#5: SpiderCapo

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

LIST PRICE: $39.95


So you must be thinking, “What’s up with all of these capos?” Back in the ‘60s, you’d just get out your CS&N records, tune up for “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (in the modal tuning E-E-E-E-B-E), smoke some good weed and play. But recently a number of interesting tools have entered the marketplace to make life a little easier, or perhaps more difficult, depending on your tuning predispositions.

Unlike the Voice Capo which can form any guitar voicing imaginable (recently reviewed here), The SpiderCapo won’t be able to instantly unlock the keys to Stephen Stills’s tuning for that first classic cut off 1969’s Crosby, Stills & Nash. But the SpiderCapo, while similarly employing a re-thinking of capo design, offers a few of innovations of its own.

SpiderCapo is a string-selective capo that can be used to create alternative tunings. The capo clamps onto the sides of the guitar’s neck using leather pads that are tightened by a knob. Six “fingers” (like spider legs) align over each string, and by rotating the fingers you can capo a combination of strings. With all six fingers deployed, you’ve basically got a standard capo. With the second fret capoed on the A-D-G strings, you’ve got a D-A-D-G-A-D (up one whole step, E-B-E-A-B-E). Additionally, one particularly useful innovation is that each finger can also be used as a fine tuner. Not unlike the small fine tuners on the tailpiece of a violin, the SpiderCapo’s fingers allow each capoed string to be fine tuned by rotating the finger forward or backwards to sharpen or flatten the note.

Now back to the question at hand: is the SpiderCapo or Voice Capo best suited to your alt-tuning wildest dreams? One advantage you’ll get with the SpiderCapo is greater access to the actual frets. The Voice—in order to form all those chord voices—has to swallow up the first four frets of your guitar. On the other hand, SpiderCapo gives you back those key frets to play on, and—unlike a standard capo—allows you to play on the open strings behind the capo. And for the next time you try to comp those Leo Kottke licks, that just might make all the difference.

Additional reporting by Kyle Byrd.

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  1. I am a Taiwaner , sorry!! I can not speak and not to understand English . but very hope to buy SpiderCapo [╳ 2 piece] ,
    I know transit is a troublesome , Query! Can buy in Taiwan ??? very thanks!!!

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