If i play a song that begins with a G chord, does that mean the song is in the key of G??

If i play the same song with a capo on 2, still playing the G, what key is that in??

Can you please tell me the formula to work this out they key when i put the capo on?

Thanks
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well, if you put the capo on the second fret, you're raising the pitch by a full step, making that G chord now an A chord.

and just cause you start off a song with a G doesn't necessarily mean that the key is G. it could be D major, B minor, C Major... you're just happening to start on G.
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Last edited by randomhero93 at Nov 10, 2011,
The keys are different. The chord is referred to as G because without a capo and the guitar tuned in standard, it would be a G. When it has a capo, the chord is referred to as G because of the shape of the chord (meaning where you put your fingers), not because of the actual note.

To answer your question though, a G chord with the capo on 2 is actually an A chord and is probably in the key of A.

To figure this out for other chords, just look at the lowest note of the chord, (in this case would be the 5th fret of the E string) and find out which note it is to find the actual name of the chord.
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I am even more confused now. I thought there was a formula to use but now i wish i didn't ask that question.
The cat taught the tiger everything he knows. One day the tiger turned on the cat and the cat ran up a tree. That was the one thing the cat never taught the tiger.
Using a capo on the 2nd fret is like tuning all of your strings up 1 step, or one tone. Your new tuning would be F# B E A C# F#. All of your chord shapes and scales still apply, they are now just a step higher.
Thank you all.

Is there not a standard way to figure it out? What is a capo 5 d major? capo 2 a minor? capo7 d minor? capo1 f major?

I don't even know if this makes sense!
The cat taught the tiger everything he knows. One day the tiger turned on the cat and the cat ran up a tree. That was the one thing the cat never taught the tiger.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B (C)

There are twelve notes. Each note is on a different fret on the string. That ^ is the order, it repeats. If you stick the capo on the fifth fret and play an open D shape chord then the chord will be five semi-tones/half-steps/notes higher than D. You do the math.

Learn the names of the strings, memorise the notes of the frets on the E and A strings (at least - learn every note on all strings if you can), this will make finding barre/powerchords easy and it will make transposing chord shapes with a capo easier to understand - you wont be transposing shapes up and down by a number of frets, you will be transposing notes.

Learn a bit about the chords you play - learn which of the notes in the chord are the root notes (ie the G's in a G chord). Learn to play all yer chords in a couple positions, eg. a D major chord could be played open D shape, 5th fret 'A' shape D, 10th fret 'E' shape D. There are fingerings in-between too.

Run a google search or search on this site for the CAGED system.
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Last edited by Hydra150 at Nov 11, 2011,
Quote by The Daver
Thank you all.

Is there not a standard way to figure it out? What is a capo 5 d major? capo 2 a minor? capo7 d minor? capo1 f major?

I don't even know if this makes sense!

Do you know why barre chords are the way they are? You should be able to deduce a chord with the capo on a certain fret quickly if you know how barre chords work.

Press, say, an A chord. If you barre the first fret while keeping the shape you're looking at an A# chord. Move up to barre the second fret and you're looking at a B chord.

So on and so forth.
Last edited by triface at Nov 11, 2011,
Using a capo doesn't change the key as such, if you play an E major chord, as in the notes E G# and B then it is always an E major chord regardless of the shape those notes form, where you play those notes or where the capo is, and if your song resolves to that chord then it's always in E major.

However, if all you're doing is looking at chord shapes and identifying them solely by their shapes and position relative to the capo then yes, effectively the capo has "changed the key".
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Have a look into the CAGED system as said above, and learn barre chords. All a capo really does is save you having to barre at that fret. You can play all those chords without a capo, though there is nothing wrong with using one if you know that it is only changing the chords you play.

Look at your F barre chord. If you put a capo on fret 1, and play an E shape chord, that is the same as your F at the first fret. The capo replaces your finger. Move your capo to fret 2, play an E shape, you get an F#, and so on.

This works the same for all open chords, but try not to get confused with chord 'shape' names and the actual chord you are playing. The key is determined by the actual chords/notes you play and whilst the capo does change the key, it only changes it because you are playing different chords.
Thank you to all who replied.

I hate using the capo, but if a song i like only makes sense with a capo on 2, playing a G shape (for example) then i play it that way.

Believe it or not i actually know all the notes on the guitar and can play barre chords too. Physically that is! I don't understand them enough to start creating chords myself.

The song i refer to is C, G and D with capo on 2. I now know this is D, A and E with open chords as they all move up one whole step.

That is an easy example but there are many others that aren't so easy to work out when you know the bare minimum.

And i have looked at the CAGED system and it made my brain hurt. I also have a good book that taught me notes etc but i had to stop at the circle of fifths on page 12 as that was as far as i could go.

I want to understand more but just can't find the right video/method/teacher/book to get it all. I'm so close but can't work it out!!
The cat taught the tiger everything he knows. One day the tiger turned on the cat and the cat ran up a tree. That was the one thing the cat never taught the tiger.
Quote by The Daver

The song i refer to is C, G and D with capo on 2. I now know this is D, A and E with open chords as they all move up one whole step.

