Playing Guitar with a Capo

capoIf you are still in the beginner stages of learning to play guitar, you might have some difficulty playing some tricky chords. Or you might have some issues getting your fingers around chords at the end of the guitar neck. If you know those feelings, then you might want to consider playing with a capo.

What’s a Capo?

A capo is clamp with hard rubber on it that acts as the movable ‘nut’ (that small plastic piece that connects your fretboard with the guitar’s headstock) on your guitar. It’s an essential, inexpensive tool for a guitar player to get more sounds from the guitar.

A player will open up the capo clamp, and place it down on the strings at a chosen spot, near the fret. What a capo essentially does is move the nut of the guitar, and allow you to play guitar in different keys. It brings the sound of the guitar higher to the ear.

When you move the capo up the neck, you are in effect making the guitar strings shorter, and with that comes a higher brighter sound. For each fret that you bring the capo higher up the neck, you’re increasing the pitch a half step on the musical scale.

Three Key Steps

The essential things you need to keep in mind about playing guitar with a capo are:

  • Clamp the capo close to the fret. If there’s any buzzing on the strings, adjust the position of the capo.
  • Place the capo tightly on the strings, so the strings all ring crystal clear when you play them.
  • Your chords to your songs will likely change

Some songs are difficult chord structures for beginner guitarists, using unfamiliar chords near the end of the neck. But by using a capo on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd fret, the chord structure will change to enable easier more common chords to play. For instance, when you put a capo on the 3rd fret, the chords you play will all move up three half steps. So your G becomes a B-flat, your E will become a G, a C chord will become and Eb chord and so on. This chart below will show you how the chord changes with capo movement.

Chart from here

Capo Chart

Have a listen to songs you stream or download. Some songs have two guitars playing similar chords, but one will have a higher ringing sound to it. That’s likely to playing a chord with a capo on the guitar.

Taking guitar lessons in Scottsdale at Scottsdale Music Academy has never been easier! You’ll learn from established pros how to pick, strum or sweep the strings, and even play with a capo. All the right instincts for learning to play guitar are here at Scottsdale Music Academy. Our guitar teachers will show you the right way to learn guitar. Call us at 602-751-3537 today for your FREE first lesson!


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