Thalia Capo Review - 200 Series

Thalia Capo Review – The 200 Series

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Thalia capo wrapup

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2017

Buying capos can be a pain.

Unless you can try the thing on your guitar(s) first it’s a real crap-shoot. I can’t tell you how many capos I’ve had to return over the years because it looked promising, but ultimately knocked my strings out of tune or let some strings buzz. Some capos actually did both. I own 3 different capos because no single one works well on all my guitars.

Capo manufacturers are in a tough spot, and I sympathize. With all the different guitar necks out there, they’re forced to build a radius (curvature) into their capos that’s “one size fits most.” This radius is usually somewhere around the 12″ mark, and the result is a capo that works well for some guitars, but not others.

Then, there’s Thalia…

The Thalia 200 Capo

The Thalia capo company has taken a unique approach to tackling these challenges. Realizing that “one-size-fits-most” just isn’t good enough, they’ve created a capo that accepts interchangeable fret pads, which allows you to essentially customize the capo to work perfectly on any guitar, including 12-string guitars.

Every Thalia capo includes two full sets of rubber fret pads: standard-tension and high-tension. Each set includes 7 fret pads, each with a different radius (curvature): 0″ (for Classical), 7.25″. 9.5″, 10″, 12″, 15″ & 16″. The high-tension set is actually 2mm taller–for ukuleles, banjos or guitars with thinner neck profiles.

It comes with a number of other little goodies as well, which you’ll see below.

Unboxing the Thalia Capo

Note that in some of the photos you may see a “Partial Rubber” fretpad tuning kit as well as a package of “Engineered Exotic Wood Picks.” These are not included with Thalia capos–they’re extra items that I bought separately.

When it comes to packaging I think Thalia took some cues from Apple. Even the shipping box is nicely branded inside:

Once you open the box, you’re greeted by a boatload of goodies:

Thalia Capo and Accessories

Believe it or not, all this came out of that little Thalia box

The Thalia comes with a Quick Start Guide. I didn’t need to read it (and I didn’t) before using the capo, changing fretpads, etc. It was all pretty self-explanatory to me. I actually enjoyed just thumbing through the booklet after I’d already been using the capo for awhile.

A Closer Look at the Thalia Capo

My Thalia is the chrome and rosewood version, which is one of the more understated styles available. Regardless, it’s still a gorgeous capo, and if you want something different or fancier, you’ve got MANY styles and custom options available to choose from.

Changing the Thalia’s fretpad is easy. Simply pop it out as shown here. Once it’s out, snap the new one in by doing this same procedure in reverse:

Changing the Thalia fretpad

The Thalia’s interchangeable fretpads are easy to snap in and out

The Thalia comes with two full sets of fretpads. One set contains 7 “normal tension” fretpads and the other set contains 7 “high tension” fretpads. Each fretpad has the fretboard radius stamped on the back. Simply choose the radius that matches your guitar’s fretboard:

Thalia fretpad radius

The radius of each fretpad is clearly stamped on the back

Note: On some rare occasions, using the fret pad that exactly matches the radius of your fretboard doesn’t work well. For example, if your guitar has a 12″ fretboard radius and when you use the 12″ fret pad, the notes don’t fret cleanly. In that case, using a 10″ or a 14″ fret pad instead will usually fix the issue.

Size Comparison

Size-wise, the Thalia is definitely a larger, beefier capo.

Thalia capo size comparison

Size comparison of the Thalia vs. 2 of my other capos

The Thalia Capo In-Use

The Test Guitars

For this review, the Thalia was tested on the following guitars (only the Breedlove is shown in photos):

  • Breedlove Custom C25/SR acoustic, 16″ fretboard radius, 10 – 50 gauge strings
  • Fender Kingman ASCE acoustic, 12″ fretboard radius, 13 – 56 gauge strings
  • Alvarez Yairi Classical, 0″ fretboard radius, normal tension nylon strings
  • Ibanez RG1527RB 7-string electric, 17″ fretboard radius, 9 – 52 gauge strings
  • Ibanez SR305e 5-string electric bass, 12″ fretboard radius, 45 – 130 gauge strings

As the opportunity comes up, I’ll try the Thalia capo on more guitars and update this review accordingly.

