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  #46  
Old 03-22-2017, 06:54 AM
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I'm a capo user and it a valuable tool but here's something I have never understood. Using the key of G for an example (but it applies to all keys), I have a bunch of songs that I can sing very nicely in G and then there's some others that I can't sing at all in G but if I capo up one or two they're back in my comfort zone. You'd think if I can sing some songs I a particular key I should be able to sing anything in that key. Guess that's just another one of those things I gotta accept whether I understand it or not.
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  #47  
Old 03-22-2017, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mick's Goat Whiskey Picks View Post
I'm a capo user and it a valuable tool but here's something I have never understood. Using the key of G for an example (but it applies to all keys), I have a bunch of songs that I can sing very nicely in G and then there's some others that I can't sing at all in G but if I capo up one or two they're back in my comfort zone. You'd think if I can sing some songs I a particular key I should be able to sing anything in that key. Guess that's just another one of those things I gotta accept whether I understand it or not.
You have a vocal range, not a key. You can comfortably sing songs that have notes that fall within that range. One song in G might contain notes that hover around the D and G strings, while another song in G might contain notes that are around the B or E strings. It's a funtion of where the writer puts a song within a key, which might or might not interact favorably with your range.
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  #48  
Old 03-22-2017, 07:17 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Mick, it goes back to my earlier post here. Let's take an example, any song in G. What's the highest note? What a dumb question you may think; it's not the same in every song. Could be a B, a high D, or even an E at the top of the staff. Exactly. Each song is different; it's your voice that doesn't change. It still reaches only so far in either direction, no matter what the key. So the trick is to find a key where your highest and lowest notes are more centered and easier for you to reach. And a capo can make that easier; that's its biggest trick (but not it's only one).

And if one is blessed with a wide vocal range, it can still make a difference as often the timbre, the quality of one's voice changes when you extend your range and with the use of a capo you can keep it sounding like you want.

Or you can learn to finger chords and play scales in all the various keys. That's what everyone should do, only no one wants to, or needs to - if they use a capo.
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  #49  
Old 03-22-2017, 07:38 AM
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Goat Whiskey Picks Goat Whiskey Picks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
Mick, it goes back to my earlier post here. Let's take an example, any song in G. What's the highest note? What a dumb question you may think; it's not the same in every song. Could be a B, a high D, or even an E at the top of the staff. Exactly. Each song is different; it's your voice that doesn't change. It still reaches only so far in either direction, no matter what the key. So the trick is to find a key where your highest and lowest notes are more centered and easier for you to reach. And a capo can make that easier; that's its biggest trick (but not it's only one).

And if one is blessed with a wide vocal range, it can still make a difference as often the timbre, the quality of one's voice changes when you extend your range and with the use of a capo you can keep it sounding like you want.

Or you can learn to finger chords and play scales in all the various keys. That's what everyone should do, only no one wants to, or needs to - if they use a capo.


That kinda goes back to my first reply in this thread. Yes I can play a song in any key but it's the chord voicings that make choose to capo or not. That nice country rhythm in G or D suddenly will stay a nice country rhythm capoed up two but if play it in A or E with no capo it suddenly takes on more of a bluesy flavor because of the chord voicings. Just like everything in music a capo is a tool to be used to get the flavor you want not as a crutch to overcome a deficiency.

I appreciate the explanations about my vocal question. I'd never considered those aspects. But I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it either. LOL


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  #50  
Old 03-22-2017, 07:55 AM
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I'm probably repeating what others said, but a capo can make it easier to play and sang.

I've improved my playing a lot over the past couple of years, but what I used to do when I learned a new song was move the capo around until I found where G,C,D, and Em shapes matched the chords in the recording of the song. I did that because those shapes and progressions were easy for me to remember.

And then I'd move the capo up or down to suit my voice. It also helps if maybe you've had a long day and the song you're performing has some high notes that might give you trouble. Move the capo down one fret and it could get you through the song.

Also certain licks and runs are just easier in certain positions, and muscle memory also plays a part. Just move the capo and you're in a different key as opposed to learning/remembering all the licks and runs in a different key and position.
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  #51  
Old 03-22-2017, 07:59 AM
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I've asked my friends to make sure I'm buried with my capo.

I should say capos... I don't have a capo collection, I have a capo problem.
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  #52  
Old 03-22-2017, 08:20 AM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Originally Posted by paulzoom View Post
If you want to limit your song choice, that's your right. Try playing "here comes the sun" without a capo.

I don't understand why you wouldn't want to use a capo.
Well, I do. Excessive fret wear. I know people will say it's because I'm wasn't using it properly - and that very well could be true, but also beside the point. I capo'ed quite a bit when i was starting out and it dented the heck outta my frets. I stopped using them for this reason. Please refrain from telling me what i was doing wrong, because I don't care. I would rather transpose a song to fit my voice than resorting to a capo. I actually found that it quickly expanded my chord vocabulary and ability to play in different keys quickly when I set mine down. I just can understand why some don't like them.

