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Shubb

 
 
The Shubb Capo company began in California in 1974, when Dave Coontz and Rick Shubb collaborated to design and produce a fifth string capo for banjo. Before that, Rick worked as a professional 5-string banjo player and teacher, and Dave was an auto mechanic and a banjo student of his. One night at a lesson, Rick was talking about his dissatisfaction with existing methods of capoing the fifth string. Rick described an idea that he had for a fifth string capo that operated on a lever principle, so that it would provide sufficient pressure for a good tone, and ranted about how he couldn't get anyone in the music products trade interested in making one. Finally, Dave said "if nobody else will make you one, I will."
 
The following week he came to his lesson with a fifth string capo true to Rick's description and drawings. It was roughly hewn out of aluminium, and didn't look like much... but it worked well. Rick used it on a gig that week, and had some ideas for improvements.
 
For the next few months Rick would go to Dave's auto shop in Concord two or three nights a week. He'd arrive at 7 PM (closing time), eat at the local Denny's, then work until midnight making improvements on their fifth string capo.
Rick Would test-drive it at gigs, and return with more ideas for improvements.
 

Eventually they wer satisfied with it. It did the job onstage, and that was all they had set out to accomplish. But requests from other players prompted them to make a few more. Their course was charted the day they bought a small, second-hand milling machine and set about making a hundred units.

Rick spent the summer of '74 in the South, making the festival circuit and showing and selling their new fifth string capo. It was very well received, but he returned home with most of those hundred still in a shoe box. For the first few years the capo business was a hobby for both Dave and Rick, and didn't really show signs of becoming much more than that.

Around 1975 Dave moved from California to Iowa in search of elbow room. About that same time, Rick moved to Oregon in search of something or other. For the sake of continuity, we kept the address for the capo sales the same; that of my mother's house in Oakland.

So for awhile, Dave machined fifth string capo parts and farmed in Iowa, Rick assembled fifth string capos and played in a bluegrass band in Portland, and good ol' Mom stayed home and shipped fifth string capos from Oakland.

In 1976 Rick made a trip back to Iowa with the intention of designing a new guitar capo. They tried a few things, but weren't really getting anywhere. Rick suggested to Dave that they should tackle another project: a compensated banjo bridge. At that time, banjos all had straight bridges which produced intonation problems on the lower strings in the higher positions. We quickly arrived at the proper scale length for each string — the principle was already well known on other instruments — and then spent nearly three months experimenting with materials, shapes, and measurements to provide the best tone.

Now having two products on the market increased their sense of commitment to being in business, and they resumed their efforts toward designing a new type of guitar capo. Still working in their spare time, the new capo evolved slowly. Some of their early prototypes were not too bad, others might have made a better mousetrap than a capo. But then one day, practically out of nowhere, they nailed it.

By this time Rick was living in California again, and putting together a new band which was to feature mostly his own tunes. It would have been a good band. But the moment he snapped his newest prototype capo onto a guitar neck, his fate was sealed. The band was pushed into the background, where it faded and dissolved, and their energy was focused on developing and marketing this new capo.

The world, as they say, beat a path to their door. Dave's farming, like Rick's band, moved to the back burner as they tooled up to meet the demand for the new Shubb capo. He created a full scale, dedicated machine shop, becoming an expert machinist in the process. Music for Rick, while no less of a passion, was no longer a profession as he now had to learn to be a business man. Whether he ever made this transition is open to debate.

Since that time their dedication to the music products business has never faltered. For a few years Dave maintained a herd of about a hundred Angus cattle, and Rick has been able to keep his touch on the old five string and even play a gig or two now and then, but they both know what puts the bread on their tables: a thirty-four year (and counting) partnership based on a handshake, and a chemistry that starts the creative sparks flying whenever they get together.

In 2000 Dave moved from Iowa to Missouri, expanding thier production facility in the process. Today the Shubb Company's three facilities total about 20,000 square feet, and employ about twenty-nine people full time. They exhibit at most of the major trade shows, which they always look forward to, since some of their best friends are in the music business. It is a business and a life which they enjoy very much.

Whatever new directions the Shubb Company might take, you can be sure that one thing will remain unchanged: their absolute dedication to the needs of the musician.

All Shubb Products

Shubb 5th String Banjo Capo

Model:
52FS
Name:
Shubb 5th String Banjo Capo

Shubb AXYS Reversible Guitar Slide

Model:
52AX
Name:
Shubb AXYS Reversible Guitar Slide

Shubb Deluxe Capo - Stainless Steel

Model:
52S1
Name:
Deluxe Shubb Capo - Stainless Steel

Shubb Guitar Steel

Model:
52GS1
Name:
Shubb Shubb Guitar Steel

Shubb Lite Capo

Model:
52L1
Name:
Shubb Lite Capo for Steel String Guitar.

Shubb Original Capo - Black Chrome

Model:
52C1K
Name:
Shubb Original Capo - Black Chrome

Shubb Original Capo - Brass

Model:
52C1B
Name:
Shubb Original Capo - Brass

Shubb Original Capo - Nickel

Model:
52C1
Name:
Shubb Original Capo, Nickel

Shubb Partial Capo

Model:
52C7B
Name:
Shubb Partial Capo

Shubb Robert Randolph, Guitar Steel

Model:
52RR1
Name:
Shubb Robert Randolph, Guitar Steel

Shubb Standard Capo - Brushed Nickel

Model:
52C1N
Name:
Shubb Original Capo - Brushed Nickel Finish

Shubb Talon Guitar Stand

Model:
52TAL1
Name:
A convenient and compact guitar stand.

Shubb TG1 Shubb Transposing Guide

Model:
52TG1
Name:
Shubb TG1 Shubb Transposing Guide

Shubb W1 String Winder with Bridge Pin Extractor

Model:
52W1
Name:
Shubb W1 String Winder with Bridge Pin Extractor

Shubb-Pearse Steel

Model:
52SP1
Name:
Shubb-Pearse Steel
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