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How To Use A Capo

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A capo is a device used to the neck and strings of a guitar that shortens the playable length of the strings & as a result raising the pitch. There are numerous advantages to this result and we’ll explore the most important ones in this tutorial.

It can be pronounced "KAH-poe" or "KAY-poe", either is fine. The word comes from the Italian "capotasto" which means the head of the fretboard or the nut of the stringed instrument. The reason is that using a capo is essentially a means of moving the nut at will!
Among the primary uses guitarists have for the capo are:
1. Raise the pitch of a fretted instrument in order to use open first position chords in a different key signatures. This is helpful because it can allow you to use, for example the relatively easy open chord shapes G, C and D to play chords that might be much harder, like A-flat, D-flat & E-flat.

2. Match the vocal register of a singer. So, if you know how to play a song in one key, but your voice, or the singer you are accompanying, needs to sing it in a different key, you can easily make that change.

3. Create different voicings of a chord progression for a different timbre or effect to provide variety or flesh out a two guitar arrangement.

4. Special effects or tricks involving partial capos or using open strings, for example in blues.

5. In order to make a guitar with high action easier to play.
Capos come in shapes, sizes & materials, but most designs are similar in that they are made to clamp on the guitar neck in order to hold down the strings. Because there are so many designs you should take the time to look around & try them out to see which one works best for you!

Lesson Info
How To Use A Capo