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Capo = Lazy?


h364

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Not at all. Using a capo is a great way to change the key to one that might fit the singer's voice. It's also a great way to bust out of ruts. You can play the same chord shapes and they sound totally different. Can anything that inspires a player be "lazy"?

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If you tune your guitar up or down you tend to need to adjust the truss rod which is not possible between songs. During a set I would rather watch someone put on a capo between songs instead of retuning each string.

Its just another tool to help someone get the sound they want IMO. I know guitar players that can play the chords they need in a new key without a capo, and sometimes they opt for one anyway.

Jonathan

 

 

 

 

 

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I used to think guitarists were lazy when they used capos. I still think they're lazy(amongst other things), but the capo really changes the sound of the guitar. So that is ,in essence, just one more excuse for them to be lazy, but it has some merit.
"Shoot low, most of 'em are ridin' ponies"
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The GP forum may have more responses to your answer. (Don't worry, they don't bite. ;) )

 

The gist of the question has already been answered.

 

If you've learned a song in a particular key using non-movable (open) chord shapes, it's a pain to have to forego your muscle memory and actively transpose each freakin' chord. (Mental laziness.)

 

Of course, the capo isn't that great of a help if you're transposing down a short interval. (You could play with a capo at the 11th fret, but it may start sounding like a ukulele. Not to mention it may be hard to reach if your guitar doesn't have body cutouts.)

 

Playing nothing but full barre chords can be fatiguing after a while. (Physical laziness.)

 

Also, for example, you'll have a different chord voicing by playing an open C chord as a Db barre chord.

 

The music for the folk group at church actually calls for the use of capos. I believe this has more to do with the fact that open chords generally sustain better on acoustic guitars than barre chords. It could also be a matter of chord voicing.

 

I see a capo as more useful as an acoustic guitar accessory. (Less tension on electric guitar strings = less fatiguing barre chords.)

 

You probably never see this, but you can use a capo on your bass to change the effective scale length and get a different sound, just like you do on a guitar.

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I know capo with a bass usually isn't done, but I have a gig coming up with a couple of friends where I may use one. The guitar player uses a capo on several of the tunes to suit the singer's range, so rather than relearn a bunch of songs I've known for years, I may capo the bass.

 

I've always tried to play down the neck, and with as many open strings as possible, for the fat sound. To relearn all those songs in closed positions is more than I can manage right now.

 

Besides, I'll be playing the ABG, so the usual bass rules don't apply.

 

Ed

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Originally posted by PhilMan99:

For Guitar, where open-chords are used, OK.

 

For bass?! Usually not...

As a g**tarist and bassist I can tell you that a capo is not only handy for changing keys, but it is also critical for playing in a specific voicing that you may want to achieve. Case in point is the main riff to "If I Needed Someone" by the Beatles. George capoed his Ric 12-string to play the main melodic figure.

 

With regard to bass, there are photos of Macca with a capo on his Hofner bass out there, although I don't know for certain which specific songs he used it on. I suspect he may have used a capo on "I'm Only Sleeping." They sped the tape up while recording the instrumental tracks so that when played back at normal speed they would be a half step lower than actually played. When they recorded vocals, they slowed the tape down so that when played back at normal speed the vocals would be a half-step higher than actually sung. That's why the instruments on this track sound so fat and dreamy and the vocals are a bit thin sounding. (They did this vocal trick alot in the 1966-1967 era. Not so much in 1968 & 1969).

 

I would think the g**tars and bass would have both been capoed at the first fret if they were shooting for getting the playback to be in the same key they actually wrote the song in.

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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I always thought that a capo was for lazy guitarists. I know some guitarists who only know chords in the keys of C and G and use a capo to get every other key.

 

However, guitar chords with open strings sound very different from guitar chords without open strings. Just grab your friend's guitar and play something with G C and D chords (and the occasional Em) like Brown Eyed Girl. Now play it in Ab and see how it sounds.

 

A few months I was playing a folk music religious service and there was a short break and most of the musicians left the stage to get a drink of water or use the bathroom. Suddenly the rabbi started singing and only the percussionist and I were on stage. I grabbed the acoustic guitar because it seemed way more appropriate than my bass. Lo and behold, the rabbi and congregation were in Ab. After a few verses, I put the capo on the guitar and the music did sound better. The guitarist finally reappeared and came running up to the stage with a weird look on his face.

