#1
So I am relatively new to the guitar (acoustic); I have about 10 good chords I'm comfortable with and can play about 15 songs.

But I've never gotten a capo until now, and I don't know why I ever waited. This thing is amazing.

I spent about $20 and got one of those nice ones that just clips on and off, with no screwing or adjustment necessary, and it was a key purchase.

Not only does it seem that every darn song I want to learn these days transposes with one, but it also makes previously impossible songs possible to play.

I have been struggling trying to get the chords to "Why Don't You & I" down for a while now with limited success. I was going off of a tab that recommended I use Bb-F-Gm-D#.

But those chords are HARD, especially for someone who's not very good, and on acoustic to boot. Hitting the Bb-F-Gm-D# requires a lot of wrist strength and good technique to consistently (and quickly) bar and hit the notes.

The capo, however, turns this thing to easy mode. If you just bar the first fret: magic. A-E-F#m-D

Even a rookie like me can manage that, and now I can focus on the singing, which is why I wanted to learn it in the first place.

So I know that some of the old hats here might look down on it, but I just wanted to share how excited I am to have one. I suddenly feel like there's so many possibilities that weren't there before.
#2
So you're using a capo as a crutch since you can't play the chords with your hands. Bad idea.

Also, this isn't even close to being the right place for this.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#4
Quote by TotallyDavis
There are plenty of thing that can be debated,There are plenty of thing that can be debated,Not only does it seem that every darn song I want to learn these days transposes with one, but it also makes previously impossible songs possible to play.
A lot of pros use capos on acoustics. This contradicts what amateur guitar snobs will say about using them.

Quote by TotallyDavis
I have been struggling trying to get the chords to "Why Don't You & I" down for a while now with limited success. I was going off of a tab that recommended I use Bb-F-Gm-D#.
In this context, (the key of Bb major), what you call "D#", is actually Eb. Those are chords within the key of Bb, and key signatures don't employ mixing sharps and flats. You have either have all sharps, or all flats.

Quote by TotallyDavis
But those chords are HARD, especially for someone who's not very good, and on acoustic to boot. Hitting the Bb-F-Gm-D# requires a lot of wrist strength and good technique to consistently (and quickly) bar and hit the notes.
Life is hard, get used to it. However, the guitar is not tuned to deal with flat keys. The string names are all those of sharp keys. So, Bb, Eb, and especially Ab & Db are very often played with a capo. This is done to preserve open chord shapes and allow the open strings to ring. It isn't necessarily done to make a piece easier to play, that's just a huge bonus.

Quote by TotallyDavis
So I know that some of the old hats here might look down on it, but I just wanted to share how excited I am to have one. I suddenly feel like there's so many possibilities that weren't there before.
Naw man, I love capos. I play mostly 12 strings, which I keep in "D standard tuning", (a whole step down), which drops the string tension on the guitar considerably. I also find there are many, many times when you can't pick out a song by ear and make it sound right, until you place a capo on the same fret as the original rhythm guitarist is using one. It 's the whole chord "voicing", or "shape" issue, however you prefer to think of it.

However,you still need to learn barre chords effectively, especially the F barre at the first fret, as you really can't play the whole key of C without it.

You have the right idea, to use a capo to bring a song into your vocal range, but it still won't prevent you from needing barre chords no matter where you place it.

My only objection, (and it's not a big one mind you), this really isn't a topic or "thread" per se, but more of a "blog".

So, as they say on TV legal dramas, "is there a question in here somewhere"?

BTW, since you're new to the guitar, and this is an acoustic we're talking, have you had it, "set up" properly? A lot of times guitars are shipped with the "action" too high. That just means the strings are too high above the fretboard. Which will make the guitar unnecessarily difficult to play. So, have a competent tech look at your guitar, and perhaps he or she can lower the strings for you. That could possibly take a bit of the pain and grunt work out of playing for you.

The down side is, if the strings are already at the correct height, you'll have to deal with what you have. Another solution is to put lighter strings on the guitar as well, which will make it even easier to play, but it does have its pros and cons.

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about setting up a steel string acoustic, http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html but almost definitely should leave to a pro, for at least the first time around.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 7, 2013,
#5
I bought a nice capo like 2 or 3 years ago, and i still haven't took it out of the packaging.. I play a lot of acoustic too, i just haven't found the need to use it yet :|
#6
"So you're using a capo as a crutch since you can't play the chords with your hands. Bad idea. Also, this isn't even close to being the right place for this"

Sorry, I'm new to this forum, and am learning. Where should blog type posts like this go?

"Great! Now you dont have to work on chords you cant play and get better!"

Guitar Hero mode activate! But srs, I intend to continue to improve, but until then I can still play the songs I like, and I don't have to wait until I can bar a perfect G or C down the fret to do so.

Captaincranky, wow. Thank you for a long and well written response.

I am reading through your explanation of how 'the flats are a lie' and will add it to my understanding.

When you say that the capo is usually used to preserve the open chord shapes though and let them 'ring', with the side effect of them being easier to play, it would seem that those are complimentary effects. For example, if I was Level 100 Guitarist, I could bar the fret so well that any chords I played with it would sound just as good as if I were using a capo.

And don't worry about my F; it was my nemesis the last time I picked up guitar. I think (imho) that F is the second real barrier to teaching yourself guitar. Either you stop there, or you overcome.

I think I had to accept that my F won't sound very good at first, and even now (after a lot of practice) my F doesn't sound great, but passes. I also have smaller fingers, so imagine my frustration while trying to teach my wife guitar, when I explain how difficult F will be, and she (with her long fingers) just does a very passable F right out the gate. RAGE.

But yes, I made sure that I can do/know all major and minor chords effectively without a capo (including B). I agree that if I couldn't do that, it might become a crutch.

As far as the action, it seems the strings are sitting about a millimeter or two above the frets... but you're right. I will take it in and ask about that. I have light strings, but every time I play on Medium strings I am reminded of the hit in sound quality I am taking because of my lighter strings. I just really enjoy the deeper sound they make. So I'll see about getting some mediums put on there and if the action can be lowered.

Thanks for the link and thanks for great response, and forgive this being in the wrong place. What forum should blog type entries / YouTube videos like this go on?
#7
Blogs like this don't really belong anywhere on UG. Maybe in The Pit if you're lucky, but it probably won't last long there either. It belongs on a site dedicated to blogs. Blogs and forums aren't the same thing.

Also, there's no such thing as a "level 100 guitarist". Guitar isn't measured. Especially not in levels, or what you can and can't play.

And what's this about you teaching your wife? If I've read all of this right, you're still just learning yourself.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#8
Quote by Junior#1
Blogs like this don't really belong anywhere on UG. Maybe in The Pit if you're lucky, but it probably won't last long there either. It belongs on a site dedicated to blogs. Blogs and forums aren't the same thing.
How and when to use a capo, and what useful purposes they can serve, certainly IS a topic for "Guitar Technique". All that needs to be done, (at least in the future), is to post the "Jeopardy" version.

Which is of course, phrase the answer in the form of a question.

TS would be more than welcome in the, "Acoustic and Classic Guitar" forum, provided that he tone down the rhetoric a bit, and turn the declarations into questions.

Personally, I enjoy answering beginner's questions, as opposed to "sending then elsewhere", which is something hospitals used to do to people with no health care insurance.

Like trolley cars, I'm sure they'll be another "mode" thread coming along any minute @ MT. I don't know about you, but I always enjoy a good troll-in, complete with video responses.

It's just a random thought, with of course no disrespect intended, but perhaps your talents would be better utilized in that "arena"....