# Capo notation question

faith83
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Joined: 04/23/20
Posts: 416
05/17/2021 6:12 pm

Hi all,

Just dropping in to ask a quick question that should be obvious but Mr. Google is not finding exactly the answer I seek.

If the song is written in G, but I want to record it with the capo on the second fret (thus transposing it to A), is the song considered to be in A or in G with a capo, and either way, how would I notate that at the top of a chord chart?

[br]Thank you in advance for answer, which I'm sure is obvious once I know what it is.

"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

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Joined: 09/28/05
Posts: 3,493
05/18/2021 7:27 pm

Hey Faith! When notating a song, the key the song is in and notation is based on what it sounds like. Regardless of what is happening on the fretboard. If the sound is in A, (instead of G), then the key is A. Hope this helps!

faith83
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Joined: 04/23/20
Posts: 416
05/18/2021 10:28 pm

Thanks! So would I notate it as "A (capo 2nd fret)" for the guitar player? (And would I provide the lead sheet in G for the guitar player as well as a lead sheet in A?)

"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

Herman10
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Joined: 12/04/19
Posts: 318
05/18/2021 11:44 pm

you notate the music relative to the chords you use and put on top of the piece just below the tuning notation ( if it would be in a different tuning ) that there is a capo to be used at a specific fret.

The song would be in A but this way it would be the clearest for everybody because they play the chords notated in G but with capo on the second fret, else it would become rather confusing.

faith83
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Joined: 04/23/20
Posts: 416
05/19/2021 3:26 pm
Originally Posted by: Herman10

you notate the music relative to the chords you use and put on top of the piece just below the tuning notation ( if it would be in a different tuning ) that there is a capo to be used at a specific fret.

The song would be in A but this way it would be the clearest for everybody because they play the chords notated in G but with capo on the second fret, else it would become rather confusing.

That's what I thought, too, which is why I'm still having trouble sorting it out. It seems like I'd give the guitar player the lead sheet in G with a notation re: the capo, and everyone else the lead sheet in A? My brain hurts...

"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

snojones
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05/19/2021 11:11 pm

Sorry about the brain hurt, but this can get even more complicated in that your guitarist could just decide to work with an A scale using no capo (or decide to play a C scale and capo on the 7th fret!) It is all the same key of A! You see how this complication can compound.

I think talking with the guitarist is the best idea. In the end that song is in the key of A, no matter how you get there. A few words to the guitarist would explain it all.

But then again, I never worked with a long distance musical partner. I have also never sold a single song and at this point it is likely that I never will. So take the value of my verbage with a grain operator ignorance.

Captcha is a total pain in the........

faith83
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Joined: 04/23/20
Posts: 416
05/20/2021 2:09 pm

Thanks, Sno, and yeah, that's what I'm going to do. Communication is key. I just try if I can to get it right before sending it because I think that helps with credibility, and when musicians feel they're working with someone who knows what they're doing, I find I tend to get better results.

Of course in this case, I don't know what I'm doing, so there is that....

I'm also now questioning all the times I've seen a capo mentioned on a lead sheet, and whether that means play it in the key notated but with the capo, or whether it means that putting the capo on creates the notated key. Now my brain hurts even more...

"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

Herman10
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Joined: 12/04/19
Posts: 318
05/20/2021 11:36 pm

what you see a lot to is on top of the sheet; capo at that fret and chords between parentheses

are chords relative to capo, this way nobody can't doubt it, so you notate a G chord and then between parentheses you note the A chord and put on top of the music; capo at 2nd fret.

faith83
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Joined: 04/23/20
Posts: 416
05/21/2021 5:46 pm

Ah, that might be the way to do it. I don't think I've noticed that before, but that seems like the best way to do it. Thank you!

"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."