Skip to content
Notifications
Clear all

capo problem

14 Posts
11 Users
0 Likes
2,638 Views
(@davisaggie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

I noticed an odd problem when using a capo with my ibanez acoustic the other day. I had just tuned up my guitar for a practice session and was playing fine. A couple songs in I needed to use my capo, but after putting it on, it sounded out of tune. When I took off the capo it was fine. I checked it out with my tuner and sure enough, with the capo on the second fret the guitar was now out of tune. What I thought was really odd was if I played a F# barre it sounded fine.

Any one else have this happen before? Is there a way to "fix" it? For now I just retune when I put on the capo and when I take it off, but that's a bit of a hastle.


   
Quote
(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

Have you got quite high frets? It might be that the capo is squeezing the strings harder than you do with the F# and pulling them out of tune. Can you loosen it at all without causing a buzzing?

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
ReplyQuote
(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 297
 

I have been having the exact same issue.

Check out the thread I posted for the suggestions people had.

I'll probably be taking mine to a luthier nonetheless; it won't hurt to have a general check-up anyway. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
ReplyQuote
(@leear)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 392
 

i learned how to solve this problem a long time ago..... i'm not being a smart &*( by any means... Learn to play without a capo. its not hard by any means. I understand if you're a begginer it might be difficult for barre chords (or not) but that is even better get hard on it now and when you progress as a player it will be a piece of cake........... I used a capo for 1 month and i've never looked back..... You learn more chords and positons w/o it and better enhances your playing... All my friends use capos and when we play they can't stand that I don't and it also makes it more difficult for pick lead parts because you shorten your neck in that sense.... but thats just my 2 cents.... if its even that

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location


   
ReplyQuote
(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

I don't want to be a "smart &*(" either Leear, but I've always been the same - I've said "capos are the spawn of the devil", literally, just about every time anyone's mentioned one for years... and now in the last couple of months I've come around and will be caving very shortly. There's one song in particular that is just a little too low for me to sing comfortably, but it's not in the least bit feasible for me to rearrange the chords without destroying the feel:
-0-0-0-0-1-4-0-
-1-1-1-1-1-4-1-
-0-0-2-0-2-5-0-
-2-0-2-0-3-6-2-
-3-2-0-2-3-6-3-
-------3-1-4---

I'm all for not being defeatist, but I know my (current) limits :) Now I've just got to find one that I can afford with pocket change and doesn't get in the way on the 'open' chords :roll:

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
ReplyQuote
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

i like em so that you can get a mandolin feel or something like that if you want by capoing up high... or just to get a different sound. i don't use them much, and i've lost so many that i'm not sure they're worth it, but i think to take a dislike to them is kind of strange.


   
ReplyQuote
(@gallileo)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 14
 

A capo can be used in two ways:

First, it can be used as a crutch, because playing in a certain key is hard for you--this is the use mentioned by leear, and while it's ok, especially for beginners, you really are served in the long run by learning to play in the key you need to play in. I personally don't find anything wrong with it, but you will be a better guitarist if you can play in more keys rather than fewer.

But the second reason is truly a legitimate and good use for a capo: when you want to play in a certain key, but need chord voicings or fingerings from a different key. A couple of examples:

I play duets with my wife all the time. Say we are playing in G. If we both play open chords, then the guitars sound a lot the same and muddy. But if one of us capos up and uses a different set of chords, and therefore different voicings, but is still playing in G, you can get very cool sounds.

Another example, Slaid Cleaves plays the song, "Broke Down" in D, with a very cool riff at the beginning. All the tabs out on the net have horribly painful fingering for this riff, and don't sound exactly right, even though they are in the right key. When I say him in concert, he played "Broke Down" capoed on the second fret, with the C-shaped forms. I went home and tried it, and the riff just works naturally in C--no funny fingerings (the trick is a simple hammer-on and pull-off on the third string that is simple, simple in C, but messy in D).

I had been working on this song for weeks without a huge amount of success, but with a capo and evening I had it down cold, even though I had thrown out most of what I knew about it before. I had thought Cleaves was an incredibly dextrous guitarist, but it just turns out he is just a smart guitarist.


   
ReplyQuote
(@phinnin)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 138
 

Awesome post Gallileo. The altered voicing aspect of a capo makes it amazing. Its wonderfull when you play a song you know in open chords and it doesn't sound "quite" right. You know its the right progression but not quite there. THen you try a capo and just tweak out that voicing with a capo. BANG! sounds perfect. Fun stuff.

Can make you lazy if your not carefull as stated already.

