Capps was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on May 25, 1939 and raised in Benson, North Carolina, where he played local clubs with a band called the Tar Heels.
Capps' run as one of Nashville's best guitar pickers began in 1958 when he joined iconic sibling duo the Louvin Brothers.
In 1967, he began a run as a Grand Ole Opry house musician that lasted until his death.
Capps also had a lengthy career as a respected and sought-after session guitarist, as honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame's 2015 exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats. His credits as a guest guitar player read like the track listing of a genre-defining compilation: Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," George Strait's "Amarillo By Morning," Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Barbara Mandrell's "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," Reba McEntire's "How Blue," Ronnie Milsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain," Alan Jackson's "Here in the Real World" and the Oak Ridge Boy's "Elvira."
"We lost a dear friend last night ... legendary guitarist Jimmy Capps went home," read a tweet by the Oak Ridge Boys. "This is another loss that is so hard to process ... The heavenly choir has gained one of the finest players to ever play, and quite frankly one of the finest men to ever live."
We lost a dear friend last night ... legendary guitarist Jimmy Capps went home ... this is another loss that is so hard to process ... the heavenly choir has gained one of the finest players to ever play ... and quite frankly one of the finest men to ever live #JIMMYCAPPS pic.twitter.com/OHkWvuZGpB
— The Oak Ridge Boys (@oakridgeboys) June 2, 2020
Capps also got producer credits for albums by Charlie Louvin, Jan Howard and Jim & Jesse.
In more recent years, Capps appeared frequently on RFD-TV's popular TV show Larry's Country Diner as well as Country's Family Reunion.
"The mark he left on our lives and in the music industry will always be cherished," read a Tweet by bluegrass duo Darin and Brooke Aldridge. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michele, their family and the collective Opry family during this difficult time. Thank you for being an inspiration!!! RIP Jimmy Capps!!!"
Capps' autobiography The Man in Back was published in 2018. He was a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.