The best capo for a classical guitar seems like a stretch. After all, if the thing clamps the strings and does not result in fret buzz, it's good enough right? Yes, but that simple desire can lead to a lot of buyer’s remorse and a bag full of junk capo souvenir’s that even pawn shops won’t buy.
Anyone who has used capos for an extended period knows how cheap capos fall into disuse. They either grip the neck too tight and mess up the intonation, or worse yet, they don’t grip it well enough resulting in fret buzz and flubby strings.
Crafting a classic guitar capo isn’t rocket science, I would think. But in the past decade, I have been astonished at how many manufacturers mess up this simple task. Luckily, I have dug out the clamp-champs from the countless online options that I will rank and review for you.
In the individual reviews, I highlight the key features of each classical guitar capo such as locking mechanisms, ease-of-use, and value. Hopefully, it will give you a solid understanding of the design so you can choose a capo that works best for you.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Classical Guitar Capo in 2021?
- Best Micrometer: D’Addario NS Classical Guitar Capo on Amazon
- Best Budget: WINGO Capo for Classical Guitar
- Best Quick-Release: Nordic Essentials Guitar-G Capo Deluxe on Amazon
- Best Value: Dunlop 88N Classical Trigger Guitar Capo
- Best Premium: G7th Performance Guitar Capo
- Best Lightweight: D’Addario NS Lite Classical Guitar Capo
- Best Retro Roller: Shubb C2 Nickel Capo for Classical Guitar
- Best Hybrid: NS Artist Classical Guitar Capo by D'Addario
D’Addario NS Classical Guitar Capo is my top choice for the best classical guitar capo with micrometer adjustment. You can’t go wrong with the Nordic Essentials Classic Guitar Capo if you prefer a quick-release mechanism. Lastly, and for the budget-conscious, the Wingo capo ticks all the boxes of a modestly priced product that can get the job done.
Generally, people who use capos have a variety of them. Plus, guitar players need a different capo for electric, steel-string, and nylon string guitars. So, it is not a bad idea to have a multi-purpose capo like the G7th Performance Capo if you own multiple types of guitars.
That said, let’s look at the top choices for the best classical guitar capo in 2021.
1. Best Micrometer: D’Addario NS Classical Guitar Capo
The D'Addario Capo for Classical guitar is a pro-grade workhorse that has been designed in collaboration with Ned Steinberger. It features an Aerospace-grade aluminum frame and proprietary micrometer adjustment mechanism (read: black screw).
The locking mechanism is the best part of this capo. You can adjust the dial to the exact tension with which it grips the neck of your guitar. It allows you to find a sweet spot that won't press down too hard or pull the strings off-center. Plus, you can slap it on and adjust it with one hand.
The classical guitar capo is slender, minimal, and robust. The rubber padding is top notch, and it can be used for any regular-sized classical guitars. The price may seem prohibitive, but it offers value on every dollar spent.
The D’Addario capo for classical guitar is truly pro-grade. It is lightweight, sleek, and robust.
It may be a “buy once, cry once” deal, but you won’t need another capo unless you misplace it. In which case, you’ll probably just go online and order another one of these.
2.Best budget: WINGO Capo for Classical Guitar
The Wingo Capo is designed for classical guitars. It features an aluminum alloy spring with a quick-release mechanism. The elongated arms allow you to clamp or release it with ease. The spring has ideal pressure to ensure the strings ring out with perfect intonation when it is in use.
Classical guitar capos usually have rubber padding. This one features silicone, which is thicker and softer. It won’t damage the fingerboard or back of the neck. Moreover, the rosewood finish is a refreshing change from the all-black capos in this segment.
All in all, it’s a classical guitar capo that gets the job done. It may not last as long as the premium models because quick-release clamps tend to lose their gripping strength over time. However, it’s a good deal for the price, and Wingo throws in five picks to sweeten (read: seal) the deal.
3.Best Quick-Release: Nordic Essentials Guitar-G Capo Deluxe
Nordic Essentials offers a premium capo for acoustic, electric, and classical guitar. The classical guitar capo is made from premium quality zinc and features a quick-release steel mechanism. It ships with an instruction manual and pouch for storage.
The premium price is on par with D’addaario and Shubb. Nevertheless, the uptick in price is reflected in the quality and luxurious aesthetic of the capo. The build quality and buttery smooth locking mechanism are ideal for home use and the rigors of live performance/gigging.
