Harvey Reid
notes by Rick Shubb

The first NAMM (music trade) show I ever attended was at Chicago's McCormick Place, in 1980. I was not exhibiting — that would begin the following Winter in Anaheim — but just attending, to find out what it was all about.

Exhibiting at the show was another startup capo company, the Third Hand Capo, and manning the booth were two wild and crazy young guys: Jeff Hickey and Harvey Reid. My partner Dave and I hung out with these two guitar zanies for most of the week, learning the ropes of the trade show experience together.

Even today the concept of partial capoing is seen as rather experimental. In 1980 it was virtually unknown. Yet when I met Harvey Reid, he already had dozens of arrangements for various configurations of partial capoing, and was getting some great sounds that were all his own. That same year he published a groundbreaking book on the subject. Maybe some people had used partial capos before him, but he's the one who took it from novelty to art. His contribution to partial capoing cannot possibly be overstated.

In the years since then Harvey has built a legacy of recorded music, including over 100 tracks that utilize partial capo, and continued to develop and refine the art of playing with a partial capo. I've seen him at just about every NAMM show.

By the time our own Shubb capo had become established, I noticed that Harvey was using it — not only as a standard capo, but he had modified some to work as partial capos. Harvey explained to me that a certain configuration of partial capo had emerged as the favorite, and urged me to manufacture a version of the Shubb capo that would cover just the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings. Soon I began seeing other players with similarly customized Shubb capos, inspired by Harvey. Eventually I responded to his peristent suggestion, and in 1995 the Shubb partial capo was born.




So is there a problem with the co-founder of the Third Hand Capo Co. endorsing Shubb Capos? Harvey Reid doesn't think so, nor did the late Jeff Hickey, nor do I. They are very different tools. The Third Hand is the only capo that will selectively cover any combination of the six guitar strings. For that task it has no rival. But Harvey has always been quick to point out that for any given combination of strings, a dedicated capo that does only that combination is a superior device. And that is the Shubb. Ultimately it's all about creating better music, and that is what matters to Harvey Reid.

Update, 2011:
Harvey has just published a book called Capo Voodoo. It is the "missing manual" for the partial capo. For years people have been asking us for instructional material on partial capoing. We have always advised them to simply put it on and experiment, and we still do, but now at last there is help from The Man himself.


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