Something in the Shubbery — a new Capo, perhaps?
Contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, the capo isn't just something that was invented for folk singer/guitarists who can't hit the low notes on Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound. If you've ever seen the Rolling Stones on stage, for example, you'll have spotted Keith Richard putting one to very tasty use on some of those gutsy, sleazy power-chord numbers, and Status Quo's Francis Rossi doesn't turn his nose up at the idea either. In fact, for any Rock guitarist who uses non-standard tunings like a dropped D or open E, which effectively restrict him to playing in one key only, a capo can be a very valuable device indeed.
But getting your hands on a good one is another matter. Some years ago the industry standard, so to speak, was the Hamilton — everybody had one, they worked well providing your guitar's neck was a reasonably average shape and size. But if the thing didn't fit perfectly, then you could end up in a nightmare of fret-buzz and unwanted alterations to your careful tuning! More recently, various manufacturers have come up with new capo designs, some of which hit the mark and some which, quite frankly, make great knuckle dusters but not much else. Among the goodies that we've tried have been the Double-M (reviewed in Issue 11 of this erudite periodical) and — now — the Shubb.
Shubb is an American make, and our sample was imported by Dixie Kidd of Dixie's Music in Huddersfield.
As you can see from the photo, it's a bit of a weird-looking contraption. A solid metal bar, rubber-shielded, holds down the strings, while two further hinged bars, one with a screw for adjusting tension, clip into place to hold the whole thing firm. Sounds horrendous, but in practice it's a piece of cake to use. Just fit the thing onto your guitar's neck, adjust the screw against the padded bar at the back until it grips firmly, and you're away. This has one great advantage overdesigns that use an elastic strap with a choice of five or six fixed settings, because with that type, when the elastic starts to stretch, you can find yourself stuck between two settings, one of which is too loose and the other too tight. This way, you can be as precise as you please — and once you've fixed the screw to suit your guitar, that's that; from then on the capo clips on and off, one handed and very fast, without the need for any more adjustment.
The Shubb's grip, too, is excellent — it holds the strings down evenly across the neck, and not once did I have any trouble with fret-buzz. Tuning stays remarkably accurate and wherever you fit the Shubb there's rarely any need to make tuning adjustments provided you've fitted it straight in the first place.
So if you need a capo — and I suspect most players do at some time or another — and want a tough, accurate device that's simple and quick to use the Shubb is well worth a close look. Personally, I think it's the best I've yet tried, and it'll take quite a lot to change my mind!
(RBP £11-50 inc.VAT)
Review by Katy 88
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