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  #1  
Old 01-11-2005, 05:14 PM
Johnny Ringo Johnny Ringo is offline
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Default Piano keys and Guitar Chords

Hi all. Kind of a silly question here but, when I play along with the piano I found in back of the hymn book certain keys beside the songs, such as Bb, I remember a friend telling me that Bb in a piano key requires you to Capo third fret of your guitar and play in "G". Seems to work. Anyone shed any more light on this? Thanx.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:24 PM
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Yep, that will do it. When you capo up, you're effectively changing the guitar's tuning, with each fret representing a half-tone (half-step) musically. Bb is three half-tones above G, so setting the capo at the third fret raises the G major chord shapes to the key of Bb.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:33 PM
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Or you could capo on the first fret and play in A, or you could capo it on the 5th fret and play in F, or you could capo on the 6th fret and play in E, or...

I find it easer to have the piano player adjust to me.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:41 PM
taylortom taylortom is offline
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Bb doesn't "require" you to play in G capoed up. You can play in Bb without a capo if you want. It's just that the chords in Bb are less than ideal on a guitar in standard tuning. So by placing the capo somewhere on the neck you can still play in Bb but use the chord forms of another key that is more desireable. You aren't playing in the key of G, you are playing in the key of Bb using chord forms from the key of G.

With the capo on the third fret your open E becomes an open G. Then forming a G chord over that you will notice that the bottom note in the chord is a Bb. So you are playing a Bb chord using a G form. Similarly if you left the capo at the third fret and played using chord forms from the key of C you would actually be playing in the key of Eb. If you used chord forms from the key of D you would be playing in the key of F.

Prove it to yourself by playing a G chord form with the capo at the third fret and compare that to a Bb chord without the capo. Try the same with the C form with the capo and note the comparison to an Eb without the capo (you can fake the Eb by playing just the top three strings of a standard D chord all raised one fret) and then a D chord form compared to an F without the capo.

From there try the capo at different locations using those same basic chords and see if you can figure out what chord you are actually playing. A piano might be helpful here to match tones if you don't know the note positions on the fretboard.

Hope that helps a little. Capos are wonderful devices.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:43 PM
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Welcome to the AGF, Johnny!

Hope you don't mind that I moved your first post to this section of the forum, which is a little more suited for the question your were asking.

You've gotten some good replies already. Do they make sense to you? If not, we'll keep trying until we either have you understanding or in a state of total confusion!

Seriously, let us know if you're still not understanding. Sometimes there are several good to explain something, and only one of them really "clicks."

Glad to have you with us!
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:49 AM
GuyM GuyM is offline
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Another hint for having fun with a capo.

If you are playing with a few other guitars, in the key of G for example, if you capo at the 7th fret and play the C chord shapes, you are still in the key of G, but it adds an entirely new sound to the mix. The whole sound becomes so much fuller if all the guitars are not playing the same chord shapes at the same time.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:12 AM
david_m david_m is offline
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I'm not a big capo fan. Sometimes they are very useful, and you can get some interesting sounds out of them (especially the open, or cut capos), but I'm a big believer that you shuold be able to pick up the guitar and play in whatever key you want (without retuning or using a capo).

Take some time and learn a little basic theory (about all I know is basic theory), and learn to finger the first position chords anywhere on the neck. It will really help your playing.

David
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:27 PM
Lonny Lonny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_m
I'm a big believer that you shuold be able to pick up the guitar and play in whatever key you want (without retuning or using a capo).
David
I would agree with the first part of this -- being able to pick up the guitar and play in a desired key; and this advice still applies when you use a capo. For me, the capo enables me to play chords and hear notes you can't hear without a capo.

This typically happens for me when I'm capoed at the second or fourth or fifth (wherever) fret and play chord fragments and include open strings.

For example, capo at 4 and try this progression in 6/8 at a tempo of, say, 168 (this progression is my version of Every Grain of Sand by Bob Dylan as performed by Emmylou Harris):

Measure 1
4-4-6-6-6-4
Measure 2
4-8-10-10-9-4
Repeat measures 1&2 three times

Measure 7
4-6-8-8-7-4
4-8-10-10-9-4
Measure 8
4-6-8-8-7-4

Measure 9
4-6-8-8-7-4
4-8-10-10-9-4
Measure 10
4-9-8-6-7-4
4-6-8-8-7-4
Measure 11
4-11-10-8-9-4
4-9-8-6-7-4
Measure 12
4-6-8-8-7-4

Repeat measures 9-12 twice

Measure 17
4-11-10-8-9-4
Measure 18
4-8-10-11-9-4
Repeat measures 17&18 three times

Measure 23
4-6-8-8-7-4
4-8-10-10-9-4
Measure 24
4-6-8-8-7-4

Last edited by Lonny; 01-12-2005 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 01-12-2005, 01:57 PM
dudley doright dudley doright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyM
Another hint for having fun with a capo.

