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DIY: Homemade Capo Tutorial in 4 Easy Steps [Video]

July 13, 2023

DIY: Homemade Capo Tutorial in 4 Easy Steps [Video]

If you want to learn how to make your very own homemade capo from scratch, keep reading. In this article, we’ll share four simple steps to put together a DIY capo on the fly – with just two materials!

When you’re jamming with friends and there’s a new vocalist in the mix, you might find yourself having to play in unfamiliar keys. If you left your trusty capo at home, no problem! Follow this easy guide and you’ll learn how to make a capo in no time.

What Can I Use Instead of Capo?

No capo? No problem! In this post, we’re going to tell you how to make homemade capo for guitar, but here are a few pointers for when you’re in a pinch:

  • A pencil can be used as a makeshift capo
  • A rubber band or hair tie can also temporarily raise the pitch of the strings
  • Alternate guitar chords can be used instead of capo chords
  • Transposing the song to a different key can avoid the need for a capo

If you’re still stuck trying to figure out how to make homemade capo options work for you, you might want to talk to your guitar teacher. They’ll be able to help you identify alternatives to a capo and find songs to practice that don’t require them in the first place!

Check out this video for even more information on how to make a capo (and the benefits of signing up for guitar lessons): 

DIY Homemade Capo Tutorial

You can solve the key-change conundrum with relative ease if you know how to make a capo on the fly. Essentially, you need a rigid strip of material that can be clamped onto the neck of your guitar.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  1. A pencil or sharpie
  2. 2-4 rubber bands (medium thickness)

Yes, you only need two simple materials for this homemade capo. If you can’t find rubber bands, a good alternative is a hair band.

Now that you have all you need, here are the steps for how to make a capo.

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Steps to Make a DIY Capo

  1. Make sure your guitar is in tune.
  2. Place the pencil or marker upon the desired fret.
  3. Fold the rubber band in half and loop it over both ends of the pencil.
  4. Add more bands as needed to achieve the desired tension. Check this by plucking each string and listening for a clear tone.

That’s it! This is such an easy way to put together a homemade capo on the fly, with materials that are readily available. Need to see the process demonstrated visually? Watch the steps in the quick video below:

5 Reasons Every Guitarist Needs a Capo

Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a capo, in case you weren’t already convinced that you need one.

  • A capo creates a moveable nut or barre. For example, if you place the capo on the second fret, you’ve moved all the chords up one step (a C is now a D).
  • It allows you to play chord shapes that you’re already familiar with, but in a different key. So with a capo, a bit of transposing savvy, and a handful of chords, you can play some previously hard to reach tunes.
  • Using a capo allows you to explore different chord voicings, or inversions, which can make a chord sound brighter or darker, and add interest to picking.
  • It is helpful for changing tunes to a more comfortable range, or key, for vocals.
  • A capo adds depth when playing with other guitarists. Some can play open chords while others place capos at different locations, which creates a broader sonic range and textural interest.

How Do You Make a Capo Without Rubberbands?

So what do you do if you don’t have a capo or rubber bands to make one?  Don’t worry – you still have options!

Homemade Capo Option 1: Pen Cap

The first method we’ll show you is using a pen cap to create a capo. Simply remove the clip from a pen and slide the cap onto the desired fret. Place the capo as close to the fret as possible and make sure it is secure. The cap should apply enough pressure on the strings to create a clear sound without causing any damage.

Homemade Capo Option 2: Pencil and Elastic

Another method is using a pencil and elastic band to create a capo. Take a pencil and wrap a thick elastic band around it until it is tight. Slide the pencil under the strings on the fret you want to capo. Place the elastic band over the top of the fretboard, and wrap it around the back of the neck. This will create enough tension on the strings to produce a clear sound.

Homemade Capo Option 3: Legos

If you have Legos laying around, you can use them to make a capo. Take two long Lego pieces and connect them with a double-sided Lego, creating a U-shape. Place the U-shape around the strings, and slide it up to the desired fret. Make sure the Lego pieces are securely connected, and you should hear a clear sound when strumming.

Homemade Capo Option 4: Rubber Ball

If you have a rubber ball, you can use it to make a capo. Simply cut a small section out of the ball and slide it under the strings on the desired fret. The rubber ball provides enough tension to produce a clear sound. Make sure the ball is secure and doesn’t move around, or it may cause the strings to buzz.

How Do You Make a Capo With a Shoelace?

You read that right – you can also make a capo with a shoelace! Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Find a Shoelace

The first step in making a shoelace capo is to find a shoelace! It can be any length or thickness, as long as it can wrap around your guitar’s neck and tie securely. If you don’t have any shoelaces lying around, you can purchase one from any shoe store or dollar store.

Step 2: Tie a Knot 

Next, tie a knot at the end of your shoelace to create a loop. The size of the loop will depend on the thickness of your guitar neck, so be sure to measure before tying. Make sure the knot is tight and secure, as this will be the part of the shoelace that holds your strings down.

Step 3: Place the Shoelace Capo 

Now comes the fun part! Place the shoelace capo on your guitar’s neck, just like you would with a regular capo. Make sure the knot is positioned behind the fret you want to capo. Then, simply tighten the shoelace by pulling on the loose end, until the strings are held down tightly against the fretboard.

Step 4: Experiment! 

Congratulations, you’ve made a handmade shoelace capo! Now it’s time to experiment and see what new sounds you can create. Play around with different chords and melodies, or try out some songs that you couldn’t play before. Using a shoelace capo can help you discover new techniques and styles that you might not have considered before

Make Your First Homemade Guitar Capo Today!

Now you know some of the benefits of using a guitar capo, so even if you’re only slightly familiar with this tool, you can begin exploring its capabilities.

You’ve also learned how to make a capo very quickly and easily if you wish to try out these concepts without spending any money.

While practicing your skills, be sure to look into private guitar lessons or online guitar classes to help you achieve your musical goals, as personal feedback is a very important part of the learning process. Have fun with your DIY capo, and rock on!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches guitar, drums, piano and more in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She’s been teaching since 2010 and has her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University. Learn more about Tracy here!
Jessica Dais is a blogger for TakeLessons on topics related to music education and language learning. She has a Bachelor's in Journalism and started writing professionally in 2008. Jessica enjoys writing about the piano, guitar, and singing. She is currently learning Spanish but is interested in the French language and culture as well.

Jessica Dais