For more than twenty years I have been writing and playing guitar music with a partial capo. It’s always been the Kyser full six-string capo, just commandeered for my 4/6 capoing purposes. I’ll put the capo on strings 3-6, leaving the high E and B strings open—nice and ringy! It’s a great way to approximate an alternate tuning without having to majorly re-tune the strings.
The approach has generally worked well, even though that’s not the intent of the six-string capo. Still, I’ve long wondered how one of Kyser’s actual partial capos would work. One of their partial capos is the Short-Cut. I recently reached out to Kyser and they were kind enough to send me a black Short-Cut capo to review.
This is one of the funnest products I’ve gotten to review, and I’m a big fan of the Short-Cut.
The immediate effect is that you can approximate DADGAD tuning with a simple putting on of the capo.
But there’s actually a new world of sonics and chord voicing opened up with this little guy, too.
I want to show you some pictures and say a few more things, but first, the best I can do to describe the capo is to offer you this snippet, with the Kyser (full) capo on the second fret and the Short-Cut on the fourth.
Any time you put a capo (of any kind) on, you’ll have to tweak the strings a bit to make sure they’re in tune. This is especially (but expectedly) true of the Short-Cut capo, since it pulls up (toward the player, that is) just a bit on the third string, making it a touch sharper than it would otherwise be. This is easy enough to adjust, of course. It just means that the Short-Cut capo does not allow you to actually avoid re-tuning altogether. Not a surprise, and not really a strike against it.
(UPDATE: The Kyser team tells me you can adjust the tension on the capo.)
I’ve had my store-bought Kyser capo for ages, and it’s held up really well, so I expect the Short-Cut will, too.
I’m still having fun with the novelty of capoing three and not four strings. though I would love it if Kyser made a 4/6 partial capo. There still is not (that I’m aware of) a good capo on the market that covers the third, fourth, fifth, and six strings only—a tuning I’ve written and recorded a number of songs in. The Short-Cut covers just the third, fourth, and fifth strings.
But the great benefit to the Short-Cut over adapting the six-string capo is that it doesn’t look like it’s about to snap off at any moment. It’s totally secure.
Here’s what it looks like:
And with both capos on:
The Short-Cut is a great product, well-made, and will bring a new level of energy and creativity to anyone’s guitar playing.
One last thing—the folks at Kyser included in my package one of the cleverest and (I hope they don’t mind my saying) adorable lapel pins I’ve ever seen:
You can get the Short-Cut capo at Amazon, probably, but Kyser is a family-run business, so if you’re going to get it, you can support their good work by ordering directly here.
2 thoughts on “In Which I (Finally!) Play Guitar with Kyser’s Partial Capo”
I had no idea this existed. I don’t think I’ve ever capoed fewer than 5 strings at a time, so it hasn’t come up.
Also: “Nice & Ringy” is my favorite album from your “instrumental odyssey” phase.
I miss that instrumental odyssey phase and may be heading back into one. But mostly just because lyrics are hard.