What Makes You Not Use a Guitar Capo?

Never again pass up an opportunity to jam with other musicians or accompany a singer on guitar just because you don’t know the chords to a certain key.

A capo is what? Your guitar capo which means “head of the fretboard” in Italian, is a tool that shortens the strings. It’s comparable to having a magic finger that enables you to bar a fret wherever you desire. Typically, you clamp down a strip of rubber on your guitar at the fret of your choice. Consider putting a capo on your guitar’s second fret. Each string’s pitch is raised by one entire step as a result. The same result is obtained by changing your guitar’s tune from EADGBE to F#BEAC#F#.

An elastic strap is used to secure a rubber roller, which serves as the most basic capo, to your guitar. However, there are various ways to clamp the rubber piece, such as with springs, cams, and thumbscrews. The capo is mocked by some guitarists as being only for cheaters. Yes, you can cheat with it. With a capo, you can use the same chords to perform in any key without having to learn different chord structures if you only know the three or four fundamental chords to play in a certain key.

But even skilled guitarists might gain from using a capo. Here are six reasons why you should always use a capo, no matter how skilled you are.

Support a Singer

If you sing or perform with a singer, a capo comes in useful. You might be familiar with a song in its usual “sheet music” key. However, you might sing it or play the piano for someone who can’t sing it in that key. No issue, experiment with a few capo positions until you discover a guitar key that complements the voice range.

With Other Musicians, a Jam

Think about attending your first bluegrass jam. When the jam session leader requests an A-key tune, you want to join in. Sadly, you’re not familiar with those chords. However, you’re skilled with G chords. You also have a capo. Your G chords (G, C, and D) will change into A chords when you place the capo at the second fret (A, D and E). There is no need to pass this opportunity up; join the jam.

Play Chords That Necessitate Long Stretches

Some songs on the solo guitar call for extended periods of fretting hand motion. Capo a few frets higher if you can’t handle those stretches. That will cut the stretch in half. You don’t need to remove that song from your repertoire.

Additionally, it’s a great technique to increase stretchability. Capo up a few frets until you find a position where the chord stretch is comfortable for you if it is too difficult for you to play in an open position (at the guitar’s nut). Get familiar with the chord changes at that point. Then, for a more difficult stretch, move the capo back one fret. Repeat. You’ll develop flexibility through time and eventually be able to stretch in the open posture.

Imaginative Expression

If you simply like the sound of your guitar, you might want to capo it. By using a capo to shorten the strings, you can improve the song’s brightness and string tension. Albert Collins is a master of the blues. He frequently uses a capo up the neck of his guitar. Not because he feels the need to deceive. He only does it to express himself artistically.

Using a Wide Variety of Guitars to Jam

At a jam, it’s not unusual to see four or five guitarists. With everyone positioned at one end of the neck, things might get rather messy. To add some life, use capos. Simple tunes in simple keys are excellent for this. However, it will introduce fresh, higher chord voicings, forcing lead musicians to reconsider some of their go-to lines.

Activate Simple Picking Patterns

Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel is a timeless illustration of a talented guitarist employing a capo. Paul Simon uses A minor chord voicings to play this E minor tune while capping his guitar at the seventh fret. This makes it possible to chose in a manner that would not be possible in A minor.

Other Special-Case Applications for a Capo

Vintage Guitars

Some vintage guitars, especially 12-string models, are only able to handle the stress of the strings when tuned to pitch. A higher tuning could harm the guitar. The answer is to utilise a capo.

An Extra Hand

The capo can be used as a mechanical third hand if you need to fret a string while setting up your guitar or making other adjustments.