Don't hate em though.


   
ReplyQuote
(@jwishart77)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 91
 

I find that unless I'm careful placing my capo the guitar will sound out.

Obviously some guitars are worse than others and may have some set up issues, but generally, if my guitar sounds out of tune with a capo then i will remove the capo and put it on again, being extra careful to align it straight. This works most of the time for me anyway.

Even with a perfectly setup guitar it is possible to put a capo on it and have it sound out of tune if you're not careful.


   
ReplyQuote
(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Like most things, capos can wear out with use. It's nowhere near as noticable but it does happen and one of the ways it happens is that the hard rubber of the capo gets a little worn (and this is why you don't generally leave a capo on for any extended period of time). Also think about when you use your finger as a barre for barre chords. Sometimes you get it right in the right place and sometimes you're a little off and you get some "tunky" notes.

When putting on a capo it doesn't hurt to do some fine tuning adjustments. Most guitars (depending on the action) and most strings (depending on age and wear) won't have any problems but you will occasionally have to do some tweaking. Whenever one does studio recording, it's rare to not recheck the tuning with a tuner.

And again, when taking the capo off, it doesn't hurt to double check the tuning. Again, most guitars and strings won't be affected (or affected so that you'd notice) but it depends on numerous circumstances. You've just put your strings through a bit of a work out and physics dictates that there is some wear and give someplace.

As for whether or not a capo is a crutch, it's simply another tool at your disposal and you can use it or not use it as you see fit. For many, it's actually more of a liberating tool rather than a restricting one. You get to come up with ways to create arrangements that take advantage of a guitar's ringing open string sound while playing in places where that sound (not to mention the fingering) would be impossible without it. This is especially true on the acoustic, with songs like Scarborough Fair, Here Comes The Sun, Lyle Lovett's If I had A Boat and many, many more.

So you need to take a minute and a half to recheck things? If that's the major hardship of playing, you're having a good day! :wink:

Peace


   
ReplyQuote
(@leear)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 392
 

i will admit the lead singer/rythm player in our christian band uses 2 capos... He learned that double capo stuff its cool because its like and alternate tuning... i've played with it and I like it for blue grass becasue you can capo it to be like... open G or Open d and then go to town onpicking and strumming those awesome bluegrass tunes (I.E. Song from O Brother Where Art Thou)

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location


   
ReplyQuote
(@davisaggie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

i learned how to solve this problem a long time ago..... i'm not being a smart &*( by any means... Learn to play without a capo. its not hard by any means. I understand if you're a begginer it might be difficult for barre chords (or not) but that is even better get hard on it now and when you progress as a player it will be a piece of cake

I completely agree with you leear, and in fact that is what I am striving towards. The problem I have with that is two fold right now. One, most of the time we get the songs for our christian band the night we are going to play them at church so there is not really time to be learning new chords, which kind of makes me use "capo magic" to pick up the song quickly. Second is with working two jobs right now I don't have as much time as I would like to devote to learning barre chords. Third (ok I lied about the number) my fingers just don't seem to like the A barre chord shape so my progression with that is a lot slower then with E shapes.

Some good news though, I took the suggestions posted here and in the thread mentioned by Bennett. Changing the strings cleared up the problem. I guess even coated strings should be changed once in a while :oops: oops. Thanks to all for your suggestions.


   
ReplyQuote
(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 536
 

so you and leear are claiming that a capo is to prevent laziness???
so basically George Harrison (Capo on Here Comes the Sun), Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher and others used capos because they couldn't be bothered learning chords?
Rubbish, they are used to give different voicings to suit songs not as a barre replacement as many people have already mentioned.


   
ReplyQuote
(@wishus)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 53
 

Sometimes a song will have a "signature" riff, lick, or chord progression that involves open chords and/or open strings. If you play different chord voicings, it doesn't sound right - it sounds like a cheap imitation. Or, maybe because of the open strings used in the lick, it's impossible to play the lick in another key. If this song was originally done in G, and you show up to the gig and the band leader wants it in Ab, you had better have a capo. In this case, the capo is the only way to play the song correctly. If you play bar chords or something to get the song into Ab, you're going to sound like an amateur. It happened to me last weekend - I had to play two songs with a capo, because they had "signature" open-chord progressions.

As for tuning problems, make sure the capo is not bending any strings. If you slide the capo on from the side, sometimes it can clamp down putting a slight bend on the strings. I always open it up and make sure it comes straight down on the strings. If I do that, and use a good capo, I don't have any problems.

Third Take a blog about home recording


   
ReplyQuote