Planet Waves, the accessories division of D’Addario, has announced a pair of new capos for fretted stringed instruments. The NS Artist Capo for guitar and the NS Banjo/Mandolin Pro aim to offer musicians features found in hand-tooled models at a much lower price.
The NS stands for Ned Steinberger, noted instrument designer, who worked with Jim D’Addario to create these sleek new capos. Both are made from lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum for strength and durability.
The banjo capo is a very simple apparatus, tightened to fit with a smooth micrometer adjustment, will cover any of the first four frets on most five string banjos. D’Addario says that it will also work on tenor/plectrum banjos or mandolins. In a quick test it worked well, and since there is no snapping into place, tuning distortion was minimal.
By comparison, the guitar capo is a far more complicated device, designed to accomplish the greater tension required to close down on a guitar. The packaging indicates that they have received a patent for a new trigger geometry that requires one third less force to operate. I can’t vouch for the precise pressure required, but it does feel much easier to engage than other clamp type capos I have tried. I was able to open the mechanism easily with two fingers.
The guitar model also uses a micrometer adjustment screw to fine tune tension, and has a slot that will hold an extra pick while you are onstage, and a bracket that will attach a Planet Waves NS Micro tuner to the capo.
D’Addario says that they have tested the materials in these capos extensively to ensure that they will not react with common nitrocellulose lacquers, but does recommend against storing the capo on your instrument.
Retail price for the guitar capo is $31.99, and the banjo $27.55, though many dealers offer them for substantially less.
These NS Capos are a welcome addition to this highly competitive market. I doubt that they will tempt many pickers who are sold on the pricier stainless steel, wraparound models, but for those on a budget they work just fine.
More details about Planet Waves capos can be found online. They are sold through music dealers worldwide.