Posted by Paul Marchand on Thursday, July 2, 2020
I've been using 5th sting capos for about a year now. Ever since I got to the point where my instruction book (Janet Davis) said it was time to learn to use them. I am an amateur banjoist who plays am 1897 SS Stewart Thoroughbred with steel strings amd goatskin head. I use brass finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. I also play acoustic guitar. Sometimes i play in front of small groups. In the distant past I have played in larger venues. While in school in France I played 12 sting guitar in the street for tips.
About a year ago I needed to learn to use a capo without damaging my classic banjo. Spikes were out of the question. I refuse to do permanent damage to a 120 year old banjo.
Here re my thoughts:
Plus side: Small, easily stored by clamping it to the string Minus side: Small, you will eventually loose it. Time on the tailpiece side of the bridge when not in consuming when you play in front of
use. It has a beautiful tone (the body is brass with an audience (best to have a few one
a nylon screw). It can be placed on the string saved up). Pitch and fret accuracy can
tightly enough so it is not easily knocked off in violent be preserved by placing it just a little
playing. Height is adjustable by grinding off metal below the the fret (toward the tuners)
or gluing various materials to the bottom of the metal as the accuracy of the frets change when
(suggest cork). Do not glue to banjo. Does not damage tuner is attached. Beware: you can easily
the banjo, Stays out of the way for most playing. put one of these on so tight that you can
crimp or break the string. Eventually, the
Nylock screw will wear out.
Plus side. Larger so not easily lost. Quick to apply. You can Minus side: Large and bulky. The elastic band
put one in your pocket and have it within easy reach on stage. goes across the back of the neck. if you like to
Very easy to correct for inaccuracy of frets (you can clamp it like to slide your hand up and down the back
anywhere on the string). of the neck to keep track of where you are, you can easily knock it off. I'm also worried the heat and UV will quickly destroy the elastic making it useless. This has happened a couple of guitar capos I own.
Plus side Minus side:
Ultra quick to change. Comes in 3 sizes so you have to experiment, Small; easily lost, They do stay out of the way
banjo in hand, to find the one that fits (I bought all 3 but mostly use but if you knock one off it is not tightly
the medium). Seems to stay in place for most playing, but if you knock attached and will leave. The groove on the
it off, its gone. They are small and despite their Ivory finish, are easily bottom is supposed to lock into a fret, but
lost. cause slight intonation problems if it changes
Stays in place for most playing. the action significantly. You may need to
change to a different size. Yours may not fit on your friend's banjo.
There you have it. a quick review of common, non invasive 5th string capos. Hope you found it helpful.
Paul Marchand Says:
Thursday, July 2, 2020 @9:15:54 AM
Odd, the alignment changed when I submitted this.
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