If you’re looking for a guitalele capo, this post is for you!
I’ve mentioned in other posts how a capo is a great tool for any acoustic, stringed, fretted instrument player.
And the guitalele is no exception!
Even though I use a capo on the guitalele less frequently than on a standard guitar, I still use it.
I recommend one to any guitalele player looking to get the most out of their instrument.
So which capo is best for the guitalele?
I use the guitarX X3 on all of my instruments and am very pleased with it.
However, if you’d like to use a capo made for the classical guitar (a closer relative to the guitalele), check out this one.
I’ll discuss these and more in the sections below.
The Best Standard Guitalele Capo
With thousands of positive reviews, an average 5-star rating on Amazon, and an inexpensive price tag, The GuitarX X3 is a good capo that I use on many of my instruments including the guitalele.
If you’re looking for a simple standard capo that will serve you well for years to come, The GuitarX X3 should do it.
It also stores easily on the headstock of the instrument when not in use unlike some types of capos.
However, as I mentioned in the introduction, some musicians insist on a using a classical guitar capo over a standard guitar capo on any instrument with nylon strings like the guitalele.
I’ve discussed elsewhere how there technically isn’t anything different about most capos that would make them work on a standard guitar and not a classical guitar (or other nylon-string instrument).
I think some prefer a classical guitar capo due to the difference in clamping mechanism between a standard capo like the GuitarX X3 and some classical guitar capos like the one I recommend.
The GuitarX X3’s clamping mechanism provides a fixed amount of pressure that is great for steel strings but may be overkill for nylon strings.
However, this classical guitar capo‘s clamping mechanism is a screw that can provide variable pressure on the instrument and strings.
Thus, you can theoretically use this capo to apply just enough pressure to clamp down the strings, and no more.
Although technically true, I’m not sure this difference matters all that much.
The other reason some prefer classical guitar capos is that classical and steel string guitars often have different fretboard radii (yes, that’s the plural of radius) or curvature.
However, I personally haven’t had any issue using standard guitar capos on classical guitars or guitaleles.
That said, if you prefer using a capo with “classical guitar” in its product title description and a screw clamping mechanism, this one is popular with many positive reviews.
Partial and Non-Standard Guitalele Capos
Most musicians who play stringed fretted instruments are aware of the standard capo.
However, few know about partial capos and what’s possible with them.
Standard capos clamp all six strings and partial capos clamp between one and five strings.
Partial capos can allow you to imitate alternate tunings without actually changing the tuning of your instrument.
I discuss this more in my guide to guitalele tunings here.
I’ll try to expand on what’s possible with partial capos in the sections below.
Imitating Drop D (or G for the Guitalele) Tuning with a 5 String Capo
If you’re familiar with alternate guitar tunings, you probably know about the very popular drop D tuning.
This tuning involves tuning down the low E string from E to D.
You can get this same effect on the guitalele by tuning down the low A string from an A to a G.
You can also imitate this effect by using a drop D or five-string capo like this one.
This capo clamps all five strings except your low E or low A string.
So if you place this capo on the 2nd fret, you will produce the sound of a drop G tuning capo 2.
But you don’t actually need a five-string capo to get this sound.
You can use a six-string capo to only capo the top five strings.
In fact, that’s what I’ve done in the video above with my GuitarX X3 capo on my guitalele.
However, if you want to do more capoing just five strings, I recommend a five string capo.
And if you’re wondering what more you could do with a five-string capo, partial capo expert Harvey Reid has written an entire book about it!
In fact, you can find several outside-the-box uses for partial capos.
A Four String Capo on the Guitalele
Four string capos are more rare than other partial capos.
However, they provide plenty of opportunities for guitalele players to make new sounds from their instrument.
This capo can clamp three or four strings depending on which side of the capo you use.
Check out Harvey using this capo in the video above.
Three String Guitalele Capo
If someone knows about partial capos, they typically know about a three-string capo.
On a guitar, a three-string capo can enable you to imitate the sound of the popular DADGAD tuning in standard tuning capoing strings three, four, and five on the second fret.
Likewise, you can do the same on the guitalele.
Retuning the guitalele in the same intervals as DADGAD results in a tuning of GDGCDG.
However, if you use this short-cut capo on strings five, four, and three, you will get that DADGAD sound without having to retune your instrument.
This is what I’ve done in the video above with my Kyser short-cut partial capo.
Two and One-String Capos
Woodies is the only company I know of that makes two and one-string capos.
Although these capos are rare, they have applications for guitaleles and other instruments.
For instance, the one-string capo can be really helpful on a five-string banjo which has a high 5th string that you must capo separately from the other strings.
And if you need direction on how to use these capos, look no further than Harvey Reid’s book about them.
Check out the video above to see a demo of these capos in action (apologies for the low quality of the video).
Modified Two-Strings Capos
Woodies two-string capos are great.
But they can only capo the six and fifth strings or the first and second strings.
If you want to capo two strings that aren’t those pairs, a capo from Woodies won’t help you.
Instead, you can modify a Schubb three-string capo to capo the fifth and fourth or second and third strings.
The guitarist in the above video does this by cutting off the end of the rubber pad that presses down the third string.
And of course, there’s no reason you can’t do this on the guitalele too.
Full and partial capos can open up a whole new world of possibilities for the guitalele player.
If you need guidance to the world of partial capos, the best way is to buy a capo yourself and begin experimenting.
However, it’s also helpful to have an expert to help you along the way.
For this expert insight, check out Harvey Reid’s books.
There’s no one more well-versed and experienced in the world of capos as Harvey.