Capos are a useful little tool, allowing you to very quickly change the key of your guitar without having to change the tuning.
However, you may have noticed that they are most commonly used with acoustic guitars, rather than electric guitars.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Can you use capos with an electric guitar, and are there special capos specifically made for them?
In this article, we’ll cover all of these questions and more.
Can Capos Be Used On Electric Guitars?
Long story short, the answer is yes. Just about any capo can be used on both acoustic and electric guitars, without causing any issues or damaging the guitar in any way.
The only exception to this comes to classical guitars, where it makes sense to purchase a capo specifically made for classical guitar. This is because classical guitars have slightly wider necks, and standard capos may not fit on them as easily. Even if they do fit, they may not apply adequate pressure to all strings to do their job effectively.
Classical capos are also flat, whereas regular capos are radiused. By purchasing the correct capo for your type of guitar, it will fit and do its job better.
So, Why Aren’t Capos Commonly Seen On Electric Guitars?
If capos can be used on electric guitars, why don’t you see them used more frequently?
Ultimately, it comes down to the style of music most commonly played with each instrument. Where acoustic guitars are often played for rhythm parts with lots of chords, electric guitars use more single note riffs and melodies.
Capos really only come in handy when you’d be playing parts in which you want to change the open string notes. On an electric guitar, where you may only be playing single notes at a time (or chords that you’d bar anyway) it is easier to just move your fingers up the fretboard than to bother with a capo.
However, a capo can change the tone of the notes ever so slightly, and some players may prefer this for certain arrangements, which can lead to capos being used even when many people would consider them to be unnecessary. This is rare, though.
Are There Capos Specifically Made For Electric Guitars?
This is a good question.
Technically, there are capos like the Kyser Quick-Change Capo that are specifically designed for use on electric guitar. They tend to feature a slightly smaller radius and less tension, that better fit the neck and lower action commonly attributed to electric guitars.
This is because most guitar capos are made with acoustic guitars in mind, both because capos are used more commonly on acoustic guitars, but also because the strings require more force to push down.
However, just because capos exist that are specifically made for electric guitar, does not necessarily mean that they’re strictly necessary. We’ve heard stories of pushy salesmen trying to get beginners to buy separate capos for both their electric and acoustic guitars, but in all honesty this isn’t really a requirement.
If you own both an acoustic and an electric guitar and have money to spend, it may just make sense to invest in a high quality capo that will suit both of them like the G7th Performance 3. I have used this capo on acoustic guitars, my Stratocaster, Les Paul, and many others and have never had a problem with it working effectively. It allows you to adjust the tension to fit the guitar, and I’ve never felt the need to use anything else.
Having bought a half-dozen junk capos off Amazon before picking that one up, I felt a little silly not getting it sooner!
If you want to try out a capo on your electric guitar, go for it! Any capo that works for an acoustic will likely work just fine for an electric, and can open your playing up to new possibilities. If you’re only an occasional player of acoustic music, you may find yourself avoiding the purchase of an acoustic entirely, and play the songs completely on your electric.
The use of a capo makes it easier to play a wider variety of songs, and change keys quickly when playing in a live setting.
However, there are other purchases that are equally as important. If you are looking for other accessories to go along with your electric guitar, I highly recommend reading over this article:
Thank you for reading, and happy shredding!