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Old 01-23-2019, 10:52 PM
drathbun drathbun is offline
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Default New G7th Performance 3 Capo with ART - Pre-release Review and Unboxing

G7th Performance 3 Capo with ART Technology

I am pleased and honoured that Simon Campling of G7th Capos in Peterborough, England asked me to evaluate a pre-release of their new Performance 3 capo with ART technology. He sent me the capo by FedEx just before he and Nick Campling, the founder and designer of the G7th capos, jetted off to California to attend the Winter NAMM show which is being held in Anaheim at the Anaheim Marriott Center January 24 – 26, 2019. I just received the capo and will be putting it through its paces and well as shooting a YouTube video of the unboxing and my capo experiments on a variety of guitars.

I have owned four G7th capos; the original Performance capo, the Performance 2 capo, the Newport capo and the Heritage capo. Since owning the original Performance capo, I have been impressed by this company's design, engineering and quality of construction. I own and have owned many other brands and models of a capo from the ubiquitous Kyser to Shubb, Paige, Dunlop, PlanetWaves and Thalia.*

Some Background

I thought it might be useful to give a little background and history of G7th capos. You can find a terrific article on the development of the clutch in the Performance series of capos at this link:

History of the G7th Clutch

Nick Campling of Peterborough, England, founded G7th capos in 2004. At some point, after that, he contacted Reell Precision Manufacturing of St. Paul Minnesota about a clutch mechanism that would do what he wanted in a capo. “His primary requirement was that the new capo be easy to position, remain firmly in place, and be easy to remove. It should be easy to operate by simply squeezing with the same force as playing a bar chord. And it should look good.” Reell produced a “clutch mechanism consists of three main elements: a fixed hub, a moving hub, and a spring whose diameter is slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the two hubs.” This is how the first Performance capo was created.*



Nick's company won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise and the founders were invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen. In 2014, the Performance 2 capo won Player's Choice Award for capos in Acoustic Guitar, the third win in a row for G7th.*
G7th Company on Wikipedia

The Performance 3 uses the same, time-tested, clutch mechanism but adds Nick's new innovation, the cam-based technology G7th calls ART (adaptive radius technology).

Evaluation Criteria

In my evaluation of this new capo, I decided I had many to be answered that I wanted to be answered and have distilled those questions down to four basic criteria.



1. Is It Easy To Use?

This question encompasses how easy the capo is to apply to the neck, remove from the neck, move from fret to fret quickly and easily and whether it can be stored on the guitar during a performance.

2. Is It Affordable?

How much does the capo cost in comparison to other capos that might do the same job? Is it good value for the money? This question includes consideration of the capo's durability, warranty and available replacement parts in case of long-term wear.

3. Does It Work?

Does the capo do what a capo is supposed to do and how well? Will it fret ALL the strings on ALL my guitars from my nylon to my 12 string and will it work all the way up and down all of those necks? This also includes how the capo sounds. Does it change the tone of my guitar?

4. Is It Pretty? Is the capo a work of art or an eyesore?

The Unboxing

The capo is sold in a resealable, two-part flip-top package that is made for a retail store hanging display. The back of the package has a diagram detailing the Adaptive Radius Technology system employed on the Performance 3. The package has a sticker which says “Free Lifetime Warranty” I will discuss G7th warranty in my conclusions as well. If you wish to have a more secure method of transporting your Performance 3 capo, you can purchase a zippered protector case from the G7th webstore for $9.95 US.

G7th Protector Shell Case

I'm Easy

Is the Performance 3 easy to use? I knew the answer to this question before I unboxed the capo. Just looking at this capo alongside my Performance 2 capo tells me it is the same capo except for the addition of the ART system. Using the P3 is exactly like using the P2. And since I've been using my P2 for years, I can say it is very easy to use. You place the capo on the neck and squeeze it to your desired tension with one hand either over or under the neck. To release, just squeeze with the trigger release between thumb and forefinger and move the capo for storage behind the nut or on the headstock of the guitar with another one-handed squeeze. It doesn't get simpler than this.*

I should note that the P3 is NOT exactly the same size, shape or weight as the P2. Upon closer inspection, the P3 is 10 grams heavier (60g to 50g) and the top arm is slightly wider than the P2. I would assume this has to do with accommodating the new ART mechanism. The extra weight and size is negligible and I only noticed by measuring the weight and dimensions.

I'm Not Cheap!

Is the P3 affordable? Of course, affordability is subjective to your own personal situation and needs. Can you get a cheaper capo that fulfils your needs? If you have one guitar and the radius of that guitar matches a Shubb Deluxe capo, I would certainly recommend you buy the Shubb for around $17.00 US. However, if you have guitars with fretboards that have multiple radiuses, at $54.95, the P3 will be the only capo you need.*

Let's also consider value for money. The P3 is extremely well designed and manufactured. If the capo ever fails over its lifetime, G7th will replace it free. This isn't new with the P3. This lifetime warranty has applied to G7th capos since their inception. I number of years ago, my Newport capo developed a problem where the spring that changes the tension seemed to lose its strength. G7th replaced it immediately. I think the new one was in my mailbox within three days.