If you are playing with a few other guitars, in the key of G for example, if you capo at the 7th fret and play the C chord shapes, you are still in the key of G, but it adds an entirely new sound to the mix. The whole sound becomes so much fuller if all the guitars are not playing the same chord shapes at the same time.
Hotel California by the Eagles is an example!
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Old 01-12-2005, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_m
I'm not a big capo fan. Sometimes they are very useful, and you can get some interesting sounds out of them (especially the open, or cut capos), but I'm a big believer that you shuold be able to pick up the guitar and play in whatever key you want (without retuning or using a capo).
David, you make a good point, and I will agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion to learn at least basic theory.

However, I will note that some chord voicings sound better than others for a given song, or work better within one's playing style. Several years ago I was in a madrigal group that was making a record, and the director asked me to play guitar on one of the pieces. The problem was, the song was in F, and it just wasn't coming together, to my ear or the director's, so I tuned down a whole step and played in "G" instead, and it sounded much better. It was also easier on my non-classical fingers.

The same goes for alternate tunings, if that was your reference at the end of this paragraph. Some songs that never sounded quite right in standard tuning just blossomed once I tried them in DADGAD.
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Old 01-12-2005, 04:01 PM
david_m david_m is offline
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Quote:
This typically happens for me when I'm capoed at the second or fourth or fifth (wherever) fret and play chord fragments and include open strings.
Different strokes for different folks. My major issue with using a capo stems from cutting off a huge part of the instrument's range. If you place a capo on the 5th fret you've effective eliminated 33% of the instrument's range (assuming 15 usable frets). I see so many people trying to figure out where to capo their guitar so they can use all of their standard chord shapes when those same standard chord shapes are available anywhere on the neck without the capo. If someone says, "It's in E-flat" you should be able to whip out the old I-IV-V in E-flat without using a capo.

I view a capo as a tool for special situations, not a crutch to be relied upon when playing in any key not named E, G, A or D. Other instruments (especially horns) play in keys with lots of flats, and it's to your advantage to be able to move around with them without relying on a mechanical device.

Capos are GREAT, but should be used sparingly and appropriately.

Sorry for the rant. Maybe I'm just in a curmudgeonly mood today.

David
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:25 AM
David Paul David Paul is offline
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If I had an abundance of time I would love to learn all the variations of chord voicings around the neck, but I don't. For many players like myself the capo can be a handy tool, or crutch if you prefer, when you need it. Sometimes time isn't available to explore the variations.

I was glad I came across this thread whenI preping for a Worship service. As our choir leader/ organist was to away this Sunday, she asked me to fill in and lead the choir with my guitar. We had an Anthem worked out for one selection and for the second I was to pick a hymn that wouldn't require much rehersal as this was a last minute thing. I selected " How Great thou Art" which was in the key of Eb. I had thought of playing with capo 5 until I read this thread and realized that capo 3 was in fact the better choice allowing for all open chord voicings that I found much easier when I was leading the choir and playing at the same time.

Thanks for the help and in broadening my knowledge a little bit at a time.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2005, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_m
If someone says, "It's in E-flat" you should be able to whip out the old I-IV-V in E-flat without using a capo.
As you say, David, different strokes. There's no way I'm forcing myself to play in E-flat without a capo.

Quote:
My major issue with using a capo stems from cutting off a huge part of the instrument's range.
I disagree. Putting a capo at the 5th string only eliminates the notes below low A, and while the tone is diminished somewhat, that only eliminates 5 notes (E-G#) from the bottom of the guitar's range. That's probably a lot to a classical guitarist, but to the average folk or rock guitarist, not so much. I will also submit that in many cases, the chords of "alternate" keys won't make much use of the 6th string anyway, unless you're playing more complex chords that allow you to fret that string without barring others.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound curmudgeonly either, but most people play for fun, and learning to play in "standard" keys is plenty of work for the average guitarist. I always encourage learning theory and developing the ability to transpose between standard keys (from D to G, for instance), but I see the capo as a tool rather than a crutch.
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Old 01-21-2005, 09:00 PM
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Hey folks. First post (new member this evening). Is it ok to post a link? If so, here's a link that should really help you, Johnny R. It's a transposition chart. Check it out and all the replys to your question should make sense.

http://www.cyberfret.com/misc-wisdom/capo/page5.php
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  #15  
Old 01-22-2005, 05:52 AM
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Posting links like this is fine!

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