an even amount of pressure across the fingerboard thanks to the thumbscrew which you can manually adjust. This allows you to adapt the capo to deliver an ideal tension for different guitars, eliminating the need for tuning them again.

These capos exert too much force on electric guitar strings, making them more suitable for acoustic models. They are harder to move up and down the guitar neck with one hand since you'll need to unscrew them before repositioning.

  • Partial Capos

A partial capo is much smaller than other types of capos. Unlike the others, these only cover several strings rather than running across the entire fretboard. These capos are preferred by fingerpicking experts and are used to change the tones in the baseline of a song while playing.

If you are interested in exploring fingerstyle playing, these capos are a great choice. However, most people prefer those that cover all the strings of their guitars.

  • Toggle/Strap Capos

These lightweight capos maintain the tension on the strings with a strap that you can adjust. They don't use a clamp mechanism like other capos but have notches that you can use to find the ideal tension. Toggle capos are quite flexible and can work wit bot flat and curved radius fretboards.

The downside to these capos is that the best tension will probably be in between two notches. This means if you go a notch higher or lower, you'll lose the tension you want. Even if you find the best tension, the strap can grow slack over time, making it eventually ineffective. Luckily, these capos come at a low price, and replacing them won't be an issue.

  • G-Band Capos

G-band capos are a form of partial capos that uses one or two strings that you clip on the outer edges of the fingerboard. When you look at the fretboard after using this capo, you'll notice a G-shape, which is the source of this capo's name.

These guitar capos are great for producing great sound variations and harmonies, which is the main reason guitarists will select them. Unfortunately, they are not easy to use for beginners and are more suited to experienced guitar players or those with a deep understanding of music theory.

  • Slider/Glider Capos

Slider capos are a special type of capo that can slide from one fret to another without the need to remove and reattach them. They can deliver an even amount of pressure on both sides of the neck of your guitar using springs.

Glider capos come with an integrated front roller which facilitates the movement of the device along the fingerboard. They also feature a rear roller which adds stability to the capo to ensure it remains in the center to avoid untuning the strings. This means that there won't be a need to retune the guitar even while moving this capo up and down the neck.

The rollers on these capos must be coated in a soft material to prevent the movement from damaging your instrument. If you are a performer who needs to change the key multiple times when playing, you'll want to go with slider capos.

  • Spider Capo

Lastly, we have spider capos, which is another partial capo that helps guitarists produce wonderful tunes and harmonies as they change the tension of specific strings. These capos have individual depressors which allow you to select the strings whose tension you want to raise rather than the entire set of 6 or 12 strings.

Spider capos are held together by metal prongs on both sides of a clamp on the back of the neck. The clamp is covered with rubber to ensure the direct contact doesn't cause any damage to your guitar. The main challenge with this type of capo is that the metal prong on the lower end is hard to see when playing. This makes it easy to accidentally scratch the guitar's neck.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best guitar capo on the market?

The D'addario Planet Waves NS Capo is the best capo on the market today, offering a stylish design, ease of use, and durability.

2. Which instruments can I use a capo on?

You can use a capo on a wide variety of instruments, including your ukulele, banjo, mandolin, and various guitars.

3. How do I choose a guitar capo?

Before you purchase a guitar capo, the things to think about include the type of guitar, tension adjustability, construction materials, and price.

Zen Chung

I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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