What's a Capo, Anyway?
By Ben BlakesleyGeorges Music
You've seen them on the shelves in the stores.
They even peer back at you from the guitar headstock of your friend who's been playing for years.
But what IS a capo? What does it do? Who would want one of those things?
You would. Let me tell you why...
Simply put, a capo is like being able to slide the nut of your guitar up and down on your fretboard to adjust the pitch of all the strings at one time.
There are two main situations you may find yourself in where you would benefit from using a standard capo: 1) You (or the singer) can't sing the song in the key in which you know how to play it. 2) You want to get some really cool chord voicings but don't have enough fingers and need to use open strings beyond the nut.
Quick Key Change
We've all been there. You know a song in one key and someone you're playing or singing with doesn't know it in that key or can't sing it in that key.
CAPO TO THE RESCUE!
Let's say you're playing a song in the key of G major and the progression goes: G - C - D - CThe singer in your band likes the groove, but just can't hit those low notes at the beginning of the song and wants to do it in the key of A major where he feels more comfortable. You like the chord voices in the key of G and don't want to lose that sound, so you grab your trusty capo and place it on the 2nd fret. Voil! You can keep playing your G major chord formations but the pitch has been changed so you're really playing in the key of A major. You're a hero and your singer is forever grateful!
A World of New Tones With Open Strings
Situation #2. You're stuck. You've been writing some really cool songs with sustained notes in your chord changes that ring out using open strings but now you're stuck because they're all starting to sound the same.
ENTER MR. CAPO!
Play your Dsus2 with a capo on the 3rd fret and you're not really playing a Dsus2, but an Fsus2! A whole new world of opportunity and 'bye-bye' writer's block!
It's a simple device that comes in many flavors, but don't poo-poo the versatile Mr. Capo. A capo is a quick and easy way to change your sound and adapt to whatever key-related situation you might find yourself.
And for such a low price, how can you go without?
Ben Blakesley is in charge of Marketing and Technology at George's Music and is an avid capo user. It disguises the fact that he's not a very good player really well!