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Help My Guitar Player loves his Capo!


Bottom End

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THe acoustic guitar player in the group I'm playing with uses a capo almost exclusively. It's cool that he goes to the trouble of transcribing lyrics and marking the chords, and he gts the music out well in advance of the limitred rehearsal time we have together.

 

Why does it seem like none of the root I play according to the chords on the sheet seem to sound right?

IS it just me?

 

If for example, it's "Capo 3" and the chrod is a G, it sounds like I should be playing Bb.

 

I've never had this experience before.

 

OTher than that, its cool to play with this guy, but we have little time to practice together, and I want to get it right for Sunday's service.

 

Thanks in advance.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Exactly as Chad said. Guitarists usually write chords according to what chord shapes they're playing. If it's capo 1, the written G is actually a G#/Ab; capo 2, written G=A; capo 3, written G=A#/Bb; etc. Similarly, if it's capo 3 and there's an E written, it's a G. Just imagine you've moved the nut of your bass up to whatever fret he has the capo on and are in standard tuning. That should get you started.

 

Example...capo 3 = everything is played 3 frets higher than what's written.

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The next thing to do is to learn the songs in terms of chord numbers. A typical song that your friend may play could have the chords: G Am Bm C D Em, or C Dm Em F G Am. Notice that the first set of chords is in the key of G and the second set in the key of C. People who use capos a lot generally play in those two keys.

 

You should be able to recognize those chords by looking at the guy's hands. If not, get a beginning folk guitar book (or take two lessons). Those chords will be on the first couple of pages of the book.

 

Now call those chords by numbers: 1 2 3 4 5 6.

Notice that 1, 4 and 5 are major and 2 3 and 6 are minor. That's usually the way songs are constructed although occasionally 2 is major when it proceeds 5 and and occasionally 6 is major when it proceeds 2. Let's not worry about minor keys right now.

 

Now you have to learn what the chords that correspond to those various numbers are in various keys. I could write it down for you, but you'll learn them better if you figure them out by yourself.

 

I often walk out on stage with an acoustic guitarist who is playing with a capo and playing songs that I've never played before and this system has served me well.

 

You can do this. Have fun!

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I had to teach my former guitar player how to use his capo... imagine that... a bass player teaching a guitar player how to play. He had no clue how to transpose chords up and down his fretboard. I think he was secretly scared of it.

Now I play with songwriter types who maybe will play one song in a set without their capos. You'll find worship leaders like to use them a lot... it really helps with being able to sing and play, and also can add a lot of tonal variety if two guitars are playing, one with a capo and one without. Two different voicings of the same chord can be a nice touch, and a capo saves the second player from having to play E- and A-shape barre chords all the time (can you say CRAMP...)

Jeremy's method seems like a very good one for playing with capo users, especially if you don't know the song... my approach is similar, but a little more straightforward...

For instance, if a song is in C, and he's playing it capo'd on the second fret, now it's in D, and all you need to do is add a full step to all of the chords on your chart... not a note, just a step... D will become E but E will become F# etc.

Where jeremy's method comes in is if you don't have the luxury of a chord chart or the time to transpose it... eventually you'll be able to do it in your head, though, and once you can do that, the next step is to get rid of the charts on stage altogether.

It doesn't hurt that I'm also a guitar player, but I think the principal is easy enough that anyone should be able to pick it up quickly enough with a little work.

I play with at least 3 different worship leaders and on any given 3 Sundays I can play the same song three times, in three different keys...

 

DX

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Good tip Jeremy. It's kind of similar to Nashville notation isn't it? I've seen a lot of those country and folk music singer/songwriters use capos. I've still got a couple capos around the house from when I played those skinny stinged thingies and still occasionally do.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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Ahem. I totally could've nailed you just then.

Notice my maturity and restraint.

 

P*ssy.

:D Save it for next month. I'll warn you, though...I'm going to be watching roller derby that whole weekend so this p*ssy might be throwing some elbows. I'll bring my helmet. ;)

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Mmmmm, puddin'!

 

 

Honestly, that sounds kind of annoying thing for your guitar player to do. Using a capo is fine by me, but call the chords what they actually are.

 

This actually reminds me of a keyboard player that my band auditioned recently. He kept on asking us what key each song was in. Not an unreasonable request for any musician, right? But the reason he was asking was so that he could adjust the pitch settings on his keyboard so that not matter what key we were playing in, he could always play like the tune was in C. How f***ing lazy is that?!?!?

 

Oh, and we haven't called him back. :wave:

 

 

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But the reason he was asking was so that he could adjust the pitch settings on his keyboard so that not matter what key we were playing in, he could always play like the tune was in C. How f***ing lazy is that?!?!?

 

Lazy. No way. I think he was a racist and didn't like the black keys.

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Honestly, that sounds kind of annoying thing for your guitar player to do. Using a capo is fine by me, but call the chords what they actually are.

Not really, because even when you use a capo to change the key, you are still playing the original chord shape... so leaving the chart in the original key and playing the chord shapes as they are written is how a lot of guitar players use a capo. When you're using a capo to change the voicing in the same key, then the guitar player needs to be able to transpose the chords and shapes on the fly, or come up with a chart with the right key/chord shape combination.

The best thing to do is to have whoever puts together your charts print out a separate one for the guitar player in the original key and then print out the rest for bass, keys etc in the correct key. That's what I had to do for the guitar player that I taught how to use a capo, until he got used to the thing. Once you get comfortable enough with your set to play without charts, it all becomes moot anyways.

