Top Capos For 12-String Acoustic Guitars: A Complete Review

Best Capo For 12 String Acoustic Guitar
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As a guitarist with almost 20 years of experience and a part-time luthier, I know the struggle of finding the right capo for a 12-string acoustic guitar. The wrong capo can cause frustrating buzzing, uneven string tension, and even damage to your beloved instrument.

After thoroughly testing a wide range of capos, I recommend the S3 Shubb Deluxe as the best overall capo for its ability to mimic the human finger and minimize buzzing.

For those on a budget, the Kyser Quick-Change Capo is a great option with its fast on/off and lifetime guarantee.

In this article, I’ll share my expertise to help you find the ideal 12-string capo based on your needs and guitar type. I’ll review top options, capo types, and factors to consider so you can avoid issues and get great sound.

Read on because you’ll get straight answers from a seasoned guitarist who wants you to have the best capo experience.

List of Best Capo for 12 String Guitar

After years of testing capos on my 12-string Martins and Taylors, I’ve narrowed down the top options. Based on performance, price, design, and ease of use, here are my picks for the best 12 string guitar capos currently available:

  1. S3 Shubb Deluxe Series 12 String Acoustic Capo
  2. Kyser Quick-Change Capo for 12-string guitars
  3. G7th Newport Guitar Capo (C32013)
  4. Thalia Capo Brushed Black Blue Abalone
  5. Planet Waves NS Capo Pro
  6. Paige Clik Guitar Capo

Review Of Top 6 Capos For 12-String Guitars

1. S3 Shubb Deluxe Series 12 String Guitar Capo

S3 Shubb Deluxe Series 12 String Guitar Capo

  • Distinctive capo design
  • Unique among adjustable capos
  • Simple locking and removing as flipping the lever
  • Custom-made rubber works just like a fingertip

Up first on our list, we have the S3 Deluxe 12-string capo from Shubb. This capo has received universal acclaim from buyers, and it appears to be a great choice for most 12-string guitars.

At the heart of the S3 Deluxe guitar capo is custom-built rubber that is made to imitate the human finger. The result is even tension in the strings and minimal buzzing.

The S3 Deluxe capo is easy to use as well. You adjust its tension once at the very beginning, and you are good to go – no readjustments are needed after each use. Setting and removing this capo is rather easy as well.

The tension adjustment mechanism here is traditional for Shubb capos – it is operated by a screw and allows for a wide range of adjustments. It’s reliable, easy to use, and seems to deliver great performance.

We also like the stainless steel build of the S3 Deluxe. You don’t need a guitar capo to be this tough, but this capo feels solid and more premium than many other capos on the market.

Pros:

  • Imitates the human finger to minimize buzzing
  • Tough stainless steel design
  • Adjustable tension

Cons:

  • Nothing to complain about

2. Kyser Quick-Change Capo for 12-string guitars

Sale
Kyser Quick-Change Guitar Capo for 12-string guitars, Black, KG12B
  • Specifically designed for 12-string guitars
  • The original one-handed Quick-Change capo
  • Strong, lightweight aluminum with steel spring
  • Parks on the guitar's headstock when not in use

Next on top of the best 12-string capos, we have the KG12B Quick-Change capo from Kyser.

As the name suggests, the key feature of the Kyser capo is its quick-change mechanism. It’s loaded by a spring, so to install and remove the capo, you just need to pull the grips together. The Kyser capo can be removed with just one hand too, which many buyers will appreciate.

When it comes to the sound, the Kyser Quick-Change capo appears to produce no buzzing with proper adjustment. The rubber pad seemed to distribute tension evenly, and most people didn’t have any issues with this capo.

What some of you may also like about the Quick-Change capo is its price – this is quite a pocket-friendly 12-string guitar capo. Its build quality is still very good – the steel spring combined with the aluminum frame should serve you for years.

One thing to keep in mind with the Kyser KG12B capo is that it doesn’t have tension adjustment. On one hand, this means that you can mount this thing to your guitar without any setup. On the other, you can’t finetune the amount of tension applied to the strings.

