Guitarists use a capo to raise the pitch of an instrument but still play familiar chord shapes and fingerings. But what if you don't want all the strings to change pitch or want a different starting point for each string? You could get on the waiting list for Ben Ryan's CapoSonic, or get busy on your fingerboard installing some Fretlocks.
Company co-founder Jonny West says that he came up with the idea of a single string capo when he found himself needing some extra fingers while learning to play a difficult piece of music. A few designs and prototypes followed and a London-based company was born to "open up a new world of playing impossible music" and bring the Fretlocks to market.
NEW ATLAS NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
Upgrade to a Plus subscription today, and read the site without ads.
It's just US$19 a year.UPGRADE NOW
The Fretlocks come in three string gauge sizes. Each is installed by moving a string out of the way slightly and placing the Fretlock on the fingerboard at the desired position. The string to be capoed then needs to be locked between the upper blades of the Fretlock using the supplied rocker and then pushed down so that the adhesive on the underside of the lock holds it firm. And that's about it.
The first limited run of Fretlocks were made available last week, and almost immediately sold out. Another production run is now underway, with shipping estimated for December. A box of six Fretlocks and a positioning rocker is priced at £15 (about US$23), while a Composer Pack of 12 will set you back £25.
As you can see from the video below, these little hand-crafted pewter string locks will likely find a good home in the gig bags of creative musicians looking to stretch their repertoire without stretching their fingers beyond breaking point, but should also prove useful for guitarists cursed with small hands. However, if it's microtonal adjustments over the whole neck that you're after, have a look at Tolgahan Çogulu's incredible Adjustable Microtonal Guitar.