To operate the Thalia, simply squeeze the spring-loaded thumb lever and the capo opens. Release pressure on the thumb lever and the Thalia automatically closes. About 15 – 18 pounds of pressure is needed to open the lever, so you’ll need average-or-better hand strength. The spring tension is firm, so if you have very weak hands or arthritis, you may have trouble using the Thalia:

The Thalia's thumb lever

Squeeze and release the Thalia’s thumb lever to operate

The Thalia capo can be clamped on the neck from above or below–it’s really up to your personal preference. I prefer to have the Thalia clamped on over the top of the neck, but you may prefer the other way. Do whichever feels most natural to you:

Clamping the Thalia on from the top

My preferred placement: over the top

Clamping the Thalia on from the bottom

Many people seem to prefer clamping the Thalia underneath, which is perfectly fine

Now, you may be thinking, “That capo looks big. Isn’t it heavy?” Sure, the Thalia by itself has a bit of heft to it, but it’s not heavy on your guitar. In other words, it doesn’t have any effect on the guitar’s balance nor can you tell that it’s on there.

Thalia capo stored on the nut

When not in use, you can clamp the Thalia on your guitar’s nut without affecting the tuning

One last thing worth noting: Unlike other capos, the Thalia is more forgiving of bad placement. This is because you’re able to choose the fretpad that matches your fretboard radius. So, if it’s a bit crooked and/or placed in the middle of the fret, your guitar will still be in-tune and buzz-free.

So, How Did it Perform?

Effectiveness Effectiveness earns 5 Stars

The Thalia capo is, hands-down, the most effective capo I’ve ever used. It’s hard to imagine the Thalia capo not working on any standard acoustic or electric guitar, banjo, or ukulele. The ability to customize the Thalia’s curvature (and thickness) with one of the 14 included fretpads makes it nearly impossible for this capo to fail. Hell, in an effort to find some kind of fault I tried it on my 5-string bass. It still worked perfectly up to about the 7th fret. After that the bass’ neck became too wide.

I had zero issues with the Thalia squeezing my notes sharp. It can happen, but in those rare cases you simply shift the capo a bit and the issue disappears.

Ease of Use Ease of use earns 4 Stars

The Thalia capo is very straightforward and easy to use. It’s more forgiving of bad placement, due to the fact that you can customize the fratpad to exactly match your guitar’s fretboard radius and neck thickness. This means you can have it slightly crooked or placed somewhere in the middle of the fret without any issues.

The capo can be clamped from the top (over the neck) or the bottom (under the neck). It’s up to you and your personal preference. I personally prefer having it clamped from the top.

If you have average or better hand strength, you’ll have no issues using this capo. However, the amount of pressure needed to squeeze open the lever may be too much for some people. This is why I’ve deducted 1 star here. My hand visibly shakes a bit whenever I have to squeeze the lever, and my girlfriend was unable to squeeze it at all unless she used two hands. It’s not unreasonable, but those with arthritis or otherwise weak hands (I have both) may struggle a bit.

Price Price earns 3 Stars

Only 3 stars here because, let’s be honest, the Thalia capo isn’t cheap. As far as I can tell, it’s the most expensive capo available, but the value is there–especially if you own many different guitars. The Thalia is built like a tank with gorgeous, quality materials. You can be pretty confident that it’ll work flawlessly on all your guitars (and other stringed instruments). Lastly, it carries a lifetime warranty.

Let’s face it: some people just can’t justify the cost of a Thalia, and that’s okay. It’s not for everyone. However, for those who use a capo a lot and want one that’s basically guaranteed to work on everything, the Thalia is a worthwhile purchase.

Speed Speed earns 4.5 stars

The Thalia can be quickly clamped in place, then moved just as quickly. So, when it comes to speed the Thalia is just as “fast” as trigger-style capos. If you’re a guitarist who changes keys a lot, you’ll love it.