This won’t necessarily be a problem for you since Quick-Change is tuned to work with most 12-string guitars out of the box. But with some guitars, its stock tension may be inadequate.

Pros:

  • Wallet-friendly
  • Very easy to mount and take off
  • Guaranteed for life

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have tension adjustment

3. G7th Newport Guitar Capo (C32013)

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G7th Newport Guitar Capo (C32013),Silver, 12 String
  • Enhanced performance - specifically for 12-string acoustic guitars
  • Fits snugly behind the fret
  • Features a longer arm to fit an acoustic 12-string guitar fingerboard

The G7th Newport guitar capo features a patented compensated string pad design. If you have a good look at the string pad, you will notice that it has a series of tooth-like bumps. These are intended to finetune and equalize tension on strings of different gauges.

With proper adjustment, this unique string pad design could deliver way better results than any other capo on the market. On the other hand, keep in mind that Newport doesn’t work on 12-string Rickenbacker guitars because they have reverse octave string positions.

For guitars with reverse string orientation, you should get a capo with a uniform string pad surface.

To allow you to finetune sound and mounting, G7th Newport 12 string capo has a tension adjustment knob. The flip lever makes setting and removing the capo very easy as well.

What we also love about the Newport guitar capo is its design. It’s a really sleek-looking capo, and although this doesn’t matter for performance, the design does set Newport apart from other capos on this list.

Pros:

  • Sleek looks
  • The string pad takes into account different string gauges
  • Adjustable tension

Cons:

  • Not suitable for 12-string Rickenbacker guitars

4. Thalia Capo 200 Series Brushed Black Blue Abalone

Thalia Guitar Capo - Exotic Series

  • Functionally Better Than Any Other Capo
  • Uses Patented OctaveTouch Technology
  • Comes with 2 Universal OctaveTouch Fret Pads
  • Lifetime Mechanical Warranty

Finally, we have the Thalia 200 Series capo, which is a great choice if you are willing to pay the price for the quality. The Thalia capo is quite a pricey one though, so it’s certainly not for those who are shopping on a budget.

When it comes to tension adjustment, Thalia employs a unique approach. Each Thalia 12 string capo comes with 7 standard-tension and 7 high-tension rubber fretpads. The high-tension fretpads are intended for 12-string guitars, ukuleles, banjos, and some guitars with low-profile necks.

What’s also great about Thalia capos is that they are made to imitate the human finger, as Thalia outlines in an educational blog post. The fret pads are designed to apply even tension to all strings to avoid buzzing and create a seamless sound.

Sound aside, the 200 Series Blue Abalone capo makes for a great gift. The capo comes in an attractive clear case and includes the mentioned fret pads, a microfiber carry bag, a Santos Rosewood pick, and a Thalia sticker.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality.
  • Great as a gift thanks to the packaging.
  • Includes several fret pads.
  • Covered by a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

  • Pricey.
Also Read: 
If you are looking for a premium capo that perfectly fits your guitar's neck radius, check out our full review of Thalia capo.

5. Planet Waves NS Capo Pro

D'Addario Accessories Guitar Pro Capo

  • Micrometer tension adjustment assures buzz-free performance
  • Dial in the exact tension needed for clear ringing notes
  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction
  • Available for 6 or 12-string acoustic and electric guitars

The Planet Waves NS Pro style capo from D’Addario Accessories is a great alternative to the G7th Newport capo in terms of style. NS Capo Pro looks just about as sleek, and Planet Waves even offers a number of colors for you to choose from.

One advantage NS Capo Pro has over G7th Newport is guitar compatibility. The string pad here is flat and thus will work with any guitar, including Rickenbacker instruments. NS Capo Pro may not work as well as Newport for your particular guitar, but its instrument compatibility is better.

When it comes to sound, NS Capo Pro appears to offer good performance and even string tension. The tension is adjustable via a knob at the base of the capo, like in Newport.

