When you get down to it, a guitar is pretty much a wooden box with strings and, to extend the analogy, a capo is a clamp. While there are, of course, differences between materials, construction, and subtleties that can make one guitar—or capo—seem better than another, there’s usually not much deviation from the basic form. But a clever new accessory from G7th, the Performance 3 capo, has a feature that sets it apart from anything else out there: namely the company’s “adaptive radius technology” (ART).
If you have a bunch of guitars—and if you’re like me, you probably do—one of the more annoying obstacles is that the typical capo has a fixed radius, making it work better on some instruments than others. That’s where the Performance 3’s ART comes in. Inside the capo’s upper pad (the one that pushes the strings down), an internal cam responds to the string pressure and radius, conforming the pad’s shape to your fretboard’s radius. What this clever bit of engineering means to the player is that the Performance 3 can adapt to different guitars, while helping them all sound in-tune and buzz-free.
I tried the Performance 3 on a diverse array of instruments—a Waterloo WL-S, Gibson SJ-200, Collings dreadnought, Fender Stratocaster, and even a few ukuleles—and found that it worked equally well on steel or nylon strings and on wide or narrow fingerboards. I also learned that the ART upper pad is so responsive and, well, adaptive that it’s almost hard to clamp it down too tightly and push the strings out of tune. In most instances, I could only place the Performance 3 as high as the seventh fret, neck width and depth being too substantial to accommodate the capo in the upper positions. But that’s certainly not a deal breaker—how high do you need to go, anyway?
At $57.99 street, the Performance 3 might be one of the more expensive clamp-on capos on the market, but it’s a notable improvement on G7th’s already impressive Performance 2 (reviewed in AG’s January 2017 issue), and a valuable and versatile tool for players who want an easy-to-use capo that will work excellently on all of their guitars.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.
Shop for this product with these online retailers.
Please note the above are affiliate links, meaning Acoustic Guitar will earn a small commission (at no cost to you) when you click through and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (Learn more about how you can support this site by clicking here.)