How To Use A Guitar Capo

Guitar for beginners poses a lot of questions that aren't often heard or imagined until someone begins to play. Since many who are just starting out on the guitar do so in an informal setting, they aren't aware of the various equipment used by advanced players and professionals to achieve a perfect sound. One of those tools that all guitar players should know how to use is the capo.

What is a Guitar Capo?

When you're playing the guitar, you'll need to learn how to adjust the pitch of strings in order to achieve certain chords that comprise a song. Once you move past basic chords and melodies, you'll want to be able to play songs in different pitches that suit the style of music you're playing or are adjusted to better complement the voice of a singer you're playing with. A guitar capo is a device that clamps down across a certain fret of a guitar's fingerboard.  This shortens the playable portion of the guitar strings, thus increasing the pitch of the chords.

How Do I Use a Guitar Capo?

Learning how to use a guitar capo requires understanding what portions of the strings affect one another and how applying a capo will change the pitch of your chords. When you apply a capo to a guitar's fingerboard, you will place it across a particular fret. One half-step is needed for each fret.

So, for example, placing the guitar capo at the third fret will change the E strings to Gs, since this is three half-steps higher in pitch than E. All of the corresponding strings will become higher in pitch, so B will become D, G will become Bb, D will become F and A will become C. You won't be able to play anything below the capo - it is only played above it on the neck of the guitar.

The first step when learning how to use a guitar capo is understanding the chords of a guitar and how they work together. This way, you'll know how to apply the capo to particular frets in order to achieve a desired sound. Guitar capos take time and patience, just like learning the chords themselves, but once you learn, you'll be able to change the pitch of songs and play more complicated rhythms without having to constantly tune your guitar or try to adjust the sound manually during a performance.

Where to Buy a Guitar Capo

You can find a guitar capo at online music stores, Amazon and by visiting stores in person. The type of capo that you buy will depend on your instrument and the type of musical effect you want to achieve. Acoustic guitar beginners can buy a simple acoustic guitar capo and use it as an introduction to the tool, and as they develop their skills and perhaps switch over to the electric guitar, they can look into other guitar capos like a strap-on, trigger-style or toggle capo to diversify their playing.