Let us consider durability and wear. In constant use over the years, rubber pads that interact with steel strings are going to wear and develop indentations. G7th has replacement pads available in their webstore for the Performance original, the P2, Newport and Heritage capos. I would assume, once the P3 is officially released, they will make replacement pads for the P3 available as well.*

The G7th Performance 3 Performance

How does the P3 perform? I have put the P3 through its paces on the following guitars:

[ul]
[li]Martin 00028vs – 12 fret guitar with a wide fretboard (16” radius)[/li]
[li]Taylor 356ce 12 string – my Gibson Hummingbird 12 string is in the shop getting a new nut so I borrowed a 12 string for this test (15” radius)[/li]
[li]Gibson SJ200 Golden Age – this is my go-to daily-play six string guitar (12” radius)[/li]
[li]Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster – (9.5” radius)[/li]
[li]Godin Multiac Nylon – nylon string electric/acoustic classical (16” radius)[/li]
[/ul]

I am looking for the following specific behaviours and specifics with the capo's performance on these instruments:

1. Frets all strings evenly regardless of gauge of string with minimal pressure (especially on the 12 string).
2. Does not pull the strings out of tune.
3. Works all the way up the neck.
4. Works on narrow fretboards AND wide fretboards.
5. Does not hamper the tone of the instrument.
6. It is easy to use on all guitars and can be stored behind the nut or on the headstock (watch for the ability to clamp behind the nut on the Martin 00028vs as this guitar has a volute).
7. Check for the possibility of the capo damaging the finish on the guitar.
8. Is it comfortable when playing? Does it hamper my fretting hand at all?

Continued below...
__________________

18 Taylor GS Mini-e Walnut
14 Godin Multiac Classical
12 Martin 000-28vs
12 Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
12 Gibson SJ200 Golden Age
10 Gretsch G5122DC
09 Taylor GA3-12e
04 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
81 Rickenbacker 320JG
68 Yamaha FG150 Red Label

My Soundclick Music Page
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2019, 10:59 PM
drathbun drathbun is offline
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Default

Martin 00028vs

I am recording video of my tests with each guitar for a YouTube to accompany this article. Upon completion of each guitar test, I'm writing my impressions before moving on to the next guitar.

The P3 behaves very nicely in all the positions I usually use on my Martin 12 fretter. I had a yoke style capo that I tried to move up past the fifth fret and because it was too narrow to handle the width of the 00028vs, the unprotected metal arms of the capo scraped against the edge of the fretboard and left a slight gouge in the nitro lacquer. I have since polished the small chip out with 0000 steel wool and micromesh but I am now very conscious and vigilant about using capos on any of my guitars. The P3 is well protected in all places where it comes into contact with the guitar while in use or stored clamped to the headstock.

The P3 does clamp very securely to the headstock and I was unable to shake it loose. However, some people like to store the capo behind the nut when not in use. The 00028vs has a volute on the back of the neck which prevents this in the normal way. I was able to angle it and clamp it in that location but that brought the unprotected metal part of the clutch in contact with the wood of the guitar. I will NOT be storing it there!*

I should note at this point, it is never a good idea to store a capo on the guitar either engaged with the frets or stored on the headstock or behind the nut for any length of time. When you are done with the guitar, disengage the capo (any capo) and put it away. I don't think you will have problems with guitars finished in polyester but nitrocellulose lacquered guitars are very susceptible to damage from materials in contact with the finished surface.*

Applying the P3 to the guitar is extremely simple and easy. Squeeze the trigger and top of the capo to open it, place it on the guitar and squeeze it closed – all with one hand. Apply only as much pressure as is required to fret all of the strings. It is fast and easy. Working up the neck from fret two, three, five and seven, I found the strings ring out without buzzing in all positions and with minimal pressure. This resulted in the guitar being in tune all the way up the neck. I did not go past fret seven on the 00028vs because, being a 12 fret guitar, it is impossible (for me anyway) to play any further. The fretboard on the Martin has a radius of 16” which is standard on all Martins as far as I can tell.

The guitar rang true and clear in each position. The Performance 2 capo behaves exactly the same way with the exception that some strings tend to bend sharp and retuning is required. I expect the P3's superior performance is solely due to the ART system where the tension is distributed evenly across all strings.

Gibson SJ200 Golden Age

The Gibson SJ200 has a 12” radius. The P3 stored both behind the nut and on the SJ200's headstock securely. I'm finding I prefer the behind the nut position for storage as it is easier and quicker. This position does not detune the guitar. Applying the capo in fret positions 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 was easy and quick. There were minor changes in pitch on the outside strings when at 7 and 9. However, I'm finding that I need to train myself to NOT squeeze the capo harder than is necessary to fret the strings. My “muscle memory” tells me to squeeze harder up the neck as that is what is required for other capos. I am training myself to just place the capo lightly and then strum the strings once. If there is a buzz, I will apply a little more pressure while still strumming the strings until the buzz goes away.

