How To Use A Capo For the Guitar

You're trying to figure out how to use a capo for the guitar, huh? You probably just got finished learning that song that'll make the ladies swoon. You've got all the candles and mood lighting, that F chord doesn't hurt your fingers too much anymore, and you're ready to sing those dulcet tones that'll make even the iciest woman want to give into her latent desires that you know she has it for you. (Right…) There's a problem, though.

This song is way out of your vocal range.

Your whole plan is ruined. Why did Elton John have to sing so high? (Wait, your song to make the women want you was an Elton John song?)

Fear not. If you know how to use a capo, the night could still be saved, provided of course that you actually can sing. To start, you will need:

  • A guitar
  • A capo
  • The song you want to play

Using a capo is very simple.

  1. Clamp the capo across the neck of the guitar. A capo is a little device that clamps onto the neck of the guitar and changes the pitch of the strings. A guitar is a fretted instrument, which means it has all those little ridges across the neck where you put your fingers. For each fret higher you place your fingers on the fretboard, the pitch of the string is raised one half-step. For example, the lowest string on a guitar is typically an E. Put your finger on the fifth fret of the lowest string and the pitch is raised five half-steps to an A. But if you want the pitch to always be higher without pressing down with your fingers, you use a capo.
  2. Put the capo across the fret you want to play at. Say you want to play a song that you've learned. The first chord is G, but the G is too low. If you put a capo on the first fret and play that same G chord a fret up, it magically becomes a G#. Raise it one more fret and it's now an A. In this way, you can use a capo for the guitar to change the key of the song you are playing.
  3. Experiment putting the capo at different places. If a song is too high or low for you to sing along to with the chords you've learned, experiment with using a capo until you find a key that is perfect for your vocal range.
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