 

DX

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I totally grasp the concept of using a capo so that you can play with different open string tunings. But a D min7 chord is a D min7 chord is a D min7 chord. It's still D, F, C. Placing a capo at the 3rd fret doesn't make that B min7 all of a sudden. People need to get over their theoretical laziness. The capo's designed to change how you can play a chord shape, nothing more.

 

 

But the reason he was asking was so that he could adjust the pitch settings on his keyboard so that not matter what key we were playing in, he could always play like the tune was in C. How f***ing lazy is that?!?!?

 

Lazy. No way. I think he was a racist and didn't like the black keys.

 

The Sicilian in me was thinking the same thing. :thu:

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I totally grasp the concept of using a capo so that you can play with different open string tunings. But a D min7 chord is a D min7 chord is a D min7 chord. It's still D, F, C. Placing a capo at the 3rd fret doesn't make that B min7 all of a sudden. People need to get over their theoretical laziness. The capo's designed to change how you can play a chord shape, nothing more.

Huh?

 

If you use a Dm fingering with a capo at the third fret, the chord you hear will be an F minor. If you want to play a B minor chord using a Dm fingering, you need the capo at the 9th fret.

 

Most people I know who use capos all the time, know this but they have to stop and think. What they do is learn how to play by ear in the keys of G and C and then use the capo to play in all the other keys. Once they find the key, then they just play the song by ear in one of their two comfortable keys and don't worry about the names of the chords.

 

That's my job. :)

But I don't worry about the names of the chords, either. I'm playing by ear as well and when I figure out what key they are in (sometimes by looking at where the capo and their left hand are and sometimes just by listening and playing a note or two on my bass), I'm not thinking chord names either.

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Thanks for all the assistance, and I'll defintely take Jeremy's advice on numbering. IT was a real surprise to me, I'd never played with anyone using a capo, then again, I was mostly playing rock and blues.

 

TO be fair to the guitarist, he's a vocalist who only started playing guitar about a year ago, and really does a good job both singing and playing. HE works about 18 hours a day as the chaplain's assistant, then took on the role of organizing the worship services. He transcribes the lyrics to 6 or 7 songs a week, and lays the chords and capo positon on top, so I don't fault him for not doing the transposing for me. It's been a challenge to adapt to his capo use in such a short time, but it'll make me a better accompanist down the road. Best of all, I'll get to rehearse 3x aweek and play at least one service, and that can only help me get better as a player, and keep every day from seeming the same down here.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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I always thought a Capo was for guitar players who didn't know very many chords.?????

Rocky

On the contrary... a capo is a tool with many uses. The main one being to allow the use of open chord voicings in different keys. It is certainly used as a crutch by a lot of players, as jeremy explains, allowing them to play songs they know in a common key like G or C in a different key, (which is most likely why Bottom End's GP is using one) but it is also used in adapting a song to a singer's voice range.

I know some very competent guitar players who use open tunings and capos to very good effect... (myself included, but I'm not in the very category.) A guitar tuned in DADF#AD with a capo on the second fret becomes open E, 5th fret, G etc. which would require frequent guitar changes when playing songs in different keys. And the whole idea of open tunings is to allow the use of ringing, open stringed chords.

Even in standard tuning there are reasons to use a capo that are more than just to cheat the chords. For instance, playing fingerstyle licks and runs that would be otherwise impossible or at least extremely impractical in non-open keys; changing the voicing of a song- placing capo up high (7 fret and up) and playing open chords makes for a very nice, bright ringing sound, which can sound almost like a 12 string when played with a second guitar in a lower voicing. Also, some singer's voices are complimented better by the higher voicings than the lower ones...

Stevie Ray Vaughn was reported to tune down a full step and put a capo on the first fret for half-step-down tuning but with looser action. (I've tried it, it works.)

In conclusion, yes, capos are used to cheat keys by a lot of guitar players, but there are many good reasons for very competent players to use them.

Thus ends my soapbox session for the day.

 

DX

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"Stevie Ray Vaughn was reported to tune down a full step and put a capo on the first fret for half-step-down tuning but with looser action. (I've tried it, it works.)"

Kind of like the "zero fret" setups on some guitars. Yes I imagine it would work pretty well.

I think I may have seen where even some bass players have experimented with capos but I can't remember where I saw that.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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"Stevie Ray Vaughn was reported to tune down a full step and put a capo on the first fret for half-step-down tuning but with looser action. (I've tried it, it works.)"

Kind of like the "zero fret" setups on some guitars. Yes I imagine it would work pretty well.

I think I may have seen where even some bass players have experimented with capos but I can't remember where I saw that.

Yeah, kind of like the Zero Fret concept.

I use one once in a while on my bass, and I tune down a full step anyways. I've used it to cheat on bass lines where it s easier to use open strings in different keys... I've been getting away from using that lately but it is still in my case.

I've seen other bass players use them, but only rarely...

 

DX

Aerodyne Jazz Deluxe

Pod X3 Live

Roland Bolt-60 (modified)

Genz Benz GBE250-C 2x10

Acoustic 2x12 cab

 

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Thanks for all the assistance, and I'll defintely take Jeremy's advice on numbering. IT was a real surprise to me, I'd never played with anyone using a capo, then again, I was mostly playing rock and blues.
Oh.

 

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