Mike Rowe sent me a pre-production prototype of the Chester Banjo capo.
It’s rather cleverly made from glass-filled nylon. This early version hasn’t had the mould polished, so it has a matte finish. It’s very light, uses a very precise (if a smidge slow) thumbscrew to tighten it, and clamps down in two places on the fretboard.
This two-point contact means that it doesn’t pull the strings so far out of tune as a regular capo. You can shift the Rowe capo about a lot before you need to retune. Being a long neck banjo player, I capo a lot. Any extra weight on the banjo isn’t welcome either.
It works best quite far back from the fret. Some familiarity is required to get just the right tone, else string buzz can be a problem. Tweak down the screw and level the capo, and all should be bright again.
One really neat thing about the Rowe capo is its shape. It allows you to use it very far up the neck, and you can still fit your hand in. Here’s me playing what I think is an F# chord with the banjo capo’d to C# at the 9th (long neck) fret:
Plenty of room for my hand. I rather like the Rowe capo, and many thanks to Mike for letting me try it out.