NS Capo Pro is also a fairly cheap capo for 12 string guitar, which is nice if you are on a budget. The build quality reflects the price though – if you will be using your capo frequently, then this one may not hold up in the long term.

Pros:

  • Attractive price.
  • Sleek design – like in G7th Newport.
  • Unlike the Newport, works with any 12-string guitar.
  • Adjustable tension.
  • Multiple colors are available.

Cons:

  • The build quality could be better.

6. Paige Clik Guitar Capo (12-String)

Paige Clik Guitar Capo - 12-String
  • 12-string Acoustic Guitar Capo with Direct Center-tension Design
  • Quick-release Mechanism
  • Finish-safe Tubing

The Paige Clik guitar capo features a gorgeous vintage design that we really like. If you have a vintage 12-string acoustic guitar, then the Click Capo might be the perfect addition to it.

The style aside, the Clik guitar capo features a traditional pad that appears to do a good job of applying even tension to the strings. You may adjust the tension via the knob at the bottom, achieving buzz-free sound and secure clamping.

Speaking of clamping, the Clik guitar capo is fairly easy to put on and take off the fretboard.

However, our previous picks are more convenient in this regard since they only require you to flip a lever, while Clik requires that you hook and unhook the string pad wire to the frame for installation.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous vintage design.
  • Adjustable string tension.

Cons:

  • Not as easy to mount and remove as other capos on the list.

How To Choose The Right Capo For 12-String Guitar

Now, let’s briefly cover the key things to consider when shopping for the best capo for your 12-string guitar.

guitar capo near me
Essential tool for 12-string magic: The perfect capo awaits.

1. Different Types Of Capo

Guitar capos are available in several styles. Although they all perform the same task, they are distinct in their use, and they have unique pros and cons.

C-clamp Capos

C-clamp capos – like G7th Newport or Shubb S3 Deluxe – have a distinct C-like shape, hence the name.

C-clamps are manually tuned via a screw. By turning the knob at the base of a C-clamp capo, you may adjust the tension of the capo to ensure even pressure on the strings.

C-clamp capos are great in terms of reliability. They are durable and don’t tend to put the instrument out of tune. C-clamp capos are quite compact as well, so they don’t usually interfere with the musician.

Spring-loaded Capos

Next, we have spring-loaded capos – like the Kyser capo we’ve had on our #2 spot. These capos put tension on strings via a spring. Not only that, but spring-loaded capos are very easy to mount and take off a guitar, even with one hand.

Spring-loaded capos are also typically inexpensive, so they are a good choice if you are shopping on a budget.

On the other hand, spring-loaded capos typically don’t allow tension adjustment, so they aren’t versatile enough for every guitar out there. Due to their constant clamping pressure, they may damage some guitars too. With that said, capos like Kyser Quick-Change are intended to fit most guitars out there, so you should have no issues.

Elastic Band Capos

Finally, there are the so-called elastic band capos. These capos are really cheap and are primarily manufactured and sold by Dunlop. Thus, they are great if you are new to guitars and capos.

With that said, elastic band capos are typically flimsy, which is expectable for their price. Aside from that, they tend to put strings out of tune. The tension is frequently not very even as well, which results in buzzing from the strings.

2. Tension Adjustment

Next, consider how the capos adjust the tension and whether they can adjust the tension at all.

In most 12-string capos that have tension adjustment, tension is regulated via a knob at the base of the capo. A few models – like Thalia capos – require that you change the string pad to adjust the tension.

3. Capo Size

Smaller capos are better because they are less likely to interfere with your fretting hand. However, capos that are too small may be unable to properly clamp onto the guitar neck, so keep that in mind.

4. Fretboard Shape

Lastly, consider the fretboard shape that the capo is designed for. Most capos are designed for flat fretboards, but if you have a radiused fretboard, you will need to shop accordingly.

