Using a Capo

Guitar Capo

As you probably already know the capo allows you to change keys without having to learn chords and note positions associated with the new key.

For example, if a song is being played in the key of B you can either learn that key, (yuk!) or you can put a capo on fret 4 and play as though you are in the key of G.

But…

One of the main problems is that this confuses your perception of the fretboard. What you understand as an A (fret 5) on the E string starts looking like a G when you put a capo on fret 2.

That may not matter to you, but it can be disorienting to say the least.

The other problem I see is that it is difficult to figure out the best position when you’re playing live with other musicians.

I remember being at a ceilidh in PEI where a guest guitarist/singer was having difficulty playing along with the house band. She obviously was not used to this situation.

I could feel her pain as she struggled to find the appropriate capo position. Finding the right setting would have been a matter of luck, because there are just so many possibilities. It is difficult to know where to begin when the pressure is on.

I think there is a solution that makes the capo a much more useful piece of equipment. I’ll try to explain in my next post.

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