Ground   Techniques   Scales   Chords   Theory   Reading   Systems   Nucleus  

Core Location: Nucleus

Guitar Capo

A guitar capo [capo = cap = head] is a clamp that is used on the guitar to make the neck shorter. By placing a capo (head) on a particular fret, we create a ‘new nut’; a new zero fret.

Chart for Sharp Keys

guitar capo chart for sharp keys

These are the keys when we place a capo on frets 1 – 9 while fretting the ‘sharp’ keys. C is neither a sharp nor flat key (the only key which is all naturals). Make sure when a capo is placed, that it is straight, & makes good contact with the fret (evenly). We can get ‘buzzing’ if the capo is not set well.

When we place a guitar capo at a certain fret, & play the chords of a given key, we are actually playing in a new key. We can place the capo, play in a key such as C, and it will sound as a different key. We typically think in the key that is being fingered, yet it is okay to think either way [the fingerings or the soundings – or both!]. The capo takes care of this, so it is easier to think in the key that we are fingering.

If we are jamming with other people, & recognize the key that they are playing in, we can reinforce – thicken it up, expand – a harmonic rhythm with brilliance, by using the capo, while fingering a different key. This is one way to make friends fast. We aren’t ‘interfering’ with what is being played by someone else, but actually expanding the harmonic palette.

A capo can be used on the fretboard for any tuning & anywhere on the fretboard. One really cool thing about using them is that our guitars have ‘sweet spots’. When we place a capo, say, on the 3rd fret, & play in G, our guitar resonance may just ‘light up.’ Listen for the sweet spots, while exploring different keys – every guitar is different.

A capo isn’t mandatory to play in all of these keys, since our fingers do a similar thing as a capo when we are fretting higher versions of chords (can involve a lot of barring). However, the capo does make things easier, & gets some great sounds & mileage for the chords and keys we already use (ie. C, G, D, A, F, E, etc.).

Chart for Flat Keys

guitar capo chart for flat keys

These are the keys when we place a capo on frets 1 – 9 while fretting the flat keys. C is neither a sharp nor flat key.