What is a Capo? Why use one?

Capo – What is it? And why use one

A capo is a device used on the guitar (or any other stringed instrument) which shortens the length of the strings, therefore making them higher in pitch. So, in a sense it is a moveable nut (the nut is at the top of the guitar near the headstock). It allows you to easily play in a different key without changing the fingerings of the chords that you would play in the open position.

Capo’s can make learning certain songs a lot easier. When you start learning the guitar you will normal start learning chords in the open position. However in the open position you can only play in a few keys. With the use of a capo you can change the key very easily and still use the chords shapes that you already know.

Capos are great to use when you are playing a song with another guitarist. If the song you are playing only has chords in it and no melody or riff, then instead of both of you playing the same chords in the same position, you can use a capo and play the same chords but in a different position on the guitar (first or second inversions). This gives the chords more depth and creates a fuller sound. For example if you are playing a chord progression of II V I in E then the first guitar will be playing F# minor, B7 and E in the open position while the second guitar could have a capo on the 4th fret and play the chord shapes of D minor, G7 and C.

You can also get Partial capos. Partial capos don’t cover all the strings and can give the impression of alternate tuning. These aren’t as common as the normal capo and I would advise to only use them if you are quite advance in your playing.

Capos are great and the possibilities are endless. You can get one for about £4 so why not go to your local music shop and get one of these great devices!

TG Guitar Lessons


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