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To Capo or not to Capo

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

  1. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    My band plays what you might call '60s style country rock. A lot of what I play is based on open chord positions... it's a certain sound that you can't get with closed chord positions. I had never really used a capo on electric before, but I'm now using it on two songs, in order to play out of open chord positions in different keys.

    It's not about not having learned the fretboard, it's about being able to play something that sounds better in a given song.
     
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  2. a_pidgeon

    a_pidgeon Tele-Meister

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    This guy plays with a capo. Last time I saw him, he said "If there's no capo, there's no show" only half-jokingly.

    I like to use a capo quite often. I just prefer the way it sounds and feels to some of the other chord voicings I know. Sure, it's usually easier, but why would I want to make something harder to play?
     
  3. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I'm a fingerpicker, and like most of that ilk, I depend on open strings to get chord-melody arrangements. So if the arrangement works in, say, open G type chords, and the vocalist wants it in A, then I would use a capo.

    I've also used special-purpose capos, like drop D, 022222, and Dm 111011 in open DM, and conversion capos to turn an ordinary guitar into a lap steel.

    Some genres, eg flamenco, use capos as an aid to reach and/or projection, or to emulate another instrument, eg a mandolin in country music..
     
  4. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    When I started using Nashville Notation to chart our worship songs, the capo made it so easy to change keys because our worship pastor would use odd keys. So I just needed to know the key of the song, set the capo for my "one" chord either in the E or the A string, then I had all the familiar and open string chords we needed and I didn't have to transpose on the fly.
     
  5. Telepathist

    Telepathist Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes. I play a lot of songs in F and it has allowed me to NOT have to play the B flat barre chord (I started learning guitar late in life). [emoji2]
     
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  6. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

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    How the hell does one "cheat" when playing a guitar? Are frets cheating?
     
  7. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    These responses are great. It seems that since I have learned the fretboard so to speak, I now need to learn the capo. Another tool in the shed that should not be neglected.
     
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  8. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    And if you want really interesting sounds don't overlook the shorter capos that bar only a few strings.
     
  9. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    Don't feel bad. I learned early in life and also always hated the B and Bb barre chords--especially on acoustic. I'd rarely play the barre chords but play an alternate voicing instead. Bb is a lot easier on the bass!
     
  10. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bravo!

    A capo can be used to simplify chord grips. However, if you think that's the only way, or even the main way to use a capo, you simply don't understand the tool. People are often critical of things that they don't understand.

    If you have three guitarists in the band and you're playing a song in the key of G, have one guitarist play it open, using the G campfire chords, the second guitar capos at the 3rd fret, but plays it based of the E major chord shapes, then the third guitarist plays it capo at 5, based off the D major chord shapes.

    I think you'll find it sounds much richer and more interesting than simply having everyone bang out the same G major chord forms...

    Simon and Garfunkel did this kind of thing a lot.

    A capo is a useful tool to achieve a more 3-dimensional sound than you would otherwise have with two or more guitars simply playing in unison.

    As for guys who only know a few chords shapes and move the capo around to "cheat" and play in more keys than their limited guitar abilities would otherwise allow, so what? Lyle Lovett writes great songs that way. ;)

    I think it's ultimately about achieving musical results. Imposing limits on your creativity to conform to some short-sighted dogma that has nothing to do with the SOUND isn't the way...

    Yes, I can play AND read in any key without a capo. I can also do it with one. (okay... some keys are better than others! :eek: )


    I love this lady:



     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  11. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    ps.

     
  12. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

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    I'd like to hear someone play "Here Comes The Sun" without a capo, regardless of how well they know the fretboard.
     
  13. Marlin B

    Marlin B Tele-Meister

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    I'm in a "capo abuse" support group. We have folks that use them for fencing and some use them for tickets to freedom. Some were once in anti capo gangs and those tendencies keep surfacing. Some feed ignorance with them. Some confess, some deny. Some just make "f*¡©k!&g music with what they have, where they are. Peace.
     
  14. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    A wise woman once said, "It's not what you use, it's how you use it."
     
  15. telecat33511

    telecat33511 Tele-Holic

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    when the song calls for it
     
  16. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I haven't invested the time and effort into learning to use a capo. I've been saving that for retirement...
     
  17. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    My original response was to the OP.
    There are many reasons why guitarists don't use capos.
    There are also many reasons guitarists do.
    All cool with me, BTW.
    I own one, and mostly use it when doing truss rod adjustments on traditional Fender style necks.
    It keeps the strings from popping out of the split shaft tuner slots when the string tension is slacked to allow the truss rod adjustment.
    It's a great tool for that.
    I rarely use one for any other reason, Here Comes The Sun notwithstanding.
    I never said anything about music being a contest.
    I did try to make clear I generally find capo use more limiting than liberating.
    It would appear that Mr. callasabra and I are generally in agreement.
     
  18. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    lot of people use capos playing bluegrass, and that s not what I consider cheating.
     
  19. vjf1968

    vjf1968 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow. Seems there is always some arbitrary rule when playing guitar. Capos are only a "cheat" if you use them as a "cheat". Is it a cheat if a carpenter uses a CNC machine? Is it a cheat if a photographer uses a DLSR camera? A lot of pros use them on both electric and acoustic guitars. Bert Jansch, Jimmy Page, Don Felder, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, Steve Stills, Neil Young, Donovan. He'll Paul McCartney used a capo on bass.
     
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