Capo Use


#1

I followed a link to another capo thread but it was mainly about what brand/type to get.

When capo’ing a banjo, how do you deal with the 5th G string? Do you tune it up to key? I’m assuming from the 5th fret on you can just capo all 5 strings?

I’ve heard about spikes but don’t know exactly how they work. I’m ready to tackle “What A Friend” and see it’s a capo 4 so I thought I’d ask. :smiley:


#2

I believe the very best 5th string capo it to have RR spikes installed. Best left up to an experienced luthier though. I usually just tune it up a note or I use a Bic pen cap cut down a bit to fit over the 5th string fret and under the 5th string. It’s crude but work remarkably well. It does get knocked off sometimes if I’m playing a bit fast.


#3

As Stich mentioned, RR spikes are the way to go. They are positioned so that when you push the string under one behind a fret the string hooks under it and stays while you are playing, while actually sounding a higher note than the G.

You want them installed by someone who is a proven Banjo luthier and not just any guy in a music store who says he can install them.

It is not necesary to capo up to the suggested key to learn the song. The just follow the tabulature and it will work: the only difference is that you will be playing it in G instead of the higher key. I tend to learn most things without a capo first and then add the capo later


#4

— Begin quote from “fiddlewood”

It is not necesary to capo up to the suggested key to learn the song. The just follow the tabulature and it will work: the only difference is that you will be playing it in G instead of the higher key. I tend to learn most things without a capo first and then add the capo later

— End quote

Yeah that makes sense. I’ll do that and worry about the capo later. Sometimes I get ahead of myself.


#5

— Begin quote from “Stich”

I believe the very best 5th string capo it to have RR spikes installed. Best left up to an experienced luthier though. I usually just tune it up a note or I use a Bic pen cap cut down a bit to fit over the 5th string fret and under the 5th string. It’s crude but work remarkably well. It does get knocked off sometimes if I’m playing a bit fast.

— End quote

I watched a group rehearsing a few weeks ago and they seemed to be playing mostly in G or A. The banjo player would sometimes capo on 2 and tune the high G up. That seems simple enough. Getting into higher keys and spikes is something I can tackle once I get comfortable with the basics. The bic pen cap is creative…I like it! :wink: