Bob Kilgore’s Harmonic Capo

October 24, 2008

The Harmonic Capo looks like an oldschool, elastic band capo but instead of a rubber- covered metal bar to clamp the strings down, it sports six soft, rubber pads. Rather than placing the HC right behind a fret, you need to put it directly over a harmonic node, generally at the 12th fret. You then press each pad down so that it just barely touches the string. Strum the strings and you’ll hear harmonics ringing out.

Here’s where the fun begins. Because the pads are only lightly touching the strings at the 12th fret, you can play on the lower frets. Simply fretting a note behind the Harmonic Capo is enough to pull the string under the pad so the note can sound. Pull it off and it pulls off to a harmonic. It’s incredible—you can combine fretted notes and harmonics in ways that would be flat-out impossible by any other means. Almost like a celestial Nashville tuning, pitches jump out in various octaves for a truly magical sound. With a guitar in DADGAD, I walked around the office and proceeded to blow every editor’s mind. Each of my co-workers was able to play inspiring, otherworldly parts after about a second and a half. Smiles all around.

If that was all that this thing could do, I’d still be a huge fan. But you can also get open notes on any of the strings by pulling its pad up and away from the string. This is truly awesome because, in open-D, I could have a droning low D as well as an open high D, with harmonics on the middle four strings. As I fretted chords and played single-note lines, normal notes mingled and danced with their harmonic sisters in amazing ways. Oh yeah—this was all on an acoustic. Playing an electric with distortion added a whole new set of possibilities.

I can’t say enough good about the Harmonic Capo. You could base a tune on these sounds or double a part that was played conventionally and create the coolest overdub ever. When you see this device, it’s so elegantly simple you’ll wish you’d thought of it yourself. When you hear it, you’ll wish you had one years ago.
KUDOS Brilliant idea. Makes the impossible possible. Incredibly addictive.
CONCERNS Won’t work on 12-string or classical guitars.
CONTACT Weaseltrap Records;

The old joke about getting a guitar player to turn down by putting a chart in front of him could be due to the fact that charts can be pretty difficult to read in dim light. That’s why the Duet2 ($39 retail/$24 street) is a real lifesaver for those times when you have to follow the map to get through “Around Midnight” or some other chord-infested classic. Clipped onto the top of your music stand, the Duet’s twin gooseneck mounted LED heads can be exactly positioned to illuminate two pages of sheet music. You can also adjust the lighting intensity on each head via independent switches that select one or two LED operation. The highly flexible goosenecks coil tightly for stashing in a gig bag or guitar case, and the unit is powered by three AAA batteries or the included AC adapter. A companion product is the Pedal Board Light ($34 retail/street price N/A), which features one head with white LEDs and another head with red LEDs to provide subtle illumination of your stompboxes on a dark stage.
KUDOS Compact. Very bright. Flexible heads let you put light where it’s needed.
CONCERNS Alligator-style clip should be padded on both contact points.
CONTACT Mighty Bright, (800) 922-3233;

The silver studio pro ($69 street) offers superior signal conductivity via its dual electro- plated-silver copper conductors, and excellent immunity to RFI and EMI noise thanks to a braided copper shield in which the individual strands are electro-plated with 99.9 percent pure silver. The 12-foot cable we tested also has an audiophile-grade low-loss polypropylene insulator and a tough, braided outer jacket for durability and coiling ease. The rugged Amphenol connectors sport goldplated brass plugs, and the joints are silversoldered for extra strength. Accusound reportedly uses a proprietary winding process to control electromagnetic fields and phase distortion, and the capacitance is “tuned” to obtain a flat frequency response. Whatever is going on, the Silver Studio Pro is a sweet sounding cable that’s crisp and well balanced from top to bottom. We’ve used it quite a lot lately in our gear tests and found it lends a richness to overdriven tones and a touch of warmth to cleaner sounds, and just has a great sense of presentation that makes everything sound a little more detailed and open. A fine cable for a cool price.
KUDOS Excellent sonic detail. Nicely made.
CONTACT Accusound,(508) 894-0004;

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