Tag Archives for " guitar capo "


Using A Partial Capo (Cool Trick)

partial-guitar-capoIn previous guitar lessons I’ve covered how to use a guitar capo and how to transpose with a guitar capo, but in this lesson we’re going to take a slightly different approach to the capo – we’re going to only use it on part of the fretboard!

So grab your guitar capo, and place it on the second fret – but don’t let it touch the low E string, the 6th string. (See the pic on the left) Leave as much room as possible for that string, because it will be vibrating and buzzing around a bit, and it does need it’s personal space! Remember, it’s a good idea to re-check the tuning on your guitar at this point.

What we’ve done here is create a tuning that looks like this: E-B-E-A-C#-F#. This is very similar to Drop D tuning, which would be the same thing but a whole tone down. However, there is one major difference, and that is that we’ve not actually changed the tuning; we added a capo. Therefore, the intervals between the strings are the same as in standard tuning, and none of our chord shapes break, unless they’re using the open 6th string.

What I mean by that is you can go ahead and play a G major the same as you normally would, (properly moving up two frets to accommodate the capo of course) and there is no problem. In Drop D tuning, you’d have to totally change how you created that G major chord, because of the difference in tuning.

So that presents some interesting possibilities, chief of which is getting that low E to really ring out nice and beautifully, while shifting everything else into a slightly higher pitch. In my ever so humble opinion, this creates a really cool effect, and it’s something I’ve been playing around with quite a bit since I shot this video.

So grab your guitar and capo, and let’s dig into a few cool things that you can do with this alternate tuning.

Watch on Youtube


Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review

The Planet Waves Capo Tuner is an ingenious gadget that has rolled (most of) the functionality of a tuner and a capo into one unit. I say (most of) because this tuner doesn’t have any way of indicating which note you are on, but only whether or not the note you are playing is on pitch or not.

Planet Waves Capo TunerFunctionally speaking, I didn’t find this was a problem. Unless you’re de-tuning to some other tuning entirely, or re-stringing your guitar, then I find that most times my guitar is pretty close to standard tuning when I pick it up. It is for these types of tweaks that this capo tuner works just great – in fact, most of the time having a note displayed at me is a waste of time anyways, except for the situations I mentioned already.

So how does the tuner work if it doesn’t have a readout? Simple – it uses a three light system, with a few different colors of lights. It is intuitive and easy to use. Because it works off the vibrations in your guitar, you can literally have it clamped onto any part of your guitar and it will work. This means you can use this as a tuner either on the fretboard, while capo’d, or just clamped onto the headstock as a tuner.

We’ve talked about the “tuner” part of this – but this capo tuner is exactly that – a capo AND a tuner.

As a capo, the Planet Waves unit works nicely. My main complaint against these spring loaded capos is that they normally don’t have any sort of tension adjustment, which reduces their ability to perfectly adjust to different instruments. However, as you can see from the picture, this capo tuner does have a tension adjustment, which works quite well.

I’ve used this capo tuner on acoustic and electric 6 string guitars, and it worked fine on both. It is advertised to work well on 12 strings as well, but I haven’t had a chance to test that yet.

I found the capo tuner comfortable and quick to use one-handed. Whenever you use a capo, there’s going to be a bit of adjusting to get it to work well with the curvature of your guitar neck, but I quickly discovered that if I put it on a slight angle compared to the frets it works best for me.

If you’d like to get one of these for yourself, they’re available for a good price at Amazon.

Full disclosure: Planet Waves / D’Addario was kind enough to send me one of these capo tuners for review purposes.

Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review:

Watch the Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review on Youtube


How To Transpose Chords With a Guitar Capo

Kyser Guitar CapoLast time I made a lesson on how to use a guitar capo, I left out an important bit of information: how to transpose chords properly so that you remain in the same key as the rest of the band.

Today that’s what we’re talking about.

Random Fact: Did you know ‘capo’ also means a mafia boss? Ok… back to guitar.

So the rule of thumb that I get into in the video is basically this:

If you move the capo UP X number of frets, you need to transpose your guitar chords DOWN by the same number of semitones. Follow that?

Each fret is a semitone, right? so in order to maintain the balance, if you go up with the capo, you need to go down with your open chords.

This might be a bit confusing, but keep in mind you’re not actually changing keys. The only sense in which you’re changing keys is in that you’re changing to the open chord shapes of a particular key. The whole idea is to remain in the same key right?

Hopefully that becomes more clear in the video. Any questions… you know what to do.