Capo: What It Is and How to Use It

A brief explanation of a popular musical accessory.

Ultimate Guitar
A capo, is NOT as I have heard some claim, some mystical extremely advanced technique, achievable only by the greatest of shredders.

What it actually is, is a small tool you can attach to the neck of your guitar, which holds down all the strings, thus changing the key of the notes you play. You can put it anywhere you like, it will work across the entire fretboard, unless of course the neck of the guitar is too wide to allow for proper placement (this is possible).

When a capo is attached, the fret directly down from the capo-held fret becomes the first fret on your instrument. You play only in the area lower than the held fret. Which means if the capo is on your 4th fret, you should only be playing notes or chords on the 5th fret and down.


Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive" (Capo on the 2nd fret)
This is played on the 3rd, 4th and 5th frets with a capo on the 2nd.

Any questions?

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Capos are great for finding new chord-voicings and changing keys, but will get in the way for lead playing on electric in my experience. Take a note of caution and make sure you buy one that has adjustable tension, otherwise the capo will seriously speed up fretwear due to pressing down harder on the frets than what the player would.