Using a capo puts my guitar out of tune.

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by telestratosonic, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I used a headstock clip-on tuner to tune my Gibson J45. Then I put my capo on the second fret so I could use G Major, C Major and D Major open chords and be in the key of A.

    However, when I check the tuning, I'm out of tune. Can you experienced capo users out there give me the benefit of your knowledge on this?

    Jim
     
  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Could be the capo is squeezing too hard, bringing some strings sharp. Some capos have adjustable tension for this reason.
     
  3. clayville

    clayville TDPRI Member

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    What kind of capo are you using? I find that clamp-style capos like a Kyser tend to pull unevenly and put my guitars out of tune more than a Schubb-like capo which seems to apply the pressure straight down. For me, it's beneficial to be able to vary the tension to fit the neck at the capo fret as you can with a Shubb. Either way, I always check my tuning after applying the capo. Just my experience... ymmv.
     
  4. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Holic

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    Many capos exert enough tension to press the strings all the way to the fretboard, which is enough to put the guitar out of tune. Scoot the capo up just behind the fret so that the tension doesn't push down the strings so far.
     
  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yup...minimum possible tension, and touch up tuning.
    I seldom use one, but I remember placement in relation to the fret makes a difference.
     
  6. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Another +1 for adjustable like the Shubb. I was never a fan of the ones you just squeeze and let go of for this reason.
     
  7. vid1900

    vid1900 Tele-Meister

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    Don't put it dead center, move it forward until it almost touches the fret
     
  8. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I always tune after putting a capo on. I figure it’s just how it is.
     
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  9. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Meister

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  10. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks all!
    1) I'll try putting the capo right behind the fret; I've been putting it behind the fret 1/4" (6mm) or so.
    2) I have a new USA-made Kyser and yes, it sharpens the pitch, especially on the high E and B strings.
    3) I'm familiar with the Shubb and will research it.
    4) I'll retune after putting on the capo.
     
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  11. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  12. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    All capos will pull the guitar slightly out. Retune.
     
  13. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    This. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Bill Kirchen used my Dano Bass VI at a gig and popped a capo on and retuned.

    If Bill retunes, that’s good enough for me.

    :) Peter
     
  14. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    Plus it tends to ruin your frets if you use such a capo often enough. A capo with adjustable tension is the way to go.
     
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  15. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    this brings us back to the never-ending story about how the first 5 frets of a guitar are always wacky out-of-tune.

    It is a fact; it can be corrected to some degree with a compensated nut.

    12th-fret intonation has nothing to do with it.
    A perfectly-cut nut doesn't help.
    Different gauge strings won't fix it.
    Even the lightest capo tension won't help (though heavy tension can certainly make it worse!)
    It's just a fact.

    Many guys here do know know this; or they do not believe this. The answer is, as mentioned above, that you have to check the tuning after placing the capo if you are in a critical-tuning situation.
     
  16. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks all for the info and suggestions. I like the Shubb Fine Tune capo and the Deluxe capo for steel string guitars. I'm going to try them out this Friday when I go to Edmonton.
     
  17. RoarDog

    RoarDog Tele-Meister

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    I've had this issue, for me it was a combination of tall frets and too much tension from the capo. Seems counterintuitive but slightly raising my action helped a lot.
     
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  18. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    +1
    Also, I saw a video once that was very helpful.

    After putting the capo on, grab each string in the middle (between the capo and bridge) and give it a decent upward tug away from the fretboard. Not too hard, but enough that it comes off the fretboard about an inch. Your capo is pinching the string and most likely causing it to go sharp. By pulling in the strings after capo-ing, you are getting that bit of the string that is caught up in the rubber of the capo and pulling it back out. You will probably still need to tune a bit after doing this, but I can almost certainly guarantee you that if you just capo and then tune immediately, after playing for a bit the strings will naturally start to release from the rubber of the capo and go sharp/flat.

    If instead you capo close to the fret, stretch them, THEN tune, you are going to get the most consistent results.
     
  19. colnago

    colnago Tele-Meister

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    Either your capo is squeezing too hard or your nut slots are too high. A capo will put it out of tune slightly, it’s an inherent design flaw.
     
  20. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    It will always pull you at least a little out of tune, in part because putting it on moves the strings a little side to side in addition to clamping down. I always retune after moving a capo. I my current project I'm capoing a bunch at 2 - I think I'm just going to have one guitar on capo 2 and one no-capo for gigs, faster to swap guitars than constantly retune.
     
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