TEXAS GUITARVILLE BLOG -- What does a capo do and is it good or bad?
Hello guitar enthusiasts!
I am here to break down a fundamental question asked from a bunch of our students: What does a capo do and is it good or bad to use? Well, it definitely isn't good or bad, it's a neutral device that can help you be a better musician or confuse the crap out of you. The first thing most people think about what a capo does, I have encountered, is that the capo changes the key of the entire guitar. The only problem is you can not change the key of a guitar or at least it isn't the right wordage. What I mean by this is that you have to pick a major or minor key that you want to play in first before you can change the key you are playing in, utilizing the capo device. Let's say for example you are in the key of C Major and you are using the capo on the third fret of your guitar. This would make your new key, with the capo, turn into D sharp major since you moved three half steps higher than where you originally were. So, essentially you can still play your C Major chord shape on your guitar but it will sound like an actual D sharp major chord. Pretty neat! A lot of singers use the capo to change the key of a song or write songs in the key that fits their voice better while keeping the use of basic chords that they are very familiar with. It can also be used to play a lot of cool guitar riffs utilizing open notes, hammer-ons, and pull-offs in different keys without having to learn new ways to play them. So essentially you can do the same riffs in every key using the capo. Is this cheating? Yes, but if it helps you play the things you want to play quicker, than that is pretty cool. The downside to the capo is that if you use it too much, you will never get accustomed to learning guitar without it and eventually your guitar playing will plateau. If you are happy just being able to play a few riffs and select chords then the capo might be great for you, but if you want to keep pushing yourself and be a guitar virtuoso than put that capo up and learn some awesome guitar riffs and licks. Another way to utilize the capo is to change the key of a current song to make the chord shapes easier for you to play. This is an easy way and may not sound totally right, but might be a great way to start learning songs quickly. This is a great way to boost your momentum and get to love playing your guitar faster. So for example if a song you want to play has chords like C minor, A sharp major, D sharp major, and G sharp major then you could put your capo on the eighth fret of your guitar to make these chords into the shapes of E minor, D major, G major, and C Major respectively. So another way to think of it is if you played the G major chord and then played it again using the capo at the eighth fret of your guitar, that would now make it into a D sharp major chord while still keeping that easy G major chord shape. This takes some knowledge of theory to comprehend, but what a great way to learn music theory and make your guitar playing a little easier to start out. I always recommend that my students don't rely or depend on the capo forever though. It is only a tool. Don't let the capo become your crutch. This is the most important thing any teacher or professional guitar player can tell you about using the capo on your guitar. I hope this article helps you understand when and where to use your capo on your guitar. Please comment below to start a discussion if you like. Also please like and share this article with friends who may have similar questions and concerns.
Thanks and keep rocking on!
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