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Why Use a Capo?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by stratelespaul, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. stratelespaul

    stratelespaul Strat-Talker

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    I'm 56 years old and have been playing since I was 16 and for the life of me I've never understood why proficient players would need to use a capo.

    I mean can't you just play the chord/note at the desired higher position for the desired sound?

    I've never used one so I guess I'm ignorant regarding its true purpose.

    I used to hear it called a cheater bar.

    Can someone please enlighten me?

    Best to all.
     

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  2. montemerrick

    montemerrick t minus 30 and holding Strat-Talk Supporter

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    if you play in a style with a lot of open ringing notes, like singer songwriter style tends to be, the capo extends your range.... also great for open tunings.
     
  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Alternating low and high notes, this technique

     
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  4. stratelespaul

    stratelespaul Strat-Talker

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    I hear you montemerrick but isn't that where your/my index finger comes into play when using barre chords?
     
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  5. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    You aint gonna play songs like "landslide" or "here comes the sun" or "free falling" or "Norwiegian wood" without 1...at least I can't
     
  6. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Open notes.
     
  7. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    Also, if you tune down and your friends stop by to jam, you can put a capo on to bring yours into standard tuning quickly.
     
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  8. jball85

    jball85 Strat-O-Master

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    Cheater bar? Sure. I used one for some Renaissance classical guitar pieces in College. I think you'll find that they change the timbre of acoustic guitars for the better as opposed to just chording with fingers which can be quite inconsistent. Think of it like tuning your guitar to g sharp/ a flat major (open tunings) without adding the extra tension to your guitar's neck.

    Capo's are cheap try it out, you'd be surprised how your approach to making or finding riffs changes, it will open doors for your own creativeness.

    That's the best I can explain it.
     
  9. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Let's Boogie Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Tons of song tabs online do it to avoid playing anything but the standard open chords.
     
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  10. Jimgchord

    Jimgchord Strat-O-Master

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    Changes the timbre.
     
  11. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    Gatemouth Brown used one a lot. You can see him using open string fingering in this video. Obviously he didn't have to do it that way, but it was his style.

     
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  12. stratelespaul

    stratelespaul Strat-Talker

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    OK,
    Gonna give one a try and experiment...
    I'm getting the feeling it's gonna be like re learning the whole neck again.
    Never got into open or alternate tunings, not even a half step down like so many use.
    Always been in standard tuning.
     
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  13. misterwogan

    misterwogan Senior Stratmaster

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    One thing a Capo is not - it is not a lazy way of avoiding barre-chords. What it does is to move your nut up the fretboard so that the notes on the open strings do what they would do without the capo - but in a different key.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  14. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Strat-Talker

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    Super fast drop-E tuning....
    Capo 2nd fret on all strings except the low E string. Retuned to drop E in 1 second flat!

    Use a second capo 2 frets behind the first to get drop-any-key you want.
     
  15. Kerry Brown

    Kerry Brown Strat-O-Master

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  16. RaySachs

    RaySachs Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I almost never use it on electric for the reason you note. But I use it on acoustic all the time. When I'm just playing and singing a song on an acoustic, I mostly play open chords with just a few barre chords thrown in. Not because I can't play barre chords (although they're tougher on acoustic than electric with their flatter fretboards, heavier strings, and somewhat higher action) but because I like the sound of an open chord ringing out. So I have to find a key that I can both sing and play the song in and, quite frequently, that involves finding a key with easily playable open chords and capo-ing up between one and three frets to get to the key I can sing it in.

    The only time I recall using one on electric was when I first learned Midnight Rambler, which sounds awesome played with a capo on the 7th fret. But I mostly play that song on acoustic now and don't need a capo to play it with the same E, A, and D I was getting with the capo on electric.

    -Ray
     
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  17. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    Not a new fret board at all. I still think of it as moving the nut & keep things relative to that....of course ... I rode the little bus too
     
  18. nigelr

    nigelr Senior Stratmaster

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    I use a capo because I am lazy and only want to learn a song once. For example in one acoustic duo we play honky tonk woman in the key of G, and in another we play it in A (capo on 2 and same chord shapes).
     
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  19. WireLine

    WireLine Strat-Talker

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    Chord structure is often as important as the key. Capo can accommodate that. Certain licks making heavy use of open strings are impossible without a capo...and often times 2 guitarists playing the same chords can sound absolutely HUGE when played in much different chordal positions.
     
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  20. AncientAx

    AncientAx Still hacking .... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Keef ......
     
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