Harvey Reid Workshop: The Partial Capo; co-sponsored by Golden Link Folk Singing Society at Stutzman's Guitar Center, April 3, 2011


Harvey Reid & the Partial Capo

Fifteen inquiring guitarists minds attended Harvey’s partial capo workshop held at Stutzman’s Guitar Center. We were treated to a very interesting presentation on the magic and mysteries unveiled by use of partial capo-ing. You can widen the available range of playable notes, change voicing, add resonances or drone notes while not sacrificing much of what you already know on your fingerboard because you have not actually changed the tuning. It also enables you to play chords and combinations that are not possible any other way.

Some elite players would call the partial capo “cheating;”……So what! It is a tool that can help both beginners and advanced players play new music using skills they already have. Harvey brought about nineteen different partial capos with him to show—and sell. The lowest priced one (the Third Hand Capo) is possibly the most versatile in that it can be configured to clamp from one to all six of the strings at a specific fret. It is clumsy to install and too big to fret a string behind it, but is an inexpensive way to begin to explore the possibilities. He had a somewhat more elegant (and expensive) version with levers instead of rubber pads, but still not quick to install and not accessible behind and both are very visible.


Harvey Reid & Dave Stutzman

The most popular partial is the Esus capo (E suspended fourth named for the open chord created) which can fret either the third, fourth or sixth string at the second fret or inverted, can clamp the second, third or fourth string at the fourth fret for Asus. Both Kyser and Shubb make very useful versions with the Kyser being a quick change, and the Schubb easier to reach around. There were several other manufacturers of these as well, but these are the most commonly found.

The most unique capo was the harmonic capo. This was also a universal capo. (any to all of the strings can be affected) It is difficult to operate as setup is very touchy. The desired pads are positioned to just touch the strings rather than fret them so as to obtain a constantly available harmonic ring. It makes sounds like nothing else in the world and you can fret underneath it to open up the string. This one is not for the faint of heart, but can do some amazing things.

Harvey played representative songs using each of the capo types and, of course, he is amazing when he plays. He also brought several instructional books on the partial capos and gave out CDs of his Capo Voodoo recording which showcases the partial capo. This workshop was a real bargain to the inquisitive guitarist. I am toying with my new acquisitions now!

—Jeremy Carter
Photos: K. Nelson

Share this page: FacebookFacebook DeliciousDel.icio.us Stumble UponStumbleUpon Digg It!Digg RedditReddit

Return to the Home Page
About Us
Event Calendar
Latest News
Guitar Resources
Contact Us