Home » What Is A Capo? How And Why To Use A Capo On Guitar

What Is A Capo? How And Why To Use A Capo On Guitar

by Steven Brown

A capo is a device that clamps onto a guitar neck to shorten the string length. Guitar capos come in many shapes and sizes (and incredibly easy to use), but all have the same function: to shorten the vibrating section of the strings.

To Change The Key

The largest population using guitar capos are players who also sing, or accompany singers. You will see guitar capos used a lot by acoustic guitar players in this context.

Using a capo, a guitar player can play any chord progression he/she already knows, but have those chords sound in different keys. The key of a song just depends on where they put the capo. This simple action makes it incredibly simple to change keys.

Additionally, the guitar capo can cut the need for bar chords or playing in less-familiar locations on the guitar neck.

Brighten the Sound-Help the guitar cut through ambient noise

This can help the guitar be more easily heard among all the dancing and clapping in flamenco music (And various other types of Spanish Guitar Music). Outside flamenco, other guitarists use capos for this same purpose: to help the guitar “cut through” ambient noise.

To Get A Specific Sound

In some pieces, a composer will call for a classical guitar capo. This is usually to get a specific effect.

They may want the guitar to sound like a different instrument, such as a lute or mandolin. Or they may want the sound of pieces to contrast with each other in a suite or collection. Some pieces create unique sounds by capoing only some of the strings or altering the capo in some way . Some composers take this idea one step further by combining alternate tunings with a guitar capo.

Capos can also be helpful if you need to transpose a chord progression on the fly when jamming with other musicians. For example, let’s say a fellow musician wants to play in B flat major. That key can be tiring to play on guitar for long periods of time since you’ll have to hold a bar chord position for most of the song. But with a capo, you can simply place it on the first fret and play in the more comfortable key of A major!

If you’re someone who uses a capo often, you know the importance of having a versatile capo that can get the job done. Most importantly, you need a capo that will be strong a secure to prevent any buzzing or string muting.

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