Using a Guitar Capo & How it Works

The guitar can be both an easy and a difficult instrument, and it all depends on your strategy in adjusting the key, the chords used, and positioning of your left hand. As we know, the guitar can offer chords that use open strings and chords that are intended to use barring, and it is common knowledge to beginner guitarists that barred chords can be quite a pain to handle! So in this article, we will talk about the various ways how a capo can help you ease some of the problems in guitar playing! Let’s begin!


A capo is an auxiliary hardware clamped and fastened across all the strings of a fretted stringed instrument to raise their tuning by a chosen amount.


One common use of capo is aiding to help in key transposition, which usually is used by guitarists who also sing. Let’s say that a certain song is in the key of C, but the singer’s vocal range doesn’t fit it, the guitarist can easily pull out a capo and find a certain fret that will match the singer’s range.


As  barred chords have made guitarists’ practice painful, there is this innate will in us to find another way to play the same chord but at the same time avoiding the bar. Using capo is one of the best options to solve this difficulty!

Let us say that you are playing a song in the key of D sharp and that the progression goes like this: D# – A# – G# – A#. In this instance, it is highly impractical to play all these chords barred, so we use a capo! Clip it on the first fret and subtract a half step from all the chords. You will end up playing D – A – G – A with capo on 1st fret instead of doing all the barred chords!

If you have seen artists who use capos in their live performances and even in recording their tracks, it is because there is a high chance they have already considered the 2 factors stated above. If you know how to maximize the use of your capo, then you are opening a handful of possibilities in your guitar playing. Be it for transposing or avoiding barred chords, it will always be handy to bring a capo with you along with your guitar.


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