For a helpful video showcasing which 12-string capos perform best in real-world playing tests, check out this shootout from Guitar Songs Masters:

YouTube video

12-String Capo Problems To Keep In Mind

When shopping and using a 12-string guitar capo, you should keep in mind a few common issues:

  • Uneven tension on the strings. The most common problem with 12-string capos is uneven tension. If the strings are pressed against the fret with unequal tension, you will experience buzzing. This may be treated by adjusting the tension of the capo, as well as using capos designed to mimic the human finger (like Thalia and Shubb capos).
  • Knocking the strings out of tune. Due to the bending of strings, capos tend to put guitar strings out of tune. After each capo session, you may need to tune your strings anew.
  • Guitar damage. Capos accelerate the wear in frets and strings as you play. Strings and frets wear out no matter how you play anyway, so you shouldn’t worry about this too much. However, if the capo tension is too high, it may seriously damage the guitar.
  • Interference with the fretting hand. Some capos may interfere with your fretting hand. You may avoid this by going for a more compact capo.

You may prevent issues with 12-string capos by:

  • Use a good acoustic or electric guitar capo with tension adjustment.
  • Properly adjusting the capo tension.

Capos will wear out your strings and fret no matter what, but via proper adjustment, you will be able to slow the process down.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it matter what kind of capo you get?

Absolutely. The wrong capo can cause major tuning and sound issues. Cheap elastic capos lack durability and even tension, knocking strings out of tune.

Get a capo with adjustable tension to match your guitar’s needs, like a Shubb or Paige. C-clamp and quick-change capos are better constructed than elastic.

Pay attention to size too – a capo that’s too big interferes with fretting. Prioritize even string pressure, tuning stability, performance and quality materials. The right capo becomes an indispensable tool, while the wrong one hampers your musical enjoyment.

Does a 12-string guitar need a special capo?

Yes, 12-string guitars require a capo specifically designed for their additional string tension and width. Generic capos meant for 6-strings can have uneven pressure across the neck, causing buzzing and potential damage.

The best 12 string guitar capo has wider, curved rubber pads to properly grip and distribute tension across all strings.

Models like the Shubb S3 Deluxe are optimized for 12-strings with their shape and tension adjustment. Investing in a quality 12-string capo ensures proper sound and preserves your instrument.

Can I use a 12-string capo on a 6-string guitar?

If you have a 12-string capo and 12- and 6-string guitars, then you should be able to use the capo just fine. You will need to adjust the tension when you switch guitars, but this shouldn’t be a huge issue.

Is there a difference between a guitar capo and a ukulele capo?

There are no big differences between guitar and ukulele capos in terms of design. Where there may be a difference is the neck radius a capo is designed for, as well as tension.

If a capo is adjustable in size and tension, then you will be able to safely use a ukulele capo on guitar, and the other way around.

Do capos damage guitars?

Capos may cause some damage to guitars, but only with incorrect use. For example, if the tension of the capo is too high – which may happen if you’ve moved the capo from another guitar, for example – the capo may damage the strings or the finish of the guitar.

With proper tension adjustment, you will not see any significant damage to the guitar.

However, the capo will somewhat accelerate string and fret wear. Frets and strings wear anyway with normal play, but capos might force you to repair your guitar more frequently.

Final Words

With this guide, you have the key info to easily select the best capo for 12 string acoustic guitar for your needs and playing style. Take care in choosing, as an improper capo fit can buzz and damage your instrument.

Our top 6 picks are a great starting point, but there are many capos available. If our suggestions don’t seem ideal, use our tips to find the perfect capo to enhance your musical enjoyment. With the right capo, you’ll avoid issues and get great sound from your 12-string.

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About the Author

Guitarist | + posts

Fabian, a Brazilian guitarist now based in Dublin, Ireland, has passionately played the electric guitar since 2003. As a luthier and product specialist, he boasts nearly two decades of collaboration with top musical instrument brands. Fabian is a sought-after expert, sharing his extensive knowledge with fellow guitar enthusiasts.

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