Review – Planet Waves NS Capo Pro

With its sleek design, the Planet Waves NS Capo Pro weighs almost nothing and does its job very well for a reasonable price.

This may be the easiest review I have ever had to write. I love it. There isn’t a whole lot more that needs to be said.

But you know me…

Pros: Sleek, light-weight and simple to use for obtain good tone and intonation. No performance issues I can find in regular use.

Cons: Tightener knob can come off in a pocket or gig bag. Not as easy to use as a drop tuning capo as the Shubb.  Not for those who like to keep their capo around the headstock.

Bottom Line: It does its job well and is built to last. My choice for a capo since it appeared on the scene and still the reigning champ.

Planet Waves NS Capo Pro review at

The Planet Waves NS Capo was designed in collaboration with Ned Steinberger, inventor of the “stick” bass and other advancements in music-related engineering. The capo features ultra-light construction and a simple design that lets you slip it on, tighten it and get to playing. It is a radiused capo that will work with any acoustic or electric guitar with a radiused fretboard. But an unreadiused version is available for use with classical guitars, banjos and other instruments with flat fingerboards.

Compared to all other popular capos, it seems to weighs next to nothing, thanks to an aluminum alloy that was originally developed for the aerospace industry. It is also made with a slim profile that has few moving parts and very little protruding from the sleek main structure. It can be carried in any pocket and into any situation without adding bulk or unwanted weight. I hardly know it’s there at all, until its time to use it.

The capo is open at one end, with a long, rigid fretting bar that comes down around the side of the guitar’s neck and connects to a shorter back bar via a springy hinge. The shorter bar has a curve that then levels out toward the end. Once the fretting bar is in place, the player turns a knob that tightens the small bar, which hugs the neck firmly from behind.

The fretting bar is 1/4″ wide at the open edge and increases another 1/32″ at the other end, with the rubber pad being a bit thinner. This makes it among the narrowest capos available. It can be put on any guitar with the open end at either the bass or the treble side, including 12-strings. The wide screw knob isn’t too thick, nor is it overly shallow. It also has a nicely textured gripping surface around its edge. The micrometer screw turns without any noticeable resistance and there is no effort required to loosen it.

The rigid fretting bar is lined with a tough rubber padding that contacts the strings. The padding is not replaceable, as with capos that have rubber sleeves, but it is 3/16” in depth and should last for many years. The smaller back bar also has rubber padding that covers anything that comes into contact with the guitar.

Leo Kottke - Planet Waves NS Capo Pro review at
(photo: D. Lowden)

I like open capos like the Planet Waves NS because I can put them on the second fret, with the closed end at the treble side and leave capo off the lowest bass string, resulting in an instant Drop-D tuning (technically a Drop E). The outside edge of the closed side does jut out farther than some other capos, which can get in the way of some fancier chords below the first fret, but only when using the drop position. It also cannot be used to drop two strings, as can some other capos. But I had one sawn off for that purpose and I get some really cool tunings out of it.

Conversely, when the closed end is placed at the bass side, the NS capo does not interfere with treble string fingering at all. It is the most noninvasive capo I have come across and can be placed right up against a fret for optimum intonation without getting in the way. But it also can be set at an angle to allow oddball fingering without affecting the intonation..
Otherwise, all branding on the capo is discrete, small enough to be seen only by the player and the fretting bar is so thin the audience may not even notice a performer is using one.
.Planet Waves NS Capo Pro review at
I have two minor issues with this capo. First, the screw knob comes off in my pocket at random times. This is remedied by screwing in the knob securely before putting it in a pocket, but I wish they had found some way to prevent the screw from coming all the way out of its socket. The second issue has to do with cosmetics. The black surface has had some flecks taken off of it from pocket change and keys, etc. They now offer a brushed silver version that might be the way to go for those players who want their capo to look as perfect as possible.
The Planet Waves NS Capo does everything I would want a capo to do and at a reasonable price. I guess my biggest complaint is I keep losing them, thanks to a variety of absent minded borrowers. But they are affordable enough that I buy them three or four at a time and keep one is most rooms at home.
And that is one man’s word on…
The Planet Waves NS Capo
available at Maury’s Music

as well as other fine dealers


One thought on “Review – Planet Waves NS Capo Pro

  1. A spot-on review. Unsurprizingly, I have ‘borrowed’ disappearances too! On the loss of screw knob which has happened too often, does anyone know if replacements are available? It’s very session-disruptive while I duct-tape my knob-minus capo to my mandolin….

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