Thalia Guitar Capo
By Chris Loeffler |
Thalia Guitar Capo
Step up your capo game ...
by Chris Loeffler
Whether to quickly transpose a song to a different key for vocal comfort or simply wanting to unlock new colors in open strings, here often comes a time in a player’s life when it’s time to get a capo. The goal of a capo, to re-fret at a point further up the neck and change key without needing to relearn the notes on the fretboard, is typically accomplished by anything from a buckled piece of braided nylon or a vice-like mechanical clamp to hold down the barring strip.
Thalia Capos, a newer company started by a father-daughter team, have been catching media and designer attention with their new take on the capo designs that introduces easier capo application, a more customized capo experience, and a focus on aesthetics. For the purposes reviewing, I was sent the Thalia Capo 200 in 24k gold finish with blue abalone inlay, the most popular of their 31 different designs.
What You Need to Know
The Thalia Capo ships in a fitted clear acrylic jewel case with two tension pad kit assortments (standard and high), all stored in a branded microfiber travel bag mean to fit in most gig bags. IThere are seven tension pads available in each tension kit, for a total of fourteen; 7.25”, 9.5”, 10”, 12”, 15”, 16”, radiuses and a C (classical) zero radius pad. For those who really like presentation and bling, there is a celebrity gift box option that is available for an upgraded price or with custom shop orders that includes two pull-out drawers and slots for picks.
The most unique feature of the capo itself, other than being incredibly eye-catching, is it’s reverse implementation of the pincher and spring, making one-hand, on the fly mounting and dismounting of the capo a cinch during performances. Anyone who has had to break the flow of a show to apply or adjust a capo will readily see the benefit of this feature, as it makes putting a capo on as simple and fast as placing your fretting hand on the neck and releasing pressure from the trigger. I found the trigger to have the right balance of tension between feeing solid and substantial without straining my hand while pressing in to release the pincher.
The tone was strident and consistent across the fretboard, and I suspect the slightly larger fret pads helped in creating uniformity across the strings. The inlays on the capo actually provide incredibly useful visual information in helping quickly align the capo at a perfect 90 degrees from the strings. I applied the Thalia capo to a Fender Strat, Gibson ES-335, Taylor 814, and Breedlove dreadnought without issue, and indeed felt and heard the benefits of matching the fret pad to the radius of the instrument. An off-brand Canadian classical guitar was all I had available to test the zero-radius pad, and I found it incredibly inspiring in higher frets to hear how the tone of the nylon strings settled into an almost bell-like character.
Additional add-ons to the Thalia capo include partial pads for people looking to only capo three to four strings, and teflon pads to replace the rubber pads. I found the teflon pads to be much better suited to my preferences than the traditional rubber pads for a number of reasons; the seemed to introduce less of the intonation issues than I’ve experienced with capos in the past, there harder surface results in crisper highs, and it can even double as an on-the-fly slide. I found the teflon pads to sound closer to a fretted note than a repositioning of the nut, and found low-note bends to sound and feel less pinched. The trade-off, though, is losing some of the anchored stability of the standard rubber pad.
Learning curve! The number of options and customizations that make the Thalia capo so great when dialed in means a player will probably want to dedicate 30 minutes to experimenting with the different pad sizes and types to identify the perfect fit for each guitar. While this isn’t necessary and a one-size-fits all would work, that misses the point of the Thalia.
The Thalia capo is probably the ultimate capo in terms of flexibility and premium build quality. With nearly three dozen standard styles, a player would be hard-pressed to find one that didn’t fit their visual sensibilities. The strength and ease of application during live performances instantly removes decades of awkward crowd banter typically associated with changing capos, and instant accessibility of “slide mode” with the teflon pads is something that will bring a grin to anyone’s face. While the premium packaging upgrades might seem excessive for what’s typically a strictly functional accessory, they really are a natural extension of the attention to construction, detail, and general quality as a whole… this is a capo that deserves the shrine they’ve built for it. - HC-
Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.