The capo is fitted with high-quality silicone pads to protect the instrument. It keeps the intonation intact and applies the perfect pressure on the strings. You can clamp, release, or reposition the capo with one hand in the middle of your set without any trouble.
I have featured the Metallic Gold Nugget finish. The capo is also available in four other options – Brushed Bronze, Matte Silver, Matte Coffee, and Metallica Black. Nordic Essentials offers a lifetime warranty on all products, which inspires further confidence in this capo.
4.Best Value: Dunlop 88N Classical Trigger Guitar Capo
The Dunlop 88N Classical Trigger is a USA-made capo, designed to fit nylon string guitars. It has a thick padded handle and spring action clamping mechanism that holds the strings in place on the fret. The capo is available in two finish options – black and nickel.
The spring is high-quality and durable. The capo is unlikely to deteriorate with constant use.
The gripping handles are ergonomic with additional padding for easy positioning. It can be slapped on with one hand because of the smooth action.
The tension on all the strings is equal. You won’t need to retune after using the capo for a long session of play. Dunlop capos last for at least a few years before the padding begins to wear out. In that sense, you get a lot of value for the product compared to no-name equivalents.
Overall, it’s an inexpensive alternative to the Nordic Essentials capo. It’s equally effective and ergonomic, but not as aesthetically pleasing. So, if functionality is your only concern, you can save $10 by opting for the Dunlop 88N capo.
5.Best Premium: G7th Performance Classical Guitar Capo
The G7th capo is designed to match the curvature of any neck profile, regardless of the fret position. It works for classical, flamenco, and even hybrid nylon string guitars. They call it ART - Adaptive Radius Technology – a design for optimal intonation and tuning stability.
It employs a unique locking mechanism with a button to clamp and release the capo. This enables you to use it quickly and intuitively during performances. It can be placed or repositioned accurately with one hand regardless of the size of your hands or instrument.
It features silicone rubber pockets to safeguard your instrument and reduce vibration damping. There is no contact of the capo with the instrument, so scratches or damage to the finish are out of the question. It is available in three finish options – Silver, Matte Black, and 18kt Gold.
The main draw of the capo is its futuristic design, ease of use, and versatility. It’s pricey compared to other options, but it’s undoubtedly a top-quality product for premium classical guitars. Considering the proprietary mechanism and versatile use, it offers great value.
6.Best Lightweight: D’Addario NS Lite Classical Guitar Capo
This is yet another classical guitar capo with the micrometer adjustment mechanism. Unlike the D’Addario option we discussed earlier, this one is made from reinforced thermoplastic. It is light as a feater (read: 0.1 lbs) but robust nonetheless.
Simply put, the NS Lite capo is a well-made piece that does all the things it should. The all-black design is a classic choice, and the price is half of what you would pay for premium capos. It fits over any regular-sized Spanish or nylon-string guitar.
The key difference is that it is half the price of the flagship model and equally capable of doing a clean job. It sits firmly on the strings without any buzzing. The NS Lite capo is perfect for the job if you call out to a capo occasionally.
I recommend going for the other version if your capo sees heavy use. This one is less sturdy and may not last as long. However, if you don't want to spend twice as much, this one will undoubtedly give you the requisite value - a buzz-free playing experience.
7.Best Retro Roller: Shubb C2 Nickel Capo for Nylon String Guitar
The Shubb C2 product is an old school mechanical capo design for a classical guitar. The nickel plated finish and a retro geometry and roller locking mechanism are unique and eye-catching. Slip it on, flick the lever, and the capo grabs the fingerboard with excellent grip and accuracy.
There are no string buzzing or dead notes to contend with. Additionally, the pressure is not too tight. It does not affect the tuning or intonation with long use. The gripping arm of the capo is lined with high-quality rubber. The rubber padding is as soft as your fingertip and keeps the string perfectly in place.
The capo does not pull the strings off-center or cause any damage or wear with continuous use. The price may seem a little daunting, but it's a top-shelf product with a unique look and deluxe design. For the money, it offers a lot of value and some retro-glam to boot.
P.S. - The Shubb capo is also available for steel-string guitars and in other designs with stainless steel. It's the perfect vintage-y classical guitar capo for 2 ¼ inch fretboards.
