What is a Guitar Capo?
Many people who are just starting to learn to play guitar wonder what is a guitar capo. Derived from the Italian word ‘capodastro’ that translates head of fingerboard, capo is like a ‘movable nut’. It is a mechanical device that can be attached to the neck of the guitar so it has the same effect that playing a barre with one finger has, thereby raising the pitch of the instrument. Guitarists often use capos to play songs that are in different keys. For example, when singers want to sing in E♭ or G♭, the capo allows the guitarist to do this with basic chords still playing in open position.
Should you use a Capo?
It is generally a good idea to use a capo. It is recommended not just for beginners but also experienced guitarists, especially acoustic guitar players. Albert Collins, blues legend Albert Collins, regularly used a capo.
5 tips for using a Guitar Capo
A capo is a simple tool and it doesn’t come with any instruction. But if you want to make sure that you are doing your best as an acoustic guitar player, it is an essential tool for you. These are a few tips that will help understand better how a capo works and how you can best use it.
- 1) Match the keys with your voice
When you’re playing a song and singing it you might find that the chords of the song are easy to play but the key is not right for your voice. The key may be too low or too high for your voice. With a capo you can solve this problem. It allows you to change the key so you can find the right pitch that will allow you to match your singing voice with your guitar. If the key of the song is too low, you can place the capo on the first fret and sing with the chords to see if it matches your voice better. You can go up or down a fret until you find the right key.
- 2) CAGED system
Sometimes we are not sure whether we should be a using a capo or not. So we will explain the basic guideline with the help of the CAGED system. If you are a beginner, then you might not know a lot about the CAGED system and that is fine. There are just a few basic things that you need to understand that will help you understand how to best use a capo.
The CAGED system is a powerful tool that is used to understand the layout of the fretboard. It is also a complex tool involving chords, scales and arpeggios. It is an advanced concept but we will only be discussing the basics. CAGED refers to the most common five open-position chords, that is, C, A, G, E, D. The idea is simple. If your song does not fall into one CAGED keys, then you can convert it into one of those keys with the use of the capo. For more on the CAGED system, a simple Google or Youtube search on the subject will suffice.
- 3) Open chords
Often, the sounds of open chords are more beautiful than those of bar chords. This is because when you play open chords with the capo placed a few frets high, the sound is really beautiful. It is also easier to embe
llish the chords with capo. Capo is very popular with many singers because they have the freedom to play open chords and find the right key that matches with their voice.
- 4) Changing up the song
Sometimes you may want to play a beautiful that doesn’t really sound right on the guitar. This may be because the original song didn’t have a guitar as an instrument so the chords are not right when you try to play it on your guitar. You can simply change the chords using the capo so that they match the song. As we explained in the first tip, you just have to move the capo fret up and down the neck and see which chord progression suits your song best.
- 5) Play different chords voicing
If you’re playing in a band with one or more guitar players, besides you, it would be a good for you to change things up. We mean, instead of playing out the exact same chord voices on all three guitars will not sound very good. Instead, you should all use different chord voicings. As we have explained earlier, you can change the chords very easily with the help of the guitar capo. You can change the chord by moving the capo further up the neck, while playing in the same key. This will make the guitar sound higher and clearer. This will be a nice sound with the lower chords of the other guitar or guitars playing with you.
Last but not least, the best place to find and purchase capos from is of course, Amazon. They got a huge variety of capos and very good prices. Below you'll find a collection of Guitar Capos from Amazon to choose from: