Barre vs Capo

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Justinvs, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Justinvs

    Justinvs Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was watching some John Frusciante videos last night - and my jaw is still dropped open from some of the stuff he can pull off - but I did notice quite a bit of his riffs are built around fairly simple chord shapes, open C's and G's for example, but played as movable chords with a barred finger. Some of his stuff would be relatively easy if instead of a barre you used a capo, although given how he jumps around the neck I suppose that wouldn't work either.

    Still, a lot of complex music becomes easy with a capo. And, I do think there is a tonal difference between a capo and a finger serving as the nut, with the capo sounding a little brighter, especially on an acoustic. I've never used one a lot, but I do know players who can't work without one. How about all of you? Do you use a finger barre or a capo?

    Justin
     
  2. bri

    bri Tele-Holic

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    Round here they call those (capos) cheaters. As if there was some kind of shame in using them. Having said that, I've never seen a good lead guitarist(Tele player) use one, but all kinds of singer/strummers use them.
     
  3. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

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    I use both, sometimes in the same song!

    A capo on at fret 1 comes in especially handy when playing "The Letter" in Bb. I barre most of the song, but the chorus can be played much more easily in "open position" chords with the capo acting as the nut, obviously.

    Check out how seamlessly it works here...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcPpHxibKRk&feature=related
     
  4. Triton Thrasher

    Triton Thrasher Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think a capo is so applicable to playing solos/melodies. Isn't it for moving cowboy chords up the neck?
     
  5. bigbandtele

    bigbandtele Tele-Holic

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    If you have to transpose something that is dependent on use of open strings (not necessarily cowboy chords) then a capo can be your friend.

    I don't actually own one at the moment.
     
  6. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I avoided a capo for years, thinking that it was a crutch. As a result, I developed a great sense of chord theory and placement on the fingerboard.

    Then I started writing some songs with a friend of mine for a band we started (this was years ago). That guy was a real vocalist and needed to change the key of songs here and there. I still tried to do it all without a capo, and got pretty good at it, until we needed to record all of our stuff. We worked with a producer that flipped out that I was strumming an acoustic and changing chords in off guitar keys. He made me go buy a capo and a soon realized that it doesn't have to be a crutch, and can actually be a tool.

    So I use a capo for acoustic guitar quite a bit now, especially if I'm playing with another guitarist who is not capoing. Having two different chord voicing makes most songs sound more interesting. I never use a capo on electric guitar at all. I don't say that from some sort of stance of being superior - I just never find a need for it.

    What I do hate to see is guitarist who do use a capo as a crutch, playing every song in "G-C-D-Em" chord shapes, just moving the capo around. It makes every song sound the same. I even know a guy that does that and keeps his ring and pinky fingers in the "Cadd9" position 100% of the time. So he's basically playing G, Cadd9, Dsus4, and Em7... never moving his ring or pinky fingers... AT ALL. Next song is in a different key? He just moves the capo and does those same shapes again. That's not really playing guitar - that's just a craft. Sort of like playing an auto harp.
     
  7. ScatMan

    ScatMan Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Glen W

    Glen W Tele-Afflicted

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    edited to fix vid - worked on the iPad (?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  9. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

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    Capo on acoustic for right key for voice - Open chords sound so much better on a amplified acoustic.

    Electric = Barre chords
     
  10. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    I live in Kentucky and all the bluegrass players do almost exactly that. "What key is that one in?" --slides capo.

    Gets on my last nerve, especially when I get dirty looks for using barre chords, that whole, "that ain't how we do it round here" vibe. Just learn to play the instrument.
     
  11. Fenderfiend

    Fenderfiend Tele-Meister

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    Good... check
    Lead guitarist.... check
    Tele player... check

    Capo.....


    .
     

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  12. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    The reason to use a capo s not because you don't know the chords, but rather to achieve the sound of open strings in a chord voicing up the neck. Anybody who looks down on people for using one probably hasn't developed the ears to hear th difference between the same chords played different ways.
     
  13. mal paso

    mal paso Banned

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    Fenderfiend beat me to Keith Richards..


    I love using a capo, especially on an acoustic. Electric, not so much, but I certainly don't view it as a crutch. I think it really shines when playing with someone who isn't using a capo.


    I've been learning a lot of Stones songs lately, and it comes in pretty handy(for me at least!)
     
  14. Fenderfiend

    Fenderfiend Tele-Meister

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    I bought a capo just to have one, but I constantly work on my E, C and Am chord shapes up and down the neck.

    The E and Am came pretty easy, and now the C is getting easier... except maybe down by fret 12...
     
  15. Jimclarke100

    Jimclarke100 Tele-Afflicted

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    For years I had a capo which just sat in the bottom of the bag taking up space.

    I only really started to use it when I started to play fingerstyle - then suddenly you realise that it is a tool which opens up all kind of voicings and fingerings in all kinds of tunings. Nowadays a capo is permanently fixed to the guitar I'm playing (electric or acoustic) and used regularly - I'd kinda feel lost without it.

    Oh and if you're concerned about "good" players not using them - check out Bert Jansch, John Renbourne and Richard Thompson to name just three who are not exactly slouches...
     
  16. Fenderfiend

    Fenderfiend Tele-Meister

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    To ask the same question with another option:
    Capo vs Barre vs Alt/Drop tuning.

    I know Keef sometimes drop tunes...
    and I know a capo goes the opposite direction from DROP tuning, but...

    I knew a guy that tuned his guitar so that his barre chord was a single finger...
    Sort of an "Fm11" shape barre chord... :D
     

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  17. Cheesehead

    Cheesehead Friend of Leo's

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    I play a lot of Stones and Muddy Waters and a capo is indispensable. It's especially important for open tuning stuff because open strings are essential for a lot of open tuning licks and voicings. Also a lot of Muddy and Stones songs are played in standard and a capo is needed to get the open chord chord voicings. Could you play Midnight Rambler without a capo? I suppose but it doesn't sound as good.

    I hate when I hear people call the capo a "crutch." It's just a tool. It's usually the newbs that call them a crutch and the pros that use them.
     
  18. MrTwang

    MrTwang Friend of Leo's

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    A couple more.
     

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  19. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    No, it doesn't. The chord shapes are the same up and down the neck whether you use a capo or a finger. One is just using a different implement to fret the string.
     
  20. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I'm talking about using a capo and using the same chord shapes everywhere, versus not using capo, and using different chord shapes in different positions.

    If you're using the same chord shapes for every song, just changing keys (with a capo or not) songs all start to sound the same, especially on solo acoustic gigs. That shows very little creativity and makes the songs less interesting, cause you've got the same chord voicing on every song.
     
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