A little while ago the folks over at ToneGear sent me one of their gadgets - a Spider Capo - to checkout. I've played around with it a bit, so I figured it was time to share my thoughts on it.
Firstly - what in the world is a SPIDER capo? We all know what a capo is, right? It's a cool little device that allows you to bar a particular fret all the way across. In its standard form, this means barring the whole fret, say the 3rd fret, so that you essentially shift everything up and can play open chords but in a different key. If you're tricky like me, maybe you use a normal capo as a partial capo, leaving the low E open or something.
Pretty cool stuff.
Well, the Spider Capo does the same thing, with a very unique twist... it lets you pick which strings to fret, and which ones to leave open. There are six individual levers (called fingers), one for each string, which you set individually. Use all six if you want, or just one, it's your call.
The Spider Capo Fits All Guitar Necks
I tried the Spider Capo on a couple different guitars, and because you can actually shift each "finger" or lever sideways, it is adjustable to fit pretty much any six string guitar. I've got a 3/4 size acoustic guitar with a narrower neck, and although the fingers are really close together, it works on there just as well as on my full size acoustic or electric. Apparently, they'll also work on a banjo or mandolin, though I've not tried that myself. To do this though, you'd just unscrew the end and remove fingers as necessary.
Additionally, because the entire mechanism is different than the standard clamp style capo, you can actually adjust the tension placed on each string individually, which is an added bonus that can help you tweak out any buzzing that might occur.
Change Tunings On The Fly
Because the fingers are easy enough to adjust individually, if you can think of a way to use the Spider Capo in this fashion, you could technically change tunings mid song, without too much difficulty. One example might be moving from a major tuning to a minor tuning mid stream. Alternate guitar tunings can be so much fun, but they're often a bit clunky to work with on the fly. This can change that quite easily.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I think the Spider Capo is a brilliant step forward for guitar capos. You get far more versatility than a standard capo, and if you're the type of player that loves to sit and tinker with your guitar, then this may well be squarely up your alley. This will get your brain thinking much harder about your guitar and why and how it is tuned the way it is, which is a great exercise that will help you even playing in standard tuning.
In addition, I like the fact that the "fingertip" of each lever is a slightly concave plastic end, rather than the typical rubber you find on most capos. This means that when you do a string stretch, your string doesn't move to a different position and then stick there; it has the freedom to slide back to its original position.
The Spider Capo will run you about 30 bucks on Amazon or elsewhere (click here for current prices), which is a bit more than a normal capo; however I view them as two totally different gadgets. Use a normal capo for the things you've always used it for, and use a Spider Capo to add something truly unique that you've never been able to explore before using a traditional capo.
Checkout the video below to see the Spider Capo in action.
The Spider Capo Review