Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you sell replacement pads? Do they wear out quickly?
The rubber pads should last a very long time. They are made from a rubber similar to the kind used in automobile tires, only
much softer. Like the tires on your car, their life will depend on “mileage and road conditions”. In theory, they’ll wear out
eventually, but honestly, it might take years.
The main reason that we sell the pads separately isn’t because they have a short life span. It’s because they’re small and easy
to lose if they become detached from their frame. So, whether you wear them out or need to replace lost pads, you can always
get new ones.
How can I tell if I need a custom length strap?
The standard Harmonic Capo strap should fit most electric and acoustic guitars. If your guitar's neck isn't exceptionally thick or
thin, the standard strap should be fine. If you want to use the Harmonic Capo on a 5-string banjo... you will need the short strap.
If you know your guitar has an unusually massive neck joint... you probably need the longer strap.
To find out beyond any doubt, you have to measure your guitar. Here's how:
Take a piece of string and loop it around the guitar neck (under the strings). Pull the loop of string snuggly against the 12th fret
wire and mark the string in some way so you'll be able to tell exactly how long the string needed to be to go around the neck
If the string length is more than 6.1 inches (15.5 cm), you need the longer strap.
If the string length is less than 4.8 inches (12.2 cm), you need the shorter strap.
Do you ship outside the United States? How much does shipping cost?
We ship almost anywhere. Shipping outside the United States costs $6.00 (USD) for one capo. (If you purchase more than
one, add $2.00 for each additional capo.) Delivery usually takes 2-4 weeks, but mail service varies throughout the globe.
Within the United States, shipping now costs $2.00 (USD) per capo. Sadly, we've had to discontinue free shipping. We kept it
up as long as we could.
Do you offer quantity discounts or wholesale rates?
If you are a music retailer and would like to sell Harmonic Capos in your store, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for
information about retailer discount rates.
Your brochure says it’s normal for notes played at the 1st or 2nd frets to be muted by the pads. Why is that?
To answer this question, you really need to take a close look at how the Harmonic Capo works.
Open strings can be made to play harmonics when the capo’s pads are adjusted to barely touch them at the 12th fret. When
you press a string down at the 11th fret, the string gets pushed down all the way to the fretboard, far away from the pad. In that
position, you can play the string normally and the pad does not interfere with it at all. Pressing the same string down at lower
frets moves the string less (at the 12th fret). As you press the string down at lower and lower frets, the string moves less and less
away from its pad.
The problem with muting happens when you run out of room. Pressing the string down at the 1st or 2nd fret may move the string
so little that it still occasionally touches the pad and that will tend to mute the note.
Not all guitars are the same. Some may allow use of the entire neck, especially on the higher pitched strings. But some muting
is normal at the 1st or 2nd frets. You can reduce the problem by being very careful to adjust the pads for the minimum contact
pressure necessary to achieve the open string harmonic.
Why are guitars with low action a problem?
The reason is very closely related to the muting question above. A guitar with low action has strings that are already quite close
to the fretboard. That means that you start with less room to work with, and consequently, you run out of room sooner.
Guitars with extremely low action may experience significant muting on the lower frets. So much so, that we don’t recommend
using the Harmonic Capo on these guitars. Guitars with factory standard action, typically work very well.
If my guitar's action is too low, is there anything I can do?
We do not recommend making any permanent modifications to your guitar! But, there is a simple and temporary trick that
might gain you an extra fret or two. The nut action is what really matters, so if you want to raise the action of one string, you can
place a small piece of paper between the string and the nut. (Business card stock is pretty good for this.) This only works if your
guitar has a traditional nut. If your guitar has a "zero fret" instead of a nut, forget it.
Can the Harmonic Capo be used at the 5th or 7th frets?
Yes! The Harmonic Capo works fine in those locations. Those harmonics are higher in pitch, but otherwise, it works exactly the
The Harmonic Capo doesn’t fit on my guitar! Am I doing something wrong?
Maybe not. The Harmonic Capo does not fit on all guitars.
If your guitar has a short (12-fret) neck and the neck joint interferes severely with the Harmonic Capo’s elastic strap at the 12th
fret, then there’s not much that can be done about it. In that case, your only option is to use the capo at the 5th or 7th frets
instead. Typically, affected guitars include classical guitars, nylon string guitars, Spanish guitars and most dobros.
