About dobro capo's

If you play the dobro you occasionally have to switch between the open G-tuning and lets say the A-tuning. Some players don't have problems switching tunings at all, but a lot of players use a capo to do the trick.
In many cases a typical Beard-capo is used (see picture of the proto I made for a friend of mine).

Prototype of Beard capo

You can tell a lot of good things about this type of capo : it is rigid, it is build upon just a few parts, it doesn't cost much and it always does the job in a very reliable way.
But, when you have to install the capo onto the strings to my opinion a few severe
problems show up. Unless you are a magician you need both hands of which the left one is already holding your steelbar and your right hand is armed with fingerpicks.
The second problem is that initially the capo is never perpendicular to the strings, so you always have to correct this.

There are much more capo types available, but maybe you like the WPStrings concept, that eliminates the disadvantages mentioned above.
This capo features :
- quick one hand operation (steelbar can be held in right hand for the moment)
- the capo goes directly over the strings
- always perpendicular to the strings
- the cylindrical form permits easy storage in your pocket when not in use

However, principally the capo is stringspacing dependent and should therefore be custom designed and produced. Fortunately, this appears to be the strictly theoretical approach.
The spacings on my dobro are 8,5 mm at the nut and 11,0 mm at the saddles (this is the typical value for a standard tailpiece like I have) and I do not have intonationproblems even up to the 10th fret. (Do you really want to go further ?)
If your dobro string spacing differs significantly from these values please contact me to let me investigate the possibilities.

Prototype WPStrings capo for dobro.

WPStrings capo installed

5-String banjo capo

Another accessory that keeps me puzzling is the 5th string capo on 5-string banjo's.
There is the popular Shubb capo consisting of a slide bar and a movable tension adjustable lever, that presses the 5th string down behind the desired fret.
Although the concept is quite the same, I made my own version that only consists of 3 parts : the slide bar, the lever and a thumbscrew. The lever can be fixed in any offset position, so no buzzing or rattling occurs and the force on the string is adjustable too.
So, finally nothing new, only more simpel.
Actually, I dislike this concept because is it often colliding with your thumb when sliding your lefthand along the neck. Therefore my next banjo will not have such a capo again.

5th String capo in offset position

5th String capo in action

Strap adapter plate

This is not one of the most spectacular projects, but it did eliminate a problem.
The problem was, that it was not possible to attach a strap to the heel of a guitar because the total weight of 6 heavy Schaller machineheads caused the centre of gravity to be beyond the heel further up the neck.
So the strap had to be attached somewhere around the peghead.
I like ridgid solutions, so for me a piece of rope was out of the question and I also absolutely hate to drill damaging holes anywhere in a good instrument unless it is strictly necessary. The picture below shows a good solution and an undamaged guitar.

No holes, no rope, but ridgid to the bone

Added: 25-04-2005 17:20

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