Since the dawn of guitar playing , big bearded folkies have been using a capo to fit the song they are playing to their voices. This shouldn’t be held against the guitar capo, however. Guitar Capo s have also been used in pretty much every other style of playing under the sun.
They work by (deep breath) shortening the strings, the shorter the string the higher the pitch. It is essentially the same as barring across a fret, which allows you to play open voiced chords, which any bearded folkie will tell you are much easier than barring. They also alter the timbre of the guitar slightly.
A guitar with a capo on the fifth fret will sound softer than without a capo, strange to describe but it does alter the sounds.
Here are some pictures of different types of capos:
Standard Shubb style capo
G7th Guitar Capo (THE HOLY GRAIL!!!! Of capos)
Stagg Elastic Guitar Capo
Capodastro Quick Release Guitar Capo
The guitar capo is an almost magical item that will inspire you to create wonderful songs. Seriously though, the different sounds that you will get if you use a guitar capo might give you new ideas and bring a new sound to old ideas.
They are very interesting things to mess around with, so try one soon.
Try out a few different types of capos before you buy. The G7th types of capos are definitely the easiest and best sounding capos, but this is reflected in the price. The G7th capo (which, if you can’t tell are very much loved by me) are easiest, they just clamp round the neck and are squeezed until they are tight.
The Shubb Guitar Capos are also easy to use, but also expensive. The shubb type capos, work by being clamped on the neck and tightened.
The cheaper capos, called capodastro, that are sold in the shop are very good for the price, solid capo that doesn’t buzz. A Capodastro guitar capo, for flat or curved fingerboards, just fit round the neck and close.
Finally, the elastic guitar capo s are held on the fingerboard and stretched until they clip. Easy as that, elastic capos aren’t particularly difficult to figure out. There are also capos with elastic parts which are decent enough.
Test a bunch out and see which one you prefer, the lovely staff will not mind.
Incidentally the word capo comes from the Italian, capo, which means head, not sure why but it’s an interesting fact. Arrivederci!