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To Capo or not to Capo

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by callasabra, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    I am pretty lucky to play with a group of very talented people. I am one of 3 guitarists. I was asked to join the group because I "owned an electric guitar." I resisted this invitation for sometime based solely on how it was asked. Anyway, we play mostly contemporary christian/worship music, which is completely new to me. The original artists of the songs we play use the capo most of the time, and so do the other guitarists. I don't like a capo. I can make most chords 4-5 different ways so I see no need for it. But it is hard to follow another guitarist when they are playing a G chord capo'd at the 4th fret (B chord). But I just realized why they do it. One of the guitarists is the singer and he needs to focus on singing first. The capo allows him to strum familiar chord shapes while he sings. He doesn't need to focus on alternate chord shapes or "knowing the fretboard"; something that was hammered into me as a beginner guitarist. I was asked to join the group to play lead, and once I realized my role and his, I am good with it.

    I am just curious how many other people use a capo and for what reasons? I never saw a capo used when I played jazz/rock/blues/metal, but it is used a lot in bluegrass/country/blues/gospel-worship. And I do distinguish between blues-rock and blues-country.

    So do you use a capo and why?
     
  2. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

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    I use one for the same reason as your singer- it makes playing easier. A capo is a tool, like anything else. I can take it or leave it, but I'm all for whatever makes things easier.
     
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  3. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No. I have in the past because I needed to use the open shapes for a few songs that we had to transpose a step up for a vocalist but other than that I've never needed to use one.
     
  4. troy2003

    troy2003 Friend of Leo's

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    First guitar teacher I had would not allow a capo. Wanted me to lean alternate positions and chord shapes. I agree. However, in a group with multiple guitarists , especially acoustic, it's nice to have different chord voicings.
    For my home playing I rarely use it. Only to match recording on Folsom Prison and a couple others.

    Capos defiantly have a place
     
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  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    No, but if I felt it would help in some way, I would. Nothing against them.
     
  6. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You don't need a capo to play different voicings. In fact in a situation where there are other guitars I'd want to play 3 notes or less maybe.
     
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  7. stinkey

    stinkey Tele-Afflicted

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    I use it often when recording more than one guitar and on open tunings. To sing a song in Eb is easy with the capo in first fret and play in D.
     
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  8. Bellacaster

    Bellacaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it's a great way to add some depth to a song, especially if you have several guitars. Have one guitar playing chords in one position and another playing them in a different position. Seems like it has a lot to do with changing the sound of open strings when chording. I don't do it often, but like to be able to do it and it has sounded great when I've done it.
     
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  9. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been able to avoid using a capo since I started playing guitar in 1986 up until 2015. What happened? I started a Christian praise and worship band. I played that kind of music as a church musician for a few years leading up to when I started that band and used bar chords for everything. But one thing I could not escape is the fact that when you're playing guitar with overdrive on these simple praise and worship songs, open chords simply sound better than bar chords. I used to look at capos as a crutch for people who don't know how to play bar chords, but now I look at them as a valuable tool to achieve an awesome tone.
     
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  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I use it whenever I need an OPEN STRING sound in funny keys.
     
  11. allen082

    allen082 Friend of Leo's

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  12. joy-z

    joy-z TDPRI Member

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    If your singer wants to focus on singing, then why also play guitar? You don't need 3 guitarists.
     
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  13. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I think this issue on this forum is more contentious than a national election. A capo is a tool, use it for what it's worth. You are no more a man for not using a capo or not. In some genres its more prevalent. I played Neil Young's Campaigner last night with a capo. It's very hard to do the riff otherwise. Wagon wheel is in A, but I like the "snap" I get from using a capo on the second fret.

    In a praise music setting, there are a LOT of capo songs. Much of it is Capo 3 with chords like E/G# and 2 changes every measure. Most folks are blowing through the Bb bass note anyway and the easy open chords with a capo lets you focus on the leader while extending (or not) the song you just learned on Tuesday (or not) for Sunday's performance.

    When I play "other guitar" in my band, I might not have a capo on while the singer/rhythm player does. It makes it a little harder to "hand cheat" but I had that problem with bass as well. Think of it as a tool, not a crutch.

    HOWEVER, there will in variably be the guy that plays every song with G D C and moves the capo around. Some people live with crutches.

    This guy below used a capo. In blues for crying out loud.




    [​IMG]
     
  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think Nick, Troy and Bellacaster nailed it. There is a different, I don't know, "timbre"'to a capo'd chird with open strings ringing than a non-capo'd inversion up the neck. They have a place.

    I don't know that someone can declare they don't "need" three guitars. How would you know? They might all be deployed on different things, usefully, tastefully and without clutter.

    OP if you are asking whether you should capo, I'd guess not. As he lead guy it will give you a different texture to stay standard. You can always transpose the key as you've done.
     
  15. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    My old guitarist called capos cheating, and 'gay'.
    I resisted using one for years, but now use one quite a bit acoustically.( now that he's dead)
    But.
    Not for singing reasons.
    For voicings.
    Anyhow, I find it hones your brain skills to play straight against a cappoed guitarist, got to be able to do those conversions in your head, and quick.
    That's my task now in a gospel project.
    And I do get the singing thing, same key higher register.
     
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  16. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use them to achieve a tonal texture that only open strings can give. Yes it's possible to get all the same "notes" without one, but not the same texture.
     
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  17. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    No capo.
    Play the whole dern neck.
    Why fence off your playground?
     
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  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Because guitar isn't a contest or an athletic competition. And there are many, many situations in an actual band setting where a capo'd part sounds and fits much better than a part usin the whole durn neck, IME.
     
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  19. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Who said anything about that?
    Use your fingers and hands, I do.
    Over-sensitive much?
     
  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Don't mean to burst your bubble OP but here's another blues player who used a capo religiously.

    [​IMG]


    I use a capo on acoustic for the same reason most others do. It helps me to put a song in the best key for my vocals and because for certain tunes I need very specific chord inversions and the capo allows me to do that. Hundreds of hit songs have been recorded just like that.

    But, I seldom if ever use a capo on any electric because my approach is different and there I'll use different inversions. The only situations I can recall doing it came when we as a band were tuned down half a step and need to play in standard tuning for a specific song or two and rather than have two guitars on stage a capo was an easier solution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
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