What Is A Spider Capo? (and whether you should get one)
We all know what a capo is, a device that’s attached to the neck and fretboard of the guitar to alter the open string tuning. By attaching the capo to the first fret the guitar has been tuned up from the standard E tuning To F tuning. The Spider capo does that too, but it does a whole lot more besides.
With a regular capo, you bar the whole fret to change the key, with a Spider capo, you can alter each string individually. It has six fingers – one for each string, that can be set individually. Plus when it’s in the open position you can play behind it (which takes some getting used to) opening up all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations.
What Guitars Can The Spider Capo Be Used On?
The Spider capo fits all guitars, acoustics, electrics, steel strings, nylon strings, it even fits a ¾ size guitar. They even make them to fit ukuleles, banjos and mandolins (these have a smaller length to fit the neck of the smaller instruments) however, they don’t appear to work very well on 12 string acoustics..
It works by twisting the fingers individually on whichever string you want to change the note of. You can even adjust how much pressure is being applied to each string which can be handy if you’re suffering from fret buzz.
Simple To Use
Once the Spider capo is in place, it’s possible to alter tunings mid song, which gives options like changing from a major to a minor key and back again. The fingers are so easy to adjust you can alter them whilst still playing. So the Spider capo is easy to fix to your guitar whatever the neck size, and easy to adjust to any arrangement you prefer. The difficult part is when to stop because once you start experimenting, the unique sounds you will create can become addictive.
How To Attach The Spider Capo
The spider capo is easy to attach to your guitar, you simply attach it to the guitar via a large thumbwheel that is twisted to tighten the spider capo onto the neck of the guitar. The clamps on the side are padded with leather so they don’t cause any damage to the side of your guitar’s neck. Once it’s firmly in place, you can adjust the position of the fingers to fit your guitar’s string distance.
Then you can twist any combination of individual fingers to create any number of unique tunings. The further you turn the fingers, the tighter they connect to the string which can eradicate string buzz etc.
Like Having Three Hands
The Spider capo works like a third hand, holding down as many (or few) strings as you want. This gives you the opportunity to get creative in so many ways. Like holding down the second, third and fourth strings on the second fret and playing an A major chord with open strings. Or tuning in any number of combinations open C, Drop D, open G, any of the modal chord shapes, and many more.
Slack Key Guitar
If you’re familiar with the concept of the slack key guitar, that system of different tunings that originated in Hawaii and you have always wanted to try it but couldn’t get the tunings correct. Using a Spider capo opens up that whole world of slack key guitar tunings for you without ever detuning your guitar. If you don’t know what slack key guitar is, follow the link to our article all about slack key guitar.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using The Spider Capo?
The first drawback we found is that it can only be used at one fret which doesn’t allow you to adjust the G string by a half step while adjusting the A string a whole step. However you could always buy another spider capo and attach it above or below to allow you many more options.
Plus you can’t fret the open string of the fret the capo is attached to.
Who Will The Spider Capo Be Most Useful For?
The spider capo will probably be best suited for acoustic fingerstyle guitarists rather than electric guitar players. We say this for two reasons, firstly, capos in general are more widely used by acoustic guitarists anyway. And secondly because it kind of prevents string bending.
What Are The Main Advantages Of Using The Spider Capo?
The spider capo opens up so many opportunities for experimental tunings that it is definitely worth having a play around with. If you’re looking for a unique sound for your next composition, the spider capo will have the solution. It costs nothing to operate and its purchase price is crazily cheap compared to most gear that’s used in the studio.
How Much Is A Spider Capo?
Different stores charge different prices for the Spider capo, but as a guide price they run from £30.00 to £50.00 depending on where you shop. There are other versions or copies of the spider capo that are available for less money but we haven’t tried any of those so we can’t speak for their quality, usability, craftsmanship or longevity.
Frequently Asked Questions
The spider capo allows you to capo each string individually or leave them open. This allows you to access any number of open string tunings or even modal chord shapes (like Esus4 etc). You can change tunings as you’re playing and play the open strings above the capo.
We feel that the spider capo is incredibly good value for money and a great way to alter tunings to experiment with new and exciting tunings.