As for the reasons people use them, I understand them all and they are all valid. If someone asked me to play a song with them in a sharp or flat key I would pick one up right quick, because I would have to, but would rather not.
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  #53  
Old 03-22-2017, 08:23 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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Many, if not all, the great reasons for using a capo have been offered up. However, the only way to master (the understanding of) capos, slides, alternate tunings.... has to be experimental not theoretical. You have to "do it" until you tire of trying or really get it. I suspect that if you put in enough time with your capo and experiment with it until you have the aha moment you may understand. However, if you are already a total master of the fretboard and can play every chord variant from the first through the 12th fret, you may not find a need for a capo or other tools. I've been playing, mostly professionally, for over 30 years and find a great use for capos.......... but I've yet to master anything let alone the guitar.
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  #54  
Old 03-22-2017, 09:20 AM
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I use a capo when I want a particular arrangement of chord voicings that cannot be achieved any other way.

In the key of G, for example, instead of open G, C and D formations, with the capo I can play the I, IV, V chord progressions in other 'forms' but one will sound better than all the others in a given song.

I dislike a capo when it is used to just change key but not chord forms.
the Open forms of G, C and D have the same tone profile no matter where that capo goes, and my ears get bored quickly.

Capo is my last resort; mostly because I don't want to give up real estate on the neck, and I've got a good handle on 3 and 4 note moveable chords that give me lots of flexibility and options.

Idea: play a song you already know well but with a capo and different chord forms, to get a sense of what this can bring to your arrangements. It's not for every song, but when it is right, it sure makes a difference!
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  #55  
Old 03-22-2017, 09:24 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
You never caught Django Reinhardt or Les Paul using a capo ...
Different sounds though.

You SHOULD be able to play in any key...but sometimes, you want the open strings to be something in particular...then the capo comes in.

Personally, I rarely use them, unless I'm desecrating some flamenco stuff

Interesting note about Johnny Cash--Johnny often tuned to F standard (or even a little higher!) His low E was not an E!
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  #56  
Old 03-22-2017, 10:39 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by roylor4 View Post
Well, I do. Excessive fret wear. I know people will say it's because I'm wasn't using it properly - and that very well could be true, but also beside the point. I capo'ed quite a bit when i was starting out and it dented the heck outta my frets. I stopped using them for this reason. Please refrain from telling me what i was doing wrong, because I don't care. I would rather transpose a song to fit my voice than resorting to a capo. I actually found that it quickly expanded my chord vocabulary and ability to play in different keys quickly when I set mine down. I just can understand why some don't like them.

As for the reasons people use them, I understand them all and they are all valid. If someone asked me to play a song with them in a sharp or flat key I would pick one up right quick, because I would have to, but would rather not.
Roy, No offense meant, but I've actually heard the same argument made against the use of picks by a player who broke strings using a pick so only plays bare finger now.

The capo, like a pick, is a simple accessory that enhances the playing experience if used properly. Absolutely nothing wrong with a choice of using one or not, but it's difficult to accept a reference to damage from capo use when the large majority of users haven't observed that.

It's all good, as long as a player is enjoying the experience.
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  #57  
Old 03-22-2017, 10:40 AM
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Then it gets more fun with a cut capo
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  #58  
Old 03-22-2017, 11:07 AM
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Capos are wonderful..........

Different voicings, different keys, complementary playing (you play standard G I ply 5th fret D), and on and on, especially if you sing.

Not using a capo IMHO is selling yourself short on a valuable and very useful tool. Lifetime player here and I don't know any players who don't use capos (as needed)..........
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  #59  
Old 03-22-2017, 11:16 AM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Roy, No offense meant, but I've actually heard the same argument made against the use of picks by a player who broke strings using a pick so only plays bare finger now.

The capo, like a pick, is a simple accessory that enhances the playing experience if used properly. Absolutely nothing wrong with a choice of using one or not, but it's difficult to accept a reference to damage from capo use when the large majority of users haven't observed that.

It's all good, as long as a player is enjoying the experience.
Rudy, no offense taken, but the amount of extra fret wear from using one was noticeable for me and I have read many posts that tell me I'm not the only one that has experienced this. I'm not sure how you know that the "large majority" of users haven't observed that without doing a poll of some kind.

I reject the idea that it is the same as breaking a string when using a pick. This wear occurred on two of my guitars and now it doesn't, simply by not using a capo. You can choose to believe me or not, but I was at the level of using ONLY Cowboy chords in 1st position and noticed accelerated wear on every fret I tended to favor using a capo. Fact.

Being an enhancement is an opinion, not a fact. For me, stopping the use of one enhanced my playing far more than using one. YMMV

Since all fingers of the fretting hand do is create downward pressure on the frets creates FRET wear, why would you think CONSTANT, NONSTOP pressure on a fret would not. If one causes fret wear, it is not plausible that the other would not IMO.

Actually, I think I will create a poll to see what other AGF members have experienced. I may be an anomaly. We shall see.
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  #60  
Old 03-22-2017, 11:37 AM
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Hi Roy,

I'm not going to discredit your experience, I've never seen or touched your guitars and have never observed your playing style so it would be silly for me to try to argue with you. What's funny to me is the fret wear that develops on my guitars (after many years of playing them) occurs on the frets that I rarely capo. Up around the 5th fret where I capo a lot, there's no noticeable fret wear up there whatsoever. Just doesn't make sense to me, but I've got a rather small brain. LOL
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