That is an easy example but there are many others that aren't so easy to work out when you know the bare minimum.

That example is no harder than any other when you think about it!

To work out other ones you work it out exactly the same way, but it may be 4 frets up, or whatever. Try to keep it simple, and don't bite off more than your brain can cope with at one time. For CAGED stuff try a book called Fretboard Logic, and for making your own chords have a look in the stickies on UG. Theres a lot of information in there, and it can be overwhelming.

After a while the relationships between chords, keys, and scales will make a lot more sense. The fretboard will really open up to you once a few things click in your brain.

It all takes time, but every little thing you learn all adds up in the end.

One thing you really shouldn't forget is to have FUN and enjoy your guitar, always make that your number one priority

Paul
Quote by NorthernPaul
That example is no harder than any other when you think about it!

To work out other ones you work it out exactly the same way, but it may be 4 frets up, or whatever. Try to keep it simple, and don't bite off more than your brain can cope with at one time. For CAGED stuff try a book called Fretboard Logic, and for making your own chords have a look in the stickies on UG. Theres a lot of information in there, and it can be overwhelming.

After a while the relationships between chords, keys, and scales will make a lot more sense. The fretboard will really open up to you once a few things click in your brain.

It all takes time, but every little thing you learn all adds up in the end.

One thing you really shouldn't forget is to have FUN and enjoy your guitar, always make that your number one priority

Paul

I understand you would probably work it out with the theory of step, step, half-step, step, step, step, half-step. But believe it or not it's not that easy! It's ok when it's 'whole' chords but it's harder to work out with sharps, flats, minors or whatever.

My book is Fretboard Roadmaps and i presume it's along the same lines. It has some great info in it but i only wish i could understand it all. It's just too much and i regularly bite off more than my brain can cope with!

I'm glad you said every little thing adds up in the end, cos i know lots and lots of little things. I have no direction or plan and keep learning random bits like a blues scale then a fingerpicking pattern then the fretboard notes then major 7th chords then strumming patterns! etc etc etc! I jump from one style to the next and get bits and bobs of everything.

And i'm sad to say, i don't have as much fun now as i did when i started learning 4 years ago. Mainly cos i get pissed off at not being able to understand it all. Learning Gs and As was much more satisfying :-)

Cheers Paul, i'll keep pluggin away.
The cat taught the tiger everything he knows. One day the tiger turned on the cat and the cat ran up a tree. That was the one thing the cat never taught the tiger.
You sound a lot like me with jumping from one thing to the next, and just to clarify I'm not a theory expert or anything. I've been playing 2 years, I'm 35 and purely play guitar for my own pleasure.

The thing with Fretboard Logic is that it's a bombardment of information. I read through it a couple of times about a year ago, but it didn't immediately make me a god of CAGED chords. In fact I haven't really used it that much because nothing I was learning required me to use it. I was more aware of it in the back of my mind. And it's not a system or a cheat, it just the way the fretboard is, the sort of thing you would learn eventually anyway.

The funny thing is, a blues book I'm working through recently moved into adding a chord to the basic 12 bar progression, and it just happened to be a 'C shape' F at the 5th fret (it's a flat VI chord in the progression if that interests you). It might sound crazy, but suddenly I know that chord. And I know the rest of that chord shape on all the frets as well because the F has given me a reference point. Now it's just like the E string with the E shape barre chords.

I would definitely say that actually practicing something musical is the way to get it to stick in your head and make sense of what and why you are doing it. If you think of when you first started out and didn't know a chord, those 3 chord songs that were so hard at first. Now those chords are part of you. And then you moved on, oh look theres a song I really like but whats that weird chord? You learn it as part of a song and it sticks for life.

It may not work for anyone else, but from now on I'm actually going to USE the knowledge in a musical way as I really believe thats the key to learning. And yes every little bit adds up, one day you'll have a eureka moment and realise that a few little things add up to one big thing and you'll laugh and think it was obvious!

As for direction and plan, I can't say what that should be, but for me I discovered that studying Blues is keeping me progressing nicely, and its fun and I love playing it. Both the lead and rhythm parts, as they are both related. I also often just grab my acoustic and strum away to some of my favourite songs, and theres nothing wrong with that either;-)

Sorry for the long post, but I think we can all learn from each others experiences whether we use them or not. At the end of the day we're all different and what works for one person may not work for the next. It's all about finding out what works for YOU!

Good luck mate, you sound like you want to progress, and a good attitude and desire to improve is something not enough people have!

Paul
Think about this. When you play a G in standard, it's a G chord. If you place the capo on the 1st fret, that G chord shape becomes a G# or Ab, thus making the G shape on the 2nd fret an A. Now as for the key, I'm not entirely sure, as people have told me it is whatever fret the capo is on.
Think about this. When you play a G in standard, it's a G chord. If you place the capo on the 1st fret, that G chord shape becomes a G# or Ab, thus making the G shape on the 2nd fret an A. Now as for the key, I'm not entirely sure, as people have told me it is whatever fret the capo is on.

People have told you wrong, the key is where the piece resolves to.

Also: why would you resurrect this thread?
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