Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

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Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby irasmith » Sat May 13, 2017 7:38 pm

I am a fairly new dulcimer player and while still a beginner I am enjoying the journey of learning and exploring just how wonderful the dulcimer can sound. I do enjoy many styles of music on the dulcimer, including many of the traditional to gospel hymns. In my budding collection of tabs some require a capo to be used, which I do have. My question is, can a capo be left on for periods of time like overnight or a weekend or for several days without causing any harm or undue wear and tear on the strings?
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby strumelia » Sat May 13, 2017 8:45 pm

You may get various opinions, but I'd say no harm is done as long as you are not storing it with the capo on for months at a time.
Also be aware that if you keep your dulcimer out, i.e. exposed to normal light... the wood will naturally darken slightly over time... and leaving a capo on for long periods of time in the light would cause a lighter band/strip where the capo was located... where the capo blocked the wood's exposure to light.
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby kwl » Sat May 13, 2017 9:15 pm

I'll chime in here and agree with Strumelia. My only caution with leaving the capo on for extended length of time is the the steel strings might cut in to the capo. If the area that touches the strings is cork, rubber, or plastic, it might develop grooves where the strings have been clamped for an extended period.

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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby irasmith » Sat May 13, 2017 10:31 pm

Thanks for the replies and the great information contained in them.

At least for me at the present time, I was thinking of leaving the capo on for a few days/nights as I practice in the evenings on songs that utilize the capo. Currently I do store my dulcimer in the soft sided case that came with it when not in use, which I figured would help keep it free of dust. I don't know the specific material used on the side of the capo that comes into contact with the strings, I don't believe it to be cork, but I'll have to ask the craftsman that made it what it is made of to know for sure but that is a good point about the strings potentially forming groves where they contact it with prolonged exposure, something I wouldn't have thought about.

I am sure I will have more questions as time goes one, but I am having a lot of fun learning and enjoying the wonderful music the dulcimer makes.
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby irasmith » Tue May 23, 2017 6:52 pm

Just as a follow-up to anyone who reads this thread at some later point in time. I did follow up with the craftsman who made both the capo and dulcimer I have and asked my question. The reply was that it would be best to remove the capo when done with it rather than leaving it on for extended periods of time. The capo in question does use a rubberized material at the contact point with the strings and fingerboard and if left on over extended periods of time the strings will make groves in the rubber material and thus damage the capo or add undue wear and tear on it. I am good with the answer since I do want to take care of my instrument and related accessories for it and enjoy them for a long time to come.
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby strumelia » Wed May 24, 2017 10:23 am

Removing the capo after use is indeed best. Keep in mind that with time, adding and removing it will become quite a simple and quick thing to do, and will no longer be a big deal to you at all. :)
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby jmascis » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:13 am

Capos can eat into soft frets and leave divots in them. It is well known with guitarists and happened to one of mine (cheap guitar luckily).
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Re: Can a capo be left on for a lengthy period of time?

Postby jmascis » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:14 am

Capos can eat into soft frets and leave divots in them. It is well known with guitarists and happened to one of mine (cheap guitar luckily).
Here is an article about fretwear that mentions it: https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/ ... _Fret_Wear

They mention tension adjusted capos as a good option, but I still wouldn't leave it on for long periods of time.
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