Shubb C1N Review: Standard Series Capo For Steel String Guitar - Brushed Nickel Finish
Having been classically trained, I sometimes look at capos as a cheating tool. But being a huge fan of rock, folk and pop guitar music, I know that capos are indispensable. While there are ways to play chords "properly" in the upper frets, there are songs that will simply sound different without a capo. As such, I've used a lot of capos over the years, most of the time without even thinking too much on how good or efficient they are. As long as they work, I'm satisfied.
I quickly changed my mind when I got the Shubb C1N - its adjustable clamping tension gave me good and consistent intonation, substantially better than the spring-loaded trigger style capos that I've been using.
Adjustable Clamp Tension
Adjusting clamping tension is done via a thumbscrew, it lets me dial in just the right amount of pressure on the strings. As you tighten the screw, it pushes a roller mechanism upwards, which in turn gradually tightens the capo's grip on the neck. The screw does not actually secure the capo on the neck, rather, the capo is locked in place via the bottom part of the clamp through a well implemented roller mechanism. With this, I can avoid intonation issues due to excessive pressure on the strings, and I don't have to loosen the screw to move the capo up and down the neck. I can de-clamp and move the Shubb C1N to different frets fairly easily, and even clamp it on the headstock - albeit with limitations.
Tension variability also makes this capo compatible with different neck profiles, which is a big deal for me, given that I have guitars with varying neck shapes. I've used it on all of my main guitars and I'm pleased with the results, this includes a Strat, a Les Paul, a Martin OM and a Parlor. I've also tested it on a super strat with thinner neck and it works just as well.
While this design makes it easier to clamp and de-clamp, you still have to make minor adjustments as you move the capo further up or down the neck. While adjusting the screw is not significantly time consuming, it will not be fast enough for those who need to move the capo instantly while performing songs. But it is still a good capo for using a Capo Chart and learning the different positions. Note that it requires a bit more effort to clamp this capo on a headstock, and I don't recommend leaving it on for long, because the exposed metal parts may damage the headstock.
Balanced pressure on the Strings
Another important advantage that this mechanism has is even pressure application on the strings, in a way that does not pull the string sideways. This is a common problem I encounter when using trigger style capos - because pressure is not evenly applied on the strings, some of the strings are pulled or bent out of position. Although side to side movement may seem subtle on trigger style capos, it still negatively impacts tuning and intonation. With the Shubb C1's mechanism, this has become a non-issue.
Speaking of issues, the Shubb C1N has fewer rubber contact points compared to other capos. As such, there are more exposed solid parts that could accidentally hit my guitar. In line with this, the width of the rubber material that clamps on the frets is quite narrow, I was actually concerned that it wouldn't fit the wider neck of my Martin OM acoustic. But it actually did fit fine, it seems Shubb put the exact amount of rubber to make the capo work, nothing more and nothing less. While it does work with all of my guitars, it will not be wide enough for 12-string and classical guitars. Another minor qualm I have is that the rubber parts have a somewhat sticky feel, which makes it a dust magnet. I had to wipe the rubber sleeve a couple of times to get it clean enough for the photos.
Company and Capo Model
Shubb is a company well known for quality capos that cover steel string, nylon string guitars, and banjos. The C1N is part of Shubb's "Model 1" line, which fits with the most common steel string guitar neck shapes and sizes. It has the same build and adjustable mechanism as the Shubb C1, the main difference being its brushed "Nickel" finish.
Premium Build Quality and Compact Size
There's no question about its build quality, everything about it looks and feels solid, including the hinges. The Shubb C1N's brushed nickel finish looks nice with all of my guitars. With so many hinges and parts, I was impressed at how it retains a compact size, considerably smaller than all of the trigger style capos I've used. It's also lighter, making it easier to store in gig bags and pockets.
All in all, the Shubb C1 gets my thumbs up. I highly recommend it, especially for those who have sensitive ears and want a capo that doesn't cause intonation issues.
- Clamping Mechanism: Screw and Roller (proprietary design)
- Materials: Nickel-plated Brass, Proprietary rubber foam padding
- Tension Adjustment: Screw
- Suitable for: 6-string Acoustic and Electric guitars
- No spring-loaded instant clamping
- Fewer rubber contacts
- Adjustable clamp tension
- Balanced pressure on strings
- Premium build quality and feel
- Compact size