Accessory time on Got A Ukulele, and a ukulele capo from British company G7th in the form of their new UltraLight model.
Being a guitarist, G7th are well known to me as they make my guitar capo of choice in their clutch geared 'Performance' model that I have been using for many years. I love those to bits, for reasons I will come on to later, but this one is quite a bit different.
Firstly this one is designed to be super light weight. On a ukulele I don't want masses of weight on the neck of the instrument, and you might recall in my last round up of ukulele capos that I critisised a few of them for being just too heavy. This one is quite remarkable it it's weight at only 7.5 grams. That's about half the weight of the super light D'Addario I recommended before which weighs 14 grams and massively lighter than the chunky Shubb that came in at over 50 grams. Full marks for that.
And it keeps the weight down because it is made of plastic and dispenses with the clutch gear system that G7th are best known for. Now I say above I adore that model on guitars, and that is because of that mechanism. You see, that system allows you to minutely adjust the pressure the capo was placing on the strings. One of my critisisms of many capos that use the snap or spring system to attach is that they are either tight or too loose. The G7th clutch system allowed you to very finely adjust the pressure just by squeezing it. And that is important for a very simple reason. Applying too much pressure on strings can easily throw the tuning out and affect intonation. Not what you want at all. It's a great system, but they are heavy as a result. That's not much of an issue on a guitar, but on a ukulele I just wouldn't want that. In fact G7th did make a version that worked like that for ukulele, but I don't think they are available any longer.
But the way this one works still seems to allow you to vary that pressure in increments. It's a really simple design, where the plastic body is flexible and wraps around the neck of the ukulele and clips on to itself. The part that presses on the strings is, like most capos, padded with some rubber type material, and then you simply turn the screw on one side to adjust the tension. And it works, allowing you to minutely adjust pressure until you get just enough to cleanly engage the strings without throttling them until they go out of tune. Neat. Incidentally it's wide enough to suit any scale ukulele (I tried it on each), and I could see it equally working well on a mandolin or banjo too.
Now, it's not as intuitive a system to attach and move up and down the neck as the clip varieties but it does do it's job and once it's on it's on. It's not all that fiddly and took only a second to attach, but it's not quite the same as just clipping one on with a spring. However, when you move to one of the spring capos you then have that issue of increased pressure and of course increased weight which is where this one leads the way.
One other comment I would make is that as I have big hands I do tend to find all ukulele capos can get in the way of my fretting hand on the lower positions. This is better than some I have played as it's rather sleek, but I still bumped into it on occasion. I actually found though, like with other capos on ukulele that placing it at a slight angle overcomes much of that. Just bear that in mind, but like I say, that's a comment about all capos really. If you use a capo on a ukulele you will know what I mean.
And one of the nicest things about this aside from the weight is the price. These are launching at only £9.99 which is the sort of price that really doesn't need thinking about. I mean it's only a touch more than the cost of a pack of strings. Why wouldn't you grab one for that sort of money? I like simple things that just work, and this fits that bill for me.
© Barry Maz
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