Online Guitar Lessons

Using a guitar capo
by Shawn Bradshaw

capo picture
capo picture
capo picture
capo picture

A capo is a clamp that you can use on different frets of the guitar to change the pitch of the open strings. Each fret on the guitar is a half step, therefore if you put a capo on the 1st fret, all of the open strings will sound a half step higher that normal. This makes changing the key of a song very easy.

For example, if you have a song in the key of G with the chords G, C, and D, you could change the song into the key of A without having to relearn it. You would just put a capo on the 2nd fret, and play the chord shapes G, C, and D. These chord shapes will now sound a whole step higher. They will sound like the chords A, D and E.

When learning more about using a capo, there are 2 basic ideas to understand. Chord shape, and chord sound.

No matter what fret you have the capo on, when you play a G chord shape, in your mind you will always think of it as a G chord. This is a G chord shape. If you were to capo the guitar at the 2nd fret and play a G chord shape, then the chord sound would be that of an A chord.

This is the main idea of using a capo. You are using familiar, maybe even easier chord shapes to get the chord sound of less familiar, more difficult chords. If you have a Bb chord in a song, you could put the capo at the 1st fret, and play an A chord shape. But you will get a Bb chord sound.

Page 2, Putting the capo on the guitar


Using a guitar capo jump zone

Guitar capo basics
Putting the capo on your guitar
Understanding the basics of notes
The "Guitar Keys"

Capo transposition chart
Transposition chart examples
Arranging a song for 2 or more guitars
Buy a capo

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