Being a guitarist of a certain age, it’s no surprise that Oasis has been a big influence on me and my playing. This, of course, means being able to play Wonderwall, and that song – as with many other guitarists learning at the time – was our first introduction to a little thing called a capo.
For those still learning about guitars, a capo essentially bars an entire fret, allowing you to play the exact same chords as you’d normally play, but a little bit higher. You may not use them all the time – few guitarists do – but they’re still a handy thing to have in your gig bag, if you need to play Wonderwall, or if you end up with a singer who can only sing a song you know in a higher key: you’ll just need to clip on the capo, and play as you normally would.
There are any number of capos on the market. Some are super-cheap and made with elastic or fabric to lever pressing the strings down. Others get super-fiddly and fancy and expensive, amid claims of grandeur. One of my favorite fancy capos I’ve seen only held down three strings. I’m not going to mock it: it’s not for me, but I’m sure there’s a market for it.
All I was looking for was a solid capo that would keep my strings held down. I wanted something decent, but I didn’t want to break the bank with something that could so easily be lost. This came well reviewed, has been around for an age, Jim Dunlop is a reputable brand name, and already make my favorite picks.
The 83CB from Jim Dunlop is somewhere in the middle of the road I guess, as choices of capos go.
It’s got a sturdy metal construction, with a spring so that it’ll set itself to the width of your guitar’s neck. Not like the cheap ones made with fabric, with set slots for you to attach it into, which could be too tight, which is bad for your guitar, or too loose, which is likely to make your strings rattle.
The other benefit of this is that you can conveniently peg it on your headstock when you’re playing live, and you don’t need it for every song.
The metal construction gives it a good weighty feel. Like, it’s only small, so it’s not too heavy, but it’s still a reassuring weightiness. It feels solid.
I immediately stuck the capo on the second fret, and apart from using a somewhat cheaper guitar than Noel Gallagher would, it sounded fine, and did its job just right. There was no string rattling, and my guitar sounded exactly like it always did, except a couple of semitones higher.
I’ve had this Dunlop capo for a while now, and it has yet to let me down. I’ve used it on both acoustic and electric guitars, playing for myself at home, at shows, and on recordings. And that’s been for a few years now. As noted earlier, these are things that sometimes go missing, so I have replaced mine a couple of times. But they showed up later, so now I actually have three of these.
The Jim Dunlop 83B capo is an ideal piece of kit for the gig bag of any guitarist, of any style, of any level. It really does just do as it’s supposed to do, as you’d expect. You can’t really ask for more than that. It’s obviously not the cheapest one around, but it certainly performs better for your extra bucks – it’s money well-spent. I’ve honestly yet to see a valid reason to spend any more, despite the claims of the more expensive ones available.