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I recently read an article which mentioned that some guitar players refer to capoes as “cheaters”. I have always found them useful for finding the right key for vocals, and have not always had good enough acoustic instruments to be able to play barre chords far down the neck. I also think the sound is often better with a capo vs barres or three-note chords. Any opinions?

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Love capo
Especially Shubb
Kyser is handy, you kan put it on the headstock, when you don`t use it
I'm comfortable playing chords and different inversions (voicings, variations) up and down the neck. But I still use the capo frequently for the sound of open strings in different keys. Also, there are some chord shapes that simply sound best for a song, but you need the capo to enable playing those shapes in your key of choice.

I love my G7th capo.

Flamenco guitarists use capos all the time, both for the sound, and to play the traditional palos (forms) with traditional chord shapes...
I should have added "with emphasis on accompanying singers in the traditonal styles, in their preferred vocal range."
I'm not sure how they can be called cheaters. I think those who want to say that have never really tried one and is being naive. It like saying a movie sucks, yet you've never seen it. So how can you really comment on it? Without really trying a capo I think these people are cheating themselves and limiting their abilities.

I've really grown accustomed to using a capo in the last few years and I find it very useful. It gives you the ability to create new tones that would otherwise be impossible. It changes the bottom range of the guitar and can make it blend better with other instruments like a piano or voice. If you have two guitars you have the opportunity to try one guitar with a capo and the other without. This can help give the song a fuller sound, especially when the capo starts to go above the 5th fret.
Chet Atkins used a capo. Paul Simon uses a capo. I can't argue with that!

Tommy Emmanuel CGP uses a capo, usually a Kyser - nobody can argue with that! Indeed, it was when I first saw him using one many years ago playing in Australia that I decided to get one, and I've never looked back.


My favourite arrangment is to use a Shub capo to bar across all six strings anywhere on the fretboard, and then use a Kyser in reverse position barring all but the sixth string.


This gives the equivalent of a 'drop D' style tuning anywhere on the neck.


It gives the advantage of a deeper bass note to play on the sixth string (eg. the 5th note in a G shape chord or the 1st note in a D shape chord). But it still allows you to play say a full six string chord strum as, unlike with a true drop D tuning where the bass string is actually detuned, the sixth string plays the 'correct' note when held down eg. when playing a full G chord shape or a C chord shape with the sixth string held down playing the 5th note of the chord.


Magical stuff!




Hi Bruce,,I use capos all the time, especially playing with other players..for example.standard "C" played against a capo/5 "G" gives some really nice tonal separations. Partial capos are also fun to play with. I don't think it's "Cheating" at all.
I have 2 favorites, the Shubb and the Victor.
A lot of good songs were written with a capo in mind. So unless you're willing to transpose it down, or do some really bizarre fingering gymnastics, using the capo is simply the right way to play it.
Would it bee off topic if a asked abeut when you most often use partial capos ?
I´m vere curious abeut them
Jan, I've used partial capos for 20 years or more, and they've become rather central to my playing style and what little writing I still do. Partial capos allow chord voicings that you simply cannot play any other way. These voicing introduce colors to your chord choices that I find beautiful and fascinating. I use a three-string partial capo over open strings on second, fourth and 10th frets, and in combination with a full capo anywhere on the neck. When flat-picking or chording, you get a strong, punchy bass line and bright treble. When playing fingerstyle, you get the benefits of Celtic tuning in first position combined with familiar chord shapes and scales when playing up the neck. A capo is a tool for greater expression, and partial capos just expand your choices. Message me for more info. Here's an action picture...
The article which mentioned the alternative terms for capo was actually a Wikipedia entry for 'capo;. I was trying to figure out where the word came from. The other perjorative term in that entry describing capoes mentioned was "hilbilly crutch"—that ought to offend a few folks. Interesting, about use of capos in classical playing and flamenco btw—I'd like to hear more about that. Anyway, I guess some folks might be snobs about not being able to transpose into any key without the "crutch". A guitar sure is different from a piano or trumpet, though, as far as switching keys. I can remember the bungee capo of my youth as losing its spring on a nasty neck in about a week and becoming useless.


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