Last night I was playing my guitar and was trying to play along with a song that is played with the Capo on the 5th fret, and it just sounded off... like I was out of tune. So, I took off the capo and got out the tuner and made sure all my strings were tuned good and tried again... it still sounded off. When I tried the tuner again, the strings were all tuned correctly, but when I put the capo on the 5th fret... where the E string should be the same as an open A, it actually registered as a big higher on the tuner. Maybe a quarter of a step higher than it should... so would this likely be a problem with the guitar itself (only a couple weeks old) or is my Capo pulling the strings too tightly or is it a misunderstanding on my part and this is normal?

most likely it's an intonation problem. try tuning once you put the capo on.

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It's either intonation, where rocknskate is right, or it might be that the capo is on too tight, pulling your strings out of tune.

If you can loosen the capo, try that, if not, do what rocknskate says.
Quote by Kensai

Awesome guy right here
make sure after you put the capo on
that all the strings are straight and not bent.
Last edited by welby at Aug 27, 2009,
Thanks for the suggestions. Sorry for the newbie questions, but I gotta start somewhere...

What exactly do you mean by intonation? I didn't realize I could actually change the tuning with the capo on, i was a bit concerned that doing so would only loosen or tighten the strings behind the capo. I hope I don't have to re-tune every time I change or remove the capo.

I will also be sure to check that the strings are straight.

Thanks again.
In short, Intonation is basically how "in-tune" the notes are as you go down the fretboard. Making sure fret 12 on the E string is actually an E, and not out of tune. If your intonation is off, your strings will be in tune when played open, but slightly out when fretted further down the fretboard.
Quote by Kensai

Awesome guy right here
So I should be able to test whether it is intonation or whether it is the capo, just by playing on the 5th fret without the capo and checking it with the tuner.. and see if it is as off when fingering the 5th fret as it is with the capo there.
Get a Shubb capo. They can be adjusted so they only put the pressure on the fret that is actually needed.

I got this Kyser clamp capo that is just way too tight. I guess it will be better if I actually used it. However, the "clamp" capos are great for partially capo'ing where the Shubb isn't.
Jdport - yep, that's the way to do it.

I second Rallymonkey's suggestion. I use a shubb capo, so can vouch for it. No problems with it, an it's a sturdy bugger to boot.
Quote by Kensai

Awesome guy right here
Ok..... so I checked and it does seem to be intonation as it was still a little high as I just held the fret. So, my next question is... is that something that I can fix, or do I just have to live with it? Would be a pain to have to re-tune everytime I move the capo... or to live with it (it's not WAY out of tune.. but enough to make it off if i'm trying to play along with the music..)