Do Guitar Capos Wear Out?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Yes, capos wear out just like everything else. However, some factors can help you determine your capo’s lifespan.   

Type Of Capo

Eventually, all capos wear out over time with frequent use, but the type of capo you own will determine how long your capo lasts. The two main classifications of capos include adjustable and non-adjustable capos. Adjustable capos feature a knob that enables them to tighten or loosen the pressure they apply on your strings. The mechanism that these specific capos use is more reliable, effective, and long-lasting compared to non-adjustable capos. The capos in this category include G7th, screw, Shubb, partial, spider, and cradle capos. The only downside is that they are usually much more expensive than your standard capos.

On the other hand, non-adjustable capos are usually much more affordable compared to adjustable capos. Because of its low cost, it uses a much simpler mechanism, which is commonly a spring. The disadvantage of this mechanism is that it loses tension and grip with constant usage. This means that the pressure it applies on your string reduces with each use, eventually being insufficient to hold them down. 

Quality And Material 

Your capo’s material and quality will also determine whether it lasts a long time or wears out quickly. Capos are typically made from plastic, steel, or occasionally even wood. As commonly known, steel is significantly more sturdy and robust than plastic or wood. 

The most expensive capos currently available in the market are made of aircraft-grade aluminum steel. On the other hand, cheap capos are primarily made of plastic, which is considerably weaker than steel-framed capos. Meanwhile, wooden capos offer moderate durability and excel significantly in terms of aesthetics.

Another part of a capo that can determine its lifespan is its paddings. Even though most capo paddings utilize a rubber material, it performs excellently. Silicone paddings are far superior in terms of performance and durability. If you are looking for a capo that would last longer than looking for a steel-framed capo with silicone padding is the best choice for you.

Personal Care

The lifespan of an instrument is determined by how it is handled, regardless of the material used. For example, even though your capo is made of steel, leaving it in areas prone to falling might cause dents in the frame or, in the worst-case scenario, entirely destroy the capo’s tension mechanism. In contrast, storing it somewhere safe will ensure that it lasts longer and appears brand new at all times.