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Capo & Tuning question


(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I've got a 5-string Tele. Low E removed to be more like Keef, and tuned to g-d-g-b-d. I didn't do the string removal until recently, but bit the bullet and snipped away. I had to change the intonation on the low g, but other than that, it's in decent shape. The action might be a touch high, but I'm leaving it there in case I ever learn some slide in open-G. Whatever.

Now when I place my capo on the 4th fret for Happy or the 5th fret for You Can't Always Get What You Want, it appears to squeeze the strings out of tune. My basis for diagnosis is that it's totally fine if I barre the chords, but my capo makes things too sharp.

My question is this. Do I need to find some sort of adjustable capo due to the 6th string exiting history? Other suggestions?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@crkt246)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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The capo might be to tight.


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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Yup ... for changing key so you can use familiar open fingerings of chords rather than barre chords, very popular on acoustic instruments. I watched a guy playing acoustic that used a capo and he would tweak his tuning every time he clamped it into another position. Just a thought, I don't use one.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@trguitar)
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No, it would still be open tuning ... just a different key. Every string would be raised the same number of steps.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@crkt246)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 596
 

Yup ... for changing key so you can use familiar open fingerings of chords rather than barre chords, very popular on acoustic instruments. I watched a guy playing acoustic that used a capo and he would tweak his tuning every time he clamped it into another position. Just a thought, I don't use one.Oh very cool, So does that mean you can keep the guitar in Open G tuning and still play some of ac/dc's in standard or am I way OFF?

You are way off say if you are in open G and you put the capo at the 2ed fret you will have open A tuning when you strum it open.


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(@slejhamer)
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The capo might be to tight.

+1.

Try positioning the capo immediately behind the fret, almost right on it. I have to do this with my Kyser capo.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I watched a guy playing acoustic that used a capo and he would tweak his tuning every time he clamped it into another position.

That's the key to it as far as I can see. Sometimes you need to tweak the tuning a bit, and sometimes you can get away with leaving it alone, it seems to depend on the capo and whereabouts on the fret you fit it.

Any movement of a string - either downwards pressure across a fret area, or sideways for a bend - will stretch the string a little and change the pitch a bit. The minimum pressure needed is only to hold the string firmly against the fret wire, not necessarily hard down on the neck behind it. If you add the width of some capos into the equation then you can get a push down/stretch effect that's more than with a normal fingering. Removing the thickest string (which would be the hardest for the capo to distort) would probably make it that much easier for the capo to push and stretch too.

I've had success with versions of Slej's tip about positioning, and also simply doing a quick retune and tweak. You might find that a less tight capo works well too, but I've also found that the looser they are the more carefully you need to position them. So some sort of tweak and/or accuracy check usually seems to be needed anyway.

Cheers,

Chris


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(@gnease)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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The capo might be to tight.

+1.

+1

Try positioning the capo immediately behind the fret, almost right on it. I have to do this with my Kyser capo.

Maybe. maybe not. Best positioning and tension are going to depend on the capo design. For some designs, right "on" the fret would not detune if the capo force pushes the string amlost directly onto the top of the fret, as slej describes -- no string stretching. However, right behind the fret with too much force could be worst case -- especially with a capo with a hard, inelastic string-contact material. So also try moving away from the target fret (toward headstock) to the fingerboard area centered between the frets, and clamp with just enough force to keep from buzzing when strumming "open" (to capoed fret). If you still have issues, switch to a capo with a softer rubber contact area and try again.

What kind of capo do you have, Roy?

-=tension & release=-


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

I've got now three of them. One of those spring-loaded Kaysers as my first go to capo. That was way too tight. My second capo (and the first one I owned) is one of those non-curved, starp & knotched cheapos. Obviously, it was a bad fit for my Tele. A lot of wiggling & messing with to get it to apply the right tension AND fret the strings AND get it close.

I tried placing the Kayser all over the fret (4th fret) and it only improved slightly when placing it very, very close to the fret closer to the head stock.

I went ahead and picked up one of these this morning at Sam Ash. http://www.samash.com/catalog/categorysub.asp?CategorySubID=219&departmentid=1&brandid=1438&CategorySubPriceRangeID=0&sourcetype=categorysearch It's curved and adjustable via screw mechanism. Not automatic, but only took me about 15 seconds to get it right by ear the first time. (only ever-so-slightly off when measured with tuner) I'd say it's a winner. ding-ding-ding-ding!!!

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@gnease)
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Good.

Soft or hard rubber on the Planet Waves?

-=tension & release=-


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(@rparker)
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Topic starter  

Good.

Soft or hard rubber on the Planet Waves?

It's firm, but not hard like hard plastic. Soft, I guess.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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