8.Best Hybrid: NS Artist Classical Guitar Capo by D'Addario
It’s time to round it up with yet another D’Addario capo. Clearly, these guys have an iron grip on the segment, and once you use their capos you will know exactly why. Now, the NS Artist capo might look awkward at first glance, but it is one of the most sturdy and flawless capos out there.
It is durable, adjustable, and extremely light. It is designed to fit classical guitars but it will accommodate an acoustic and electric guitar as well. The design is the real MVP as it gives you the best of both worlds – an adjustable spring and clamp.
With that flexibility, you can reposition and move it around fairly easily, and it features the micro-adjustment meter to set or fine-tune the tension to suit your instrument. As mentioned before, these capos have top-quality silicone padding. There is no danger of scratching or damaging your instrument.
P.S - It can be annoying to clip a tuner to the chunky headstock of a classical guitar. It's nice to see a tuner attachment on this capo. It doesn’t alter the functionality, and I find it to be really handy. That said, it only works with the D’Addario tuner (sold separately).
Buyer Guide: How to Choose the Best Classical Guitar Capo?
There is no dearth of classical guitar capos online. They are solid in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Capos use simple mechanisms and it is relatively easy to find a product to match your needs. Here are some points to consider when you shop for the best classical guitar capo –
Capos made for 6-string guitars don’t work well for nylon string guitars. Classical guitars have wider and fatter necks than acoustic or electric guitars. That’s why they deserve their own category. Generally, a capo is good for any regular-sized nylon string guitar if it says "classical guitar capo." The only time you need to worry about the size or fit is when you have a custom-made guitar or an unconventional neck (read: hybrid nylon string guitars). In that case, look at the dimensions in the product manual or manufacturer's website before you buy it.
Ease of Use
A capo with a spring mechanism is easier to place and move around compared to other types of capos. Many times, during live performances, artists use a capo and shift (read: reposition) it after a song. It can be helpful to transpose with ‘one-hand operation’ for a fast-paced set. The advantage does not apply to couch practice as time is not of the essence. In everyday use, quick change is for convenience but comes at the cost of the ability to adjust the pressure.
Price and Value
A classical guitar capo can cost anything between $7 to $70. The material, design, finish, and brand value contributes to the street price. This roundup has covered a wide variety to ensure that you find something within your budget. The value you derive is based on how much you are willing to spend and what you expect to get for it. It make no sense to buy a $50 capo for a $100 guitar. Similarly, don’t cut corners if you own a premium or custom-made classical guitar.
Gripping Tension or Strength:
The capo must apply the right amount of pressure to fret the strings. Less pressure leads to clink-clank and buzz. Too much pressure might skew the strings or displace them. This problem is rare in branded capos. It is also one of the biggest reasons to avoid "budget" capos. They lose their gripping strength due to inferior materials or springs and become obsolete within a few months.
What is the best type of classical guitar capo: Spring or Micrometer?
A majority of the online capos feature either a quick release design with a spring or a micrometer adjustment mechanism. There are a few other types, but they fall under the niche or novelty category. Therefore, we will only focus on the two prevalent designs.
Both varieties are fantastic at keeping the strings pressed down without buzzing. However, you can release and clamp a quick-release capo on the headstock when it is not in use. Doing the same for a capo with micrometer adjustment requires more effort.
Poorly made quick-release capos can feel like you are arm wrestling with Manny Pacquiao. So much for one-arm operation. On the flip side, some of them don’t have enough pressure. They do a sub-optimal job, which can result in buzzing.
In a nutshell, both types have their pros and cons. The D’Addario NS Capo is more flexible, whereas the Nordic Essentials Capo is more convenient. The ideal choice depends on your preference and how you to intend to use it.
I personally prefer the D'Addario NS Classical Guitar Capo. I have owned one for several years and never had any issues with it. The capo for my steel-string guitar has some wear. The padding has eroded slightly, but it is still fully functional. Either way, I have owned them for several years without any issues. So, they may be expensive but they do last forever.
For those not willing to spend that much, I have included several pocket-friendly options to find a capo that suits your budget. Pro Tip - You need to be a stickler for quality if you buy a capo for a premium or high-end classical guitar or professional use. Luckily, there are several premium and professional grade capos in this round-up to choose from.