On the other hand, if the guitar has a longer (14-fret) neck and the neck joint is not excessively large or bulky, the Harmonic
Capo should fit. If your guitar has a 14-fret neck, but the neck joint is still interfering, it may be possible to correct the problem
by replacing the Harmonic Capo's elastic strap with a slightly longer one. Longer straps are available if this is the case.
What else could be wrong? Check two things: First, be sure the capo is positioned directly over the 12th fret wire and not
higher. Second, don’t try to stretch the elastic strap beyond the low plastic hook provided for it. The strap should not hook over
the metal frame that supports the rubber pads.
The harmonics I get sound dead. Am I doing something wrong?
Make sure the Harmonic Capo is positioned directly over the 12th fret, not next to it. The plastic support feet on the capo are
designed to rest directly on the fretboard, while straddling the end of the fret. If the capo is not positioned in the right place, the
harmonics will be dead or non-existent.
If that doesn’t help, try adjusting the pads for lower contact pressure. Too much pressure will mute the harmonic.
Lastly, you should not expect the harmonics generated by the capo to be any better than what you can achieve with your hands.
If the guitar is harmonically dead to start with, the capo will not fix that.
Can you use more than one Harmonic Capo at a time?
Yes and no. There are useful harmonic points at the 5th, 7th and 12th frets, so in theory you could put a capo in each position.
But it doesn’t necessarily help to have more than one capo applied to the same string. Why? Because applying a capo at the
5th fret and the 12th fret on the same string would have exactly the same effect as the capo on the 5th fret by itself. The open
strings would still give you two-octave harmonics.
Applying a capo at the 7th fret and the 12th fret on the same string produces harmonics that are two octaves plus a fifth above
the normal open strings. That might be more useful. Selectively engaging or disengaging the pads on multiple capos is also a
Can you use the Harmonic Capo with a conventional capo?
Yes and no, again. Using a conventional capo shifts the harmonic points up the neck. So, if you’re using an acoustic guitar, the
octave harmonics may now be inaccessible due to the neck joint. Depending on where the conventional capo is placed, you
may have access to other usable harmonic points.
Another concern is that using a conventional capo may have the side effect of lowering the action. As explained above, that
could cause some notes to be muted by the pads if the Harmonic Capo was used also.
Why doesn’t the Harmonic Capo work on 12-string guitars?
The rubber pads used by the Harmonic Capo are designed to make contact with single strings. On a 12-string guitar, the
strings are paired, sometimes grouping strings with significantly different gauges. String pairs with the same gauge would
probably work with the Harmonic Capo’s pads, but it would be very difficult to adjust the pad pressure for a good effect on string
pairs that are not the same height off the fretboard. For this reason, we don’t recommend using the Harmonic Capo on 12-string
Why doesn’t the Harmonic Capo work on dobros or classical guitars?
Most dobros and classical guitars have short necks. Their 12th frets are positioned right where the neck attaches to the guitar
body. In this position, the neck joint interferes with the Harmonic Capo’s elastic strap and prevents it from being attached
You could still use the Harmonic Capo on the 5th or 7th frets on these guitars, but not having access to the octave harmonics is
a major limitation.
All the demo videos seem to use non-standard tunings and pretty advanced playing techniques. Do you have be a
guitar wizard to use a Harmonic Capo? It looks hard.
Not all of the demos use non-standard tuning. "Frames of Reference Part 3" and the Electric Guitar Demo both use standard
Players that use open tunings like DADGAD and see the open strings as their friends will probably get up to speed with the
Harmonic Capo fast. The rest of you, who work for years in the woodshed trying to AVOID playing the open strings, may have to
make some adjustments to your technique.
Is it hard? No, not necessarily, but it isn’t always intuitive either. You don’t expect the pitch of a string to go UP when you pull
off. It’s something you’ll have to get used to. But once you do, it’s really very cool.
Didn't the German guitarist Hans Reichel invent a Harmonic Capo back in the 1980's?
Yes! Hans Reichel and Bob Kilgore both came up with the idea at about the same time, although neither one knew about the
other until recently. Mr. Reichel chose not to market his design in favor of his many other creative projects.