Is It Time To Replace Your Capo?

Just wanted to share something that I learned over the weekend with you.

Little bit of backstory: first proper gig is rapidly approaching, and at the weekend I went shopping for spares to take along with me. We’ve got a song in the set that we play in drop F# minor, which requires a capo. A capo is exactly the kind of thing that’s easy to accidentally leave behind, so I picked up a spare one to live in my guitar’s gig back, just in case.

Once I got it home, I decided to try it out, just to make sure it definitely worked and that there were no surprises lying in wait for me. Very glad that I did!

Whenever I used my old capo in rehearsals, I’d always have to tune the guitar a bit after clamping the capo to the neck – and again after unclamping it. Never thought anything of it. I just assumed that’s how it goes with capos.

With the new capo, I clamped it onto the neck, strummed a chord … and the guitar’s in tune. No need to spend 30 seconds tuning it up, and no need to spend another 30 seconds tuning it up a second time after removing the capo. I know Tess will be delighted at cutting out that faff on stage.

I don’t know how long I’ve had my old capo. Could be 10, maybe even 20+ years now. I’m assuming that the spring has lost some of its power with age. Not enough to notice in the hand, just enough to reduce the force it provides when clamped onto the guitar neck. Either way, it’s going into recycling, and I’ve just been and bought a 2nd new capo so that I’ve still got a spare for the upcoming gig.

If you’re finding that you’re having to re-tune the guitar when you use your old capo, maybe it’s time to buy a new one?

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