TRACE BUNDY’S SOLD-OUT GP PRESENTS SHOW at Slim’s in San Francisco spotlighted
the solo-acoustic marvel’s musical—and
highly entertaining—use of gadgets and
gizmos. The way Bundy applied multiple
capos was particularly imaginative, so we
asked him for some insights.
What brand of capos do you use, and why?
Other capos do secure well, but I use
Kyser capos because you can change them
quickly. The Kyser’s spring will eventually
loosen—which might be an issue for
some—but it works well for me, because
it becomes even easier to move. I prefer a
really low action on my guitar—a custom
McPhearson similar to the MG-4.5—so I
like a lighter clamp.
How did your capo obsession develop?
At first, I would put a capo on, say, the
second fret simply to brighten up the sound
a bit. Then, I filed a big notch out of one
in order to let the thickest string through.
When I placed that at the second fret, and
played a D chord shape, it would render
an E chord with the low E string ringing
out. Kyser now manufactures and markets
such a capo as the Drop D capo because
it allows you to get a sound in the vein of
dropped D tuning—albeit a step up—without
having to detune your guitar.
Similarly, I used to flip a Kyser capo
around so that the back pad became a three-string
capo on the third, fourth, and fifth
strings, while allowing the bottom and top
two strings to ring open. Kyser now manufactures
such a capo as the K-Lever Short-
Cut. Its nickname is the “DADGAD capo”
because in DADGAD, you drop the top two
strings and the bottom string down a whole
step. This capo does the exact opposite if
you place it at the second fret—it raises the
middle three strings up a step. In essence,
you get the DADGAD sound without having
to turn a tuning peg. Multiple capos come
into play when you want to achieve that
sound in a different key. For example, you
could move the DADGAD capo up to the
fourth fret, and then place a full capo at
the second fret.
What other capos do you use?
I customized another capo by routing it
out like the Drop D capo, and then hacking
off the tip to allow the top string to
ring open, as well. It’s essentially a four-string,
double Drop D capo. The highest
and lowest strings ring open. I’ve also got a
silver colored capo that I hacked off with a
hacksaw to create a straightforward, four-string
You used several capos on the fly during
“Love Song.” Can you shed some insight?
“Love Song” is in DADGAD, and I
use three different capos. I put the Drop
D capo at the fifth fret. Next, I place a
full capo at the fourth fret. Finally, I put
the silver, four-string capo on the headstock
easily within reach. I basically use
the capos to help facilitate the descending
and ascending bass line of the song
as I play, remove one, and then position
the next. On the chorus, I also use a capo
a bit as a percussive device. “Love Song”
is more difficult to describe than it is to