Guitar capos clip onto the neck and fretboard of your guitar and are designed to press the strings down. They help you dampen strings, quickly changing the tuning of your guitar.

However, because they attach to the neck of your guitar and apply a good deal of tension, you might be worried about damage.

So, can a capo damage my guitar? The simple answer to this question is yes, guitar capos can damage your guitar; this is true for the frets, the strings, the neck, and the fretboard.

So, let’s discuss what a guitar capo will do to your guitar and if there are any types of guitar capos that are not as damaging as others.

Can a Capo Damage My Guitar?

We want to look at what a guitar capo might do to the guitar frets, strings, the neck of the guitar, and the fretboard.

Can a Capo Damage the Guitar Frets?

Many people will not use a guitar capo. After all, they do not want to damage their frets because they are expensive to replace. When you use a guitar capo, it lowers the action on a guitar, which means that the strings are closer to the frets.

In many cases, the frets may touch the strings, and if there is a lot of contact between the strings and the frets, the frets will wear down quickly, and it can also cause dents in them.

Moreover, if you do a lot of string bending while playing the guitar with a guitar capo, it’ll quickly wear down the frets. Moreover, if you leave a guitar capo on a guitar for too long, the tension may cause the frets to warp or dent over time.

Can a Capo Damage the Guitar Strings?

Something else to consider is the guitar strings. Too much tension on the guitar strings can damage them over time, especially if they are over-tightened.

Capos usually won’t produce the degree of tension that will cause the guitar strings to snap. However, it will cause them to weaken over time; eventually, they will snap easier than they otherwise would if you were not using a guitar capo. So the bottom line is that guitar capos aren’t that good for guitars.

Can a Capo Damage My Guitar

Can a Capo Damage the Guitar Neck?

People also worry whether a guitar capo will damage the neck of the guitar. Now, guitar capos are usually designed with soft padding on the rear arm, which should protect the neck from dents and scratches.

However, capos may cause the finish (sealant or lacquer) to wear down quicker than it otherwise would. So you might notice that the spot where you often have your guitar capo is a bit duller and more worn down than the rest of the guitar neck.

Can a Capo Damage the Fretboard?

Like a guitar capo can damage guitar frets, they may also damage the fretboard. Having a guitar capo that is too tight on your fretboard may cause it to scratch, dent, or even warp over time.

As you can see, guitar capos can damage your guitar, especially if you have it too tight or if you are not using the right one.

The Two Main Capo Types: Which is Better?

There are two guitar capo types: the variable tension and the spring-loaded or trigger capos.

This spring-loaded capo is the most common because it’s been around for a long time. They’re also easy to use.

However, the problem with spring-loaded capos is that the tension cannot be adjusted. This means that they can easily be too loose or tight on your guitar. If they’re too loose, your strings may buzz but won’t cause damage.

However, if the guitar capo is too tight, it can cause the frets, strings, and other components to wear down and become damaged. Therefore, you should use a variable tension guitar capo because you can adjust the tension to that point where it is correct.

How to Prevent Capos from Damaging Your Guitar

Let’s go over a few tips on preventing damage to your guitar when using a guitar capo.

  • Learn to strum correctly, i.e., not strumming too hard or aggressively. Using a guitar capo with aggressive strumming will cause the guitar frets and other components to wear down quickly.
  • Always take the capo off of the guitar after use. Leaving it on will wear down the frets closest to the capo over time, even if you aren’t playing.
  • Always use a guitar capo with adjustable tension. You can adjust it to the point where it’s tight enough to produce the desired effect, yet not so tight that it will damage your guitar.


The bottom line is that guitar capos may damage your guitar. However, if you use the right one and follow the above tips, you should be able to avoid this issue for the most part.

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