Once you’ve chosen your starter acoustic guitar, you may want to experiment with some accessories that can influence the way you play. A capo is a device that can easily change the pitch of your guitar. Most professional musicians use capos at some point while playing, and many guitarists view them as a necessity as they begin to learn more complex techniques and songs.
The capo itself is a fairly simple device. It is a clamp, usually made of plastic or metal , that is positioned on the neck of your guitar. There are several types of capos, including those that are fastened to the neck with a strap, screw, spring, or trigger clamp. The result is that the pitch of the instrument is raised depending on which fret you place the device.
The capo is great for working with your starter guitar because it allows you to experiment with different pitches. They also make it easier to form certain chords that may be tricky for a beginner. Capos easily allow you to change the pitch of the open strings. If you want to cover a song that was recorded using a capo, the device will eliminate the need to learn the song in the incorrect key.
How to Use a Capo
Understanding chord sounds and shapes is essential to understanding how the capo works. Chord shape refers to the position of your fingers while playing a particular chord. By using a capo, chord shapes will produce different chord sounds. Let’s say you place the capo on the 2nd fret of the guitar. The regular G chord shape will now produce an A chord sound.
In standard tuning, the open strings on a guitar play the notes E-A-D-G-B-E. Each fret represents a half step towards a different note, so when you place the capo on the first fret, every string’s pitch raises a half step. Now the open strings play the notes F-A sharp-D sharp-G sharp-C-F.
When using the capo, be sure not to place it in the middle of the fret. Instead, place it directly behind the desired fret. Keep in mind that if the capo is secured too loosely, you will hear buzzing sounds or rattling strings. If it is too tight, it will produce too much tension in the strings and result in an out of tune guitar. Clamping and unclamping of the strings can cause your starter guitar to slip out of tune, so be sure to check tuning if you move the capo frequently.
Once you understand how the capo influences pitch, the next step is easy: experiment. Playing around with the different pitches will allow you to learn new songs and try out different sounds. If you need suggestions for a capo, take a look at some of our highest rated models like the G7th Nashville Performance Capo.