Safety Safety earns 4.5 Stars

Unless you do something stupid, the Thalia is as safe as any other capo. I deducted half a star here simply because the rubber pad on the back of the lever is fairly firm. With normal usage and common sense, you have nothing to worry about and your guitar will be absolutely fine. However, be a doofus and leave the Thalia clamped in the same spot for several weeks, and you may have some dents (this is my opinion only–not tested nor confirmed). This is true of just about any capo you leave clamped on your guitar for excessively long periods. So, don’t do that.

What Others Are Saying

Here’s what a couple other guitarists think of the Thalia capo:

Recap: What I Liked

  • Lifetime warranty on workmanship and all mechanical components, including the spring, lever, and housing.
  • The 14 interchangeable fretpads make this capo nearly fail-proof. Choose the fretpad that best matches your guitar’s fretboard radius and neck thickness, and you should have zero issues.
  • Thalia capos are built like a tank with premium, top-quality materials.
  • 26 different standard inlay options, with additional customization possible (for an added charge) including laser etching.

Recap: What I Did’t Like

  • The strength required to operate the lever can be too much for weak or arthritic hands. My hand visibly shakes when I squeeze it, and my girlfriend was unable to squeeze the lever at all, unless she used two hands.

Conclusion

Objectively, I couldn’t find many flaws with the Thalia 200 Series capo. It’s the only capo you can buy, sight-unseen, that’s pretty much guaranteed to work on all of your guitars (or banjo or ukulele). I only wish I’d found it years ago, before I blew a bunch of money investing in different capos for all my different guitars.

If you’re hung up on the the premium price tag, well, I’m probably not going to be able to change your mind. Without actually trying a Thalia yourself, you probably won’t be able to bring yourself to drop that kind of money on one.

I’d love to lend you mine to try out, but this is one capo I’m never letting go.

Question:

Do you use a capo and, if so, which one(s)? I’d love to know, so let me know in the “Leave a Reply” section down below.

20 replies
  1. Robert Weil
    Robert Weil says:

    They are indeed beautiful. But they are entirely oversized. Almost to the point of looking out of proportion to the instrument. I suspect that the size has more to do with showing off the wood, or jewels, etc., on the top of the capo, and little or nothing to do with the function of a capo.

    So I’ll stay with my tried and trusted D’Addario Planet Waves Artist Capo for performing and my Shubb for recording.

    Reply
    • Guitar Answer Guy
      Guitar Answer Guy says:

      Hi Robert. I’d reserve judgement until you’ve actually used one. Unfortunately, Thalia capo’s aren’t common at music stores, which makes that a little hard for people to try them out (which is unfortunate).

      As an actual Thalia owner, I can say that I’ve not had any issues with the size. They look bigger than some other capos, but size has been a non-issue for me. In fact, I think it’s fairly streamlined–similar in design to the G7th. Many people worry about the weight, but as I point out in the article, that too was a non-issue… even on my lighter electric guitars.

      And after all is said and done, if you have a capo (or two) that’s working well for you, no reason not to stick with it.

      Reply
  2. Russ
    Russ says:

    Thalia capos are truly beautiful. It’s where art and function meet.

    However, with my experience, it doesn’t work well on my Martin 12 string (D12-20 1969 build).

    It doesn’t have the necessary compression to effectively push down on all 12 strings.

    OTH, it works perfectly on my 6 string Tayloy dreadnaught.

    Reply
    • Guitar Answer Guy
      Guitar Answer Guy says:

      Hey Russ, this is great feedback, thank you. This is odd to hear, because I tested the Thalia on my 5-string bass, and it had adequate compression. It worked well up to a certain fret, after which point the neck just became too thick and wide for the capo to fit over.

      Have you experimented with the different radiuses? It might actually do better with a radius pad that’s slightly different (flatter or rounder) than the actual radius of your Martin’s fretboard. I know that doesn’t seem to make sense, but DO experiment, if you haven’t already. Try a fret pad that’s on either side of the correct radius. So, if your Martin has a 12″ fretboard radius, try the 10″ as well as 14″ fret pads.

      I may send an email to Thalia and see if they have any comment on this. Their website definitely states that the Thalia is suitable for 12-string guitars.

