what does guitar capo do

EXPLAINED: What Does A Guitar Capo Do?

A capo is a device that clamps onto the fretboard of a fretted instrument. It alters the pitch of the strings beyond their natural harmonic range. Some types of capos press down on individual strings, while others are slides that cover a whole fretboard.

Guitar Capo Function And Use

The main reason why people use this device is to fit the pitch of their particular instrument to their preferred key.

This video does a great job visually explaining it:

Capos come in various shapes and sizes. They are typically made of metal with rubber or foam padding. Some have adjustable screws on the side which allow you to tighten the grip if the capo is slipping. Others are shaped to fit only at a specific fret. Capos can also be made out of hard plastic, wood, or nylon with metal springs inside for good tension.

While some people believe that the use of a capo can ruin the sound of a guitar, this is not true. The tension on a capo may change the way a note sounds to you but it will not make the note fail to sound like itself. Whatever affect a capo has on your playing will depend on the type of guitar and playing style used.

It is also a matter of opinion whether the use of a capo creates an ideal playing environment. Because you are altering the pitch, the guitar will respond differently and you may have to adjust your playing style. From this perspective it can be hard to develop proper technique when using a capo because there is no real way to play without one.

Whether it’s right for your style or not, a capo does allow some freedom in how you play.

How Do You Put A Capo On your Guitar?

It’s very simple, you just place it on the neck like a clamp.  It is the same way for both acoustic or using a capo on an electric guitar.  New guitar players may want to look at these beginner capos to help them as well.

A capo is placed on the fret board in a way that allows you to play in any key. The capo can be placed at any fret along the neck. For example, if you want to play a song in the key of B, you would place the capo right before or after the 2nd fret. Then place your fingers accordingly on your frets and hit those strings with your pick to make them sound like B notes.

What To Use Instead Of A Capo?

Many times you can play a song in a different key than it was originally written. This can be done by playing the song in different positions on the neck of your guitar. This works, but is not ideal, because every note will be placed differently and some notes may be hard to hit in certain areas of the neck.