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

I don't remember EVER needing to use a capo on my electrics. I know some rhythm players do in order to change key to compensate for a singer's vocal range for example. Regardless, putting the P3 on the Strat, with its 9” radius worked like a charm. The Strat has a much lower action and much lighter strings so an extremely delicate touch was required when fretting up the neck. There was a small degree of re-tuning necessary but nothing more than a few cents.

I should make a note at this point about compound radius guitars. If you have a guitar with a compound radius, any single radius capo is going to be challenged moving up and down the neck as the radius changes. With the P3 ART system, the capo will automatically adapt to the radius of the fretboard at that fret on the guitar.*

Godin Multiac Nylon

The Godin Multiac has a 16” radius. The fretboard on the guitar is very wide at around 1 7/8”. The P3 is plenty big enough to reach across all the string all the way up the neck. There was minimum detuning and, like the Strat, the P3 required just a very delicate touch when applied.*

Taylor 356ce 12 String

I have to put a caveat on the evaluation of the P3 with the 12 string guitar. G7th never indicated this capo would successfully fret a 12 string guitar. In fact, they have two other models of capo that they advertise will properly fret a 12 string; the Newport 12 String and the Heritage 12 string models. I own the Heritage 12 string compensated model capo and it is the ONLY capo I have had in my hands that I've found will work flawlessly on my 12 string guitar. I have not tried the Newport version but I've read and viewed testimonials from users who claim it works fine as well.

However, I was interested to see how the P3 would perform on the 12 string. Like all of my other capos (Shubb, Kyser, Thalia, G7th Performance 2, PlanetWaves etc) it doesn't function on the 12 string. The smaller gauge string of the octave courses just will not fret. This makes sense of course.

This is where I will speculate a bit. I'm hoping that G7th might introduce a 12 string compensated pad version of the P3 capo with ART. I can easily replace the 12 string pad with a regular pad on my Heritage. It is as easy as pulling it and sticking in the other. I tried to pull on the P3 pad but it seems to be firmly attached to the capo. It might not be possible from an engineering standpoint. I don't know. But it will be interesting to watch and see what might happen.*

Conclusions and Evaluation

Spending a couple of days testing this new capo has been a lot of fun. Thanks so very much to Simon Campling for providing me with this terrific new technology. At the beginning of this article I mentioned I had four simple criteria for evaluating this capo;

1. Is it easy to use?
2. Is it affordable?
3. Does it work well?
4. Is it attractive?

I knew the answer to the first question before opening the package. The P3 is based on the very successful P2 which is one of the easiest capos to use I've ever owned. One-handed operation is simple, quick and intuitive. The only thing that has a bit of a learning curve is training yourself not to squeeze too much. With the ART technology, a little squeeze is all you need.

At $54.95 US the P3 is not among the cheapest capos out there nor is it the most expensive. I bought a Heritage capo last year for $149.00 US; easily the most expensive capo I've ever purchased. So the question of affordability is relative to your needs. If you have only one guitar and use a capo sparingly, a $17 capo like a Shubb or a Kyser might fill your needs. However, if you have multiple guitars and use capos constantly as I do, then this capo might be the only one you will ever need.*

The question of affordability must also include durability, warranty and the availability of spare parts. Things wear out over time. G7th has a webstore where you can purchase replacement parts for many of its capos. I would expect G7th to come out with replacement pads for the P3 as they have for the Heritage, Newport and Performance classic and Performance 2 models. Also, G7th-lifetime warranty is a real thing. I had a tension issue with my Newport capo a few years ago. My email was answered within 24 hours and a replacement capo was in my hands within 48 hours. G7th's customer service is second to none in my opinion.*

Does the P3 do everything it is advertised to do? I think my experiments show that the capo performs as advertised. The ART capo pad DOES work. In my YouTube video, I have cut in Nick Campling's visual explanation of his ART cam innovation. You should watch it. The technology is real and it works.

Is the P3 attractive? Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I've always liked the sleek lines of the Performance capo even when it was much bigger and heavier. With the sleeker lines of the P3 and being available in Statin Black and 18k Gold Plate, you will be hard pressed to find a more attractive capo. Keep in mind I own a gold plated Thalia with a burst finish birds-eye maple inlay which is really beautiful and sitting unused in its display box.

My overall rating for the Performance 3 capo is four and a half stars out of five. I'm holding back a half star waiting to see about a 12 string version and replacement parts for the P3.

Thank you for reading, listening and watching and happy guitar geeking!

My YouTube Video Unboxing and Review:


I can never figure out how this forum posts YouTube. The tags never seem to work!

https://youtu.be/Nt-6VcIuXtM
__________________

18 Taylor GS Mini-e Walnut
14 Godin Multiac Classical
12 Martin 000-28vs
12 Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
12 Gibson SJ200 Golden Age
10 Gretsch G5122DC
09 Taylor GA3-12e
04 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
81 Rickenbacker 320JG
68 Yamaha FG150 Red Label

My Soundclick Music Page
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