At IBMA this year I had the pleasure of spending some time visiting with Phil Elliott of Elliott Capos. As bluegrass conversations go, we talked about music, family, and church. One particular aspect of a conversation with Phil is that you’re bound to talk shop about capos. Phil spends his days in a machine shop behind his house, individually handcrafting the finest capos available.
I walked away from the conversation in possession of a brand new Elliott Elite Capo for my guitar.
I owned one of the original Elliott push buttons for years, until it disappeared at a gig several months ago. I’d been laboring along with a standard, spring-loaded, clamp style capo until now. What a joy it is to once again have an Elliott capo on my Collings!
And this new Elliott Elite is even better than the original. The Elite design is so slender it doesn’t get in the way at all. This capo really is smaller than the previous model I had, which was smaller than the standard variety spring-clamp capo. This sleek design really serves to keep the capo out of the way of your left hand as you play.
The Elite also features a longer saddle (leather padded), which makes it easier to keep the capo centered on the instrument neck. And of course, the patented Elliot push button design.
Speaking of design, these capos are finely crafted and even though it’s a small piece of hardware, you can sure feel the quality of the craftsmanship when you hold it in your hand. The screw mechanism is smooth, nothing seems loose, but neither is it overly tight. The push button is perfect, easy to use, yet secure enough that you have no fear of it coming unlatched during use.
The real advantage of this sort of capo lies in the thumb screw. As opposed to a spring-clamp sort of capo, the thumb screw allows the player to adjust the capo to have exactly the correct amount of tension on the strings. Not over clamping, allows for a very transparent sound which doesn’t adversely affect tuning the way a spring operated capo does.
If you are looking for the best capo, look no further. The price tag is serious at $160, but if you’re serious about your music, you can’t afford to use anything less.
The guitar version comes in the following standard neck widths: 1 11/16″, 1 3/4″, 1 13/16″, and 1 7/8″. If you need something special for a different neck width, give Phil a call and he’ll take care of you.
For the banjo, you have the options of a B capo or a C capo.
I took a few photos of the capo to share with you. I hope these give you a sense of the capo’s size and craftsmanship.