 

As far as using a capo on bass, it would have to be for some special effect. A bassist should be able to play anything in any key (but don't ask me to play Play That Funky Music in Db...it's in E or we don't play it.)

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We play with different singers at different times and the guitarist is known to use a capo to accomidate the ranges - I don't consider him lazy.

However, I wouldn't be caught dead with a capo on my bass and if I ever saw a bassist playing with one I would consider him very lazy indeed. In fact, I would probably heckle:

"Hey bass-man! There's some kind of wierd stick bug on your neck there!"

but hopefully something closer to clever.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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Originally posted by mattulator:

I wouldn't be caught dead with a capo on my bass and if I ever saw a bassist playing with one I would consider him very lazy indeed. In fact, I would probably heckle:

"Hey bass-man! There's some kind of wierd stick bug on your neck there!"

but hopefully something closer to clever.

You're not invited to my gig. ;)

 

Ed

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It's not lazy at all - some chord voicings need that capo.

 

Great capo songs - "Here Comes the Sun" (7th fret) "Hallelujah" (Buckley version 5th fret) "Hotel California" (7th fret) "Exit Music" (Radiohead 2nd fret) "My Sweet Lord" (1 guitar sans capo, 1 capo'(e)d at 2nd fret).

 

They just don't sound the same otherwise.

The bass player's job is to make the drummer sound good - Jack Bruce
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Originally posted by Social Critic:

I have a capo. The only time I ever use it is when I am trying to determine neck curvature. I capo the first fret, finger the thirteenth and measure under the seventh.

That is all I would ever use one for. I did not know they had any other use on a bass.

 

Rocky :idea:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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In my former acoustic band, there were two acoustic guitars and three vocals. My partner on the other guitar (12-string) would usually play open chords and I would capo up high (sometimes WAY high) and play complementing chords - the sound was awesome. The phrasing was totally different and, at times, we would work for hours per song to get the proper combination of capo/chord, sometines with a lower-capoed 12-string and my 6-string capoed up higher. It brought a delicate sound to the guitars and perfectly complemented the vocal harmonies.

 

I used to think of capos as 'cheaters'. Not any more. I owe so much to that band...we were good!

Play. Just play.
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I'm a GUITARIST as well as bassist and I use a capo often, at least on acoustic; not because I can't play barre chords, just 'cause I hate 'em. I'd much rather hear open strings ringing.

 

On electric I play chord shapes that don't oblige me to play a barre. But check out Keith Richards, Jimmie Vaughan and I believe Pops Staples. Lots of awesome country players also use a capo on electric.

 

Re: laziness: IMO the goal is to make music, not to demonstrate how many chord shapes we can play. If using a capo helps a player play more easily or fluidly I'm all for it.

 

 

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Originally posted by Chad:

I'm a GUITARIST as well as bassist and I use a capo often, at least on acoustic;

Should read: I'm a g*******t as well as BASSIST and I use a capo often, at least on acoustic; ;)

 

You're welcome.

 

(I kid, I kid!)

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Originally posted by Bottomgottem:

Originally posted by Chad:

I'm a GUITARIST as well as bassist and I use a capo often, at least on acoustic;

Should read: I'm a g*******t as well as BASSIST and I use a capo often, at least on acoustic; ;)

 

You're welcome.

 

(I kid, I kid!)

Don't be hatin'. :P

 

 

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Originally posted by Danzilla:

Capo's are for cheaters. So if you want to be in the same league as those infamous cheaters like James Taylor, Ian Anderson, Steve Rothery, George Harrison and their ilk, go ahead. Cheater. Hope you like your new voicing.

:D

 

Count me among the cheaters then. I grew up playing James Taylor. He's partial to particular chord voicings so his songs often require a capo to be in the correct key for his voice. (And, BTW, those chord voicings are difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce while still being able to take advantage of the hammer-on, pull-off techniques within those chords.

 

This is true of some Harry Chapin songs as well.

 

I also have small hands. Any time I can play songs written for piano, in F, I'd much rather play well using open voicings than with immense effort without the capo.

 

I really don't care what anyone else thinks. They can have their superiority complexes and I'll just go on playing beautiful music. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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