Mine just arrived in the mail. First impressions aren't wonderful... It was a toss-up between this one and the Eagle Claw. I liked the idea of the convenience of Earl's Suspender Capo, although I could see it'd probably be in the way more than the Eagle Claw. In retrospect, I probably should've gone for the latter, but I didn't like the idea of having to stash all those rods somewhere.
Edit: After a little over a week, I can say this capo is useless for how I play the banjo. It will not stay on a Goldtone Cripple Creek if you play clawhammer style. Some people have apparently had some success with this capo, but I don't know what style or banjo they play. This was a total waste of money.
I may be able to get used to it, but I'm not sure... So far, my biggest gripes are:
- Well, at first, I thought there was no way of even fretting the 1st and 4th strings at the 7th fret, where I had to capo set. But it turns out it just needed a little adjustment, and then fretting those strings was quite comfortable without any adjustment to my playing style needed.
- The first time I used it, it pinged off as I tried to smooth past it and move up the neck. I suppose I could become accustomed to it, though. Just be gentle in that area of the fingerboard. But do you really want to worry about that when trying to play tricky up-the-neck stuff?
- Most worryingly for me, the 'anchor' on the opposite side of the neck from the fifth string means that 1st-string pull-offs are more or less out of the question on the fret that the anchor is on. When you pull the string off, it budges the anchor away from the fingerboard, and after the second or third pull-off, it's sure to ping off. I've been informed however that by anchoring the capo on the next fret up from where the 5th string is fretted, one might minimise the chance of this happening... Haven't tried it yet.
- The part that frets the 5th string is too long and when put on properly so it will stay put, it interferes with the 4th string. :-(
I've not given up yet, though. I'll take it to a jam tomorrow and see how it fares. To be honest, I think I still prefer it to spikes. I mean, my spikes weren't installed properly and were above the level of the frets, so fifth string fretting was always out of tune because the string would stop on the spike instead of the fret. Apparently a proper installation would run me $50.
My banjo is a Gold Tone Cripple Creek that I sanded down, stained, refinished, put a calfskin head on and filed in a frailing scoop. I'm not too bothered about it looking shiny (it doesn't), so I may go ahead and gently chisel in some notches along the binding on the first string side for that anchor to sit in. Then I'll have no worries about 5th (or 7th, 9th, whatever) fret pull-offs. I'll just have to be real careful not to pull the whole binding off!
I may also take the fretting side of the capo down a little bit with some kind of saw to stop interference with the 4th string. I only hope then that it has enough leverage to stay on the neck.