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Chords With A Capo

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New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 1
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Hey there! I am teaching myself guitar, and I have just started using the capo, but I have run into a confusing spot. For a song I want to play, the capo is on the first fret. Do I play the chords it says to play the normal way they are played? As in, it says to play a Bm but with the capo on the first fret, it will sound like a Cm. Do I still play the Bm? Is that how it is supposed to be? Or do I adjust what note I play. I'm sorry if this makes no sense at all. It's harder to explain in writing than in person. Thank You in advance!!(:

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

Correct - play a Bm and it will sound a Cm, play a D and it will sound Eb, play an E and it will sound F.

Most music will ask you to play the chord shapes that you want, they won't ask you to transpose.

Some music will give you the sound that you get in brackets along with the chord that you're playing e.g. Capo 3 - Play D (F) - you play D and it sounds F. This is really helpful if you want to accompany a singer in the original key but haven't got a capo around and your transposition skills haven't made it to "Instantaneous" yet.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338

I found an interesting article about capos on that you might want to check out.

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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"