      Reply
      • Russ
        Russ says:

        Thnaks Bobby for offering to contact Thalia for me. Actualy, I e-mailed today and await an answer. I thought about trying the other inserts. I’ll give them a try. Is it possible that older 12 strings like my 1969 are a different animal than the guitars that are produced today? Maybe saying one has a 12 string is too generic a term?

        This is going to be an adventure to find the right capo for me! Adventures are fun!

        Reply
  3. Dan Hall
    Dan Hall says:

    Thanks for the review and comments. I loved mine at first, but have had some issues and wanted to share and hopefully get a problem answered. Agree with the grip strength con. It’s tough when you have hand issues. The extra width is also very noticeable, both when resting on nut and when positioned too close to the fret. Causes more care up front or shifting on the fly. However, the biggest issue I’ve found is the opposite side rubber insert (goes against the back of the neck). It pops out very easily and I’ve almost lost it a few times. It kind of snaps back in but doesn’t stay. Only thing I can think of is to glue it. Any other ideas?

    Reply
    • Guitar Answer Guy
      Guitar Answer Guy says:

      Hi Dan. That pad shouldn’t be coming loose. The Thalía Capo is covered under a full lifetime warranty (against manufacturing defects, at least), so I would contact the company and see if they’ll send you a replacement capo.

      Reply
  4. Steve
    Steve says:

    Doesn’t displace G7th Nashville (spring capo) as my favorite for Celtic backup in DADGAD. This involves shifting the capo fast and often, so Thalia’s hefty squeeze is an issue. Thalia recommends the extra-thick 16″ pad for my Lowden guitar, but I find the standard one works fine and moderates the squeeze. The 15″ pad works even better, seeming to account for the taper from #1 string to #6 string as well as the fretboard radius. Nobody else seems bothered by the width, thickness, bulk and overhang of this capo; my fretting hand is always knocking it out of position when I play close to it. My G7th Nashville capo has just the right pressure, is fast, and stays out of my way. I’ve learned to live with its slightly “off” radius. If it had the right radius, it would be perfect. It’s still my favorite.

    Reply
  5. Mark
    Mark says:

    I’m not seeing any reviews (anywhere) about a Thalia going on an electric 12 string which is almost impossible to put a capo on. The thinner/lighter strings notoriously get squeezed out of tune. Any experience with an electric 12?

    Reply
    • Guitar Answer Guy
      Guitar Answer Guy says:

      Mark, check out my 3rd paragraph in this review:

      “The Thalia capo company has taken a unique approach to tackling these challenges. Realizing “that one-size-fits-most” just isn’t good enough, they’ve created a capo that accepts interchangeable fret pads, which allows you to essentially customize the capo to work perfectly on any guitar, including 12-string guitars.”

      Now, I’m not basing that on actual testing (I don’t have, nor do I have access to a 12-string), but Thalia states that the capo also works great on 12-string guitars: https://www.thaliacapos.com/pages/12-string-guitars

      Also, I’ve seen comments on various guitar forums and whatnot from happy 12-string players using the Thalia. What makes the Thalia unique (and the reason it tends to not squeeze notes sharp), is the fact that you can customize the curve to exactly match your fretboard. That’s one of the keys to not squeezing notes sharp. Other capos can’t do this, because they don’t have interchangeable fret pads like the Thalia.

      Reply
  6. Mark Doebrich
    Mark Doebrich says:

    I bought two Thalia capos at Christmas time as a gift to myself. What a great move! Whether it’s on a Gibson LP, Fender Tele, Martin DM or a Walden 12 string acoustic, easy placement and NO sharp # notes due to pulling strings. They look great too.

    Reply
  7. Luke
    Luke says:

    Great review. Excellent pictures.
    After reading that review I want to go out and buy one!

    Is there any way to access the spring to lighten up the poundage?

    Reply
  8. Kes
    Kes says:

    Very informative review, I have some difficulty with my capo on my acoustic, and I find myself having to stop and adjust it fairly often. I have a simple metal clamp design which begins to struggle around the 7th or 8th fret. As I have tendonitis in both hands and wrists, it can be difficult to hold my capo open, so I’m not sure that the Thalia capo would work for me. Definitely one that I’ll telling my guitar tutor about though!

    Reply

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