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Pete’s Gear: Guitar Capos

A look at Pete’s frequent use of capos on stage, beginning in 1970. For a list of songs employing a capo, see Pete’s Guitar Style – The capo.

C-style capos (1966–67)

Ca. 1967, home studio, recording with the Harmony 12; C-style capo unused at the headstock.

Ca. 1967, home studio, recording with the Harmony 12; C-style capo unused at the headstock.

Pete’s earliest public use of a capo is 1966, as seen on his Harmony Sovereign H1270 12-string acoustic guitar, as used in the studio and television performances in the ’60s. Pete likely used a capo on this guitar frequently, as it was — and is — common to tune down 12-strings a half or whole step, to decrease the tension and make chord fingering easier. The guitar is then brought back to standard tuning with the capo.

Ca. 1966, with the Harmony 12 during television performance. Note red capo at 2nd fret.

Ca. 1966, with the Harmony 12 during television performance. Note red capo at 2nd fret.

Clamp-style capos (1970–1971)

Ca. 1971, backstage with three Gibson SG Specials, one capoed at the third fret.

Ca. 1971, backstage with three Gibson SG Specials, one capoed at the third fret.

Pete’s earliest stage use of a capo is 1970, as they added “Don’t Know Myself” to the set list. He used a C-style screw-type capo of unknown brand, possibly Hamilton.

1970

1970

29 September 1970

29 September 1970, fitting a capo.

Dunlop “Toggle” Professional Capos (1971–1989)

1975

Ca. 1975, Les Paul Deluxe.

For most of his career, Pete has used Dunlop “Toggle” Professional capos.

Pete’s Dunlop Toggle Professional capo, courtesy rockstarsguitars.com

Pete’s Dunlop capo from early ’70s, courtesy rockstarsguitars.com.

Ca. 1980, with single-bound natural-grain Schecter.

Ca. 1980, with single-bound natural-grain Schecter.

Ca. October 1973, UK, backstage, with three capoed Polaris White Gibson SG Specials and a cherry sunburst Les Paul Deluxe.

Ca. October 1973, UK, backstage, with three capoed Polaris White Gibson SG Specials and a cherry sunburst Les Paul Deluxe.

1973, with Gretsch Duo Jet and Dunlop capo at third fret.

1973, with Dunlop capo at third fret of Gretsch Duo Jet.

1957 Fender Stratocaster

Ca. 1985, filming for White City with the “Deep End” band, with the 1957 Stratocaster, fitted with Dunlop capo.

Ca. 1993, with 1952 Fender Telecaster (original or reissue?) fitted with Fender American Standard six-saddle bridge.

Ca. 1993, the Psychoderelict tour, with 1952 Fender Telecaster, with Dunlop capo.

Sabine capo (1981)

There is a brief mention of Pete experimenting with Sabine capos in 1981; however, 1981-era photos show him using Dunlop.

Shubb (1985 – present)

Ca. 1997, Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Shubb capo.

Ca. 1997, Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Shubb capo.

Beginning in 1985 for Deep End, Pete began using Shubb capos, along with Dunlop. In 1989 and 1993, he switched back to Dunlop, before returning to Shubb permanently in 1996.

Ca. 1997, Quadrophenia show with Gibson J-200.

Ca. 1997, Quadrophenia show with Gibson J-200.

Ca. 2006, Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Shubb capo.

Ca. 2006, Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Shubb capo.

Resources and Information

Sterner Capo Museum: web.telia.com/~u86505074/capomuseum/

Manufacturer’s Sites