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Thread: Best Capo

  1. #1
    Still learning Taylor and Tenor's Avatar
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    Question Best Capo

    Looking for a capo to fit my mandolin. What is your recommendation?

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    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Parlor Boyle
    I recommend you learn to play in all keys, then you won't need a capo. It's a challenge but also fun and rewarding. BUT! There's nothing wrong with using a capo on the mandolin if you choose to IMHO. There are those who belong to the CAPO POLICE but don't let 'em get to you.

    Now that my speech is over, the Shubb B**jo capo would work well.

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  3. #3
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Second the Shubb banjo capo.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    In addition to the Shubb, which I like and have used for years - I have one of those Keyser capos, with the high twirly section. Lots of guitar players love them, and I found that Keyser makes them mandolin sized.

    Regarding using a capo - I only use a capo when I need to.
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    Registered User pwkellar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Another vote for Shubb! They stay put and are fast and easy to use.

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    Default Re: Best Capo

    I've had much better luck with the Kyser mandolin/banjo capo than with their guitar counterparts. By luck, I mean tuning distortion. I far prefer Shubbs for guitar and assume their mando capos are just as good.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    depends on the neck profile : traditional V necks hard to use those , then you'd get the old fashioned
    elastic and grommets, chromed nail and a plastic tube ones .

    cheap, if you don't like it after you got it , you ain't out much $

    generally.. Banjo capos.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Regarding using a capo - I only use a capo when I need to.
    LOL! So you are implying that other people use them when they don't need to, like just for the heck of it?

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    If you use a banjo capo (which I generally do), remember that they're made for flat fingerboards and may have problems with a radiused board.
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Second the Keyser...the Shubb is great--I use one on banjo--but I find I have trouble keeping up with it; the Keyser you can just clip on the headstock until you need it...I find it's just more convenient.

    I'll agree the Keysers cause more tuning distortion (as you dial in the Shubb to the pressure you want) on guitar, and especially with jumbo frets...it's really a pain on my electric, but it's still the most convenient one out there to use. If you have larger fretwire you may have the same issue on mandolin...but, if you lose picks a lot, then the Shubb may not last long

    Chuck

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    Registered User auteq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Of course your Key changing issues could also be solved with a Mandola (nature's capo).

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    Registered User Santiago's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    I agree that a capo is a crutch and should be generally avoided. The exception is when you're just trying to sing a song and bring the mandolin up to your natural singing range. This is more of an issue with guitar, as it's tuned lower.
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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Suppose you had a mandolin all set up in GG DD GG BD open G cross tuning for a particular version of "Black Mountain Rag," and everybody at the jam complained that they wanted it in A? Would a capo be a crutch then?
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  14. #14
    Registered User auteq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Broyles View Post
    Suppose you had a mandolin all set up in GG DD GG BD open G cross tuning for a particular version of "Black Mountain Rag," and everybody at the jam complained that they wanted it in A? Would a capo be a crutch then?
    Come on!!! Who shows up at a jam with gg dd gg bd tuning??

    That being said, of course a capo comes in handy for that freak singer/guitar player that wants to play in Bb or Gb (or E# and B#), and in fact there was a thread with Ricky Skaggs on youtube(I think in Ireland) playing with a capo, so the pros do it. I would say, of course keep it handy in your case (Shubb), but learn the keys......and buy a mandola (nature's capo) to drive the prices down so I can get one.

  15. #15
    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Well, I did. It was a second mandolin, not my only one, and it was for the sole purpose of playing BMR the way Ronnie McCoury did it with Doc Watson.

    Look, if you want an open string sound for backup rhythm mandolin in a key such as Ab, Db, Bb or Eb, a capo is about the only way you'll accomplish it without a massive amount of retuning or carrying 4 mandolins.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Quote Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
    I agree that a capo is a crutch and should be generally avoided. .
    Well, the capo can be used as a crutch, because it is easier than learning the intricacies of other keys and positions around the fingerboard.

    But there are times when the capo is essential. Most often for me is when I have a particularly beautiful open string drone effect above or below the melody line. To do that in another key might not be possible.

    So no, don't let the capo be a crutch, a stumbling block to learning to play in all keys. By the same token don't be afraid of it, its a tool and has its uses.


    There are plenty of videos of great mandolinists using a capo.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Quote Originally Posted by auteq View Post
    ...a capo comes in handy for that freak singer/guitar player that wants to play in Bb or Gb (or E# and B#)...and buy a mandola (nature's capo) to drive the prices down so I can get one.
    Well, I'd guess few need capos to play in E# (F) or B#(C) -- assume that's a joke, son...

    And the mandola's not quite "nature's capo"; no easier to play in Ab on the mandola than it is on the mandolin. But one good thing about mandola is that the Capo Taliban don't seem to threaten beheading when you capo it.
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  18. #18
    Registered User auteq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Well, I'd guess few need capos to play in E# (F) or B#(C) -- assume that's a joke, son...

    And the mandola's not quite "nature's capo"; no easier to play in Ab on the mandola than it is on the mandolin. But one good thing about mandola is that the Capo Taliban don't seem to threaten beheading when you capo it.


    1) yes joke....pops?

    2) I agree about Ab, but mandola is not worst solution. And I also am amused about the capo reactions in general.

  19. #19
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    So no, don't let the capo be a crutch, a stumbling block to learning to play in all keys. By the same token don't be afraid of it, its a tool and has its uses.
    Well put Jeff!

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  20. #20
    Eric Hansen
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    i cast another vote for the shubb !
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Nothing wrong in using a capo, a crutch ? next thing he'll be calling a pick a crutch, Santiago must be Chief of Capo Police.
    Shubb is about the best capo IMO, I've seen the spring break on a Keyser, this can't happen with a Shubb

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  22. #22
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    I don't look at capos as crutches but you can live, and play the mandolin, without them...Picks on the other hand...well I wouldn't know how to play a mandolin without one?!?

    Besides, a crutch is just a temporary device to use until your leg mends. Most folks don't use them for their entire life...thank G*d.

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  23. #23
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    Other than improving the ability to modulate keys within a given tune, what advantage is there to playing without a capo? If someone calls a tune and says "I sing it in G#", I just clip on a capo while everyone else is clipping on their capos.

    In what ways does playing without one improve the music for you? Does it make you more expressive? Emotive? Inovative? Does it improve your timing and phrasing? Your dynamics? In musical terms, what does the skill of playing in all keys get you?

    Seriously. I'm not criticizing one playing style or another. But if I were to put in all the time and work to learn to play without a capo, what could I expect it to bring to my music? If using a capo is a crutch, how am I hindering my music with one?

    I don't want to start the old argument, but I don't recall ever reading a reasonable explanation for it. All I ever hear is that famous players don't use capos, then somebody counters with an example of somebody famous using one. Why don't I want a capo? If it will make me a better musician, then I want to dump the capo, but how will it do that?
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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo



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  25. #25
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Capo

    If it will make me a better musician, then I want to dump the capo, but how will it do that?
    Well that's not an easy question for me but I don't use a capo because to me the mandolin neck (scale) is short as it is...a capo would only make it shorter. I have adult size hands so I don't need any more cramping.

    It's true that it's hard to get that ringing 'open' sound say, in the key of Ab. But if you can play closed position up the neck in B maj for example, you can just as easily play the same thing in Ab. Some of the so called 'oddball' keys are so seldom played that I just prefer to play in those keys without a capo.

    Using, or not using a capo is not against the law...it's personal preference.

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