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About 5 years ago, I started using a capo at the 4th fret for all my beginning students. When the arm is closer to the body, it works more efficiently. So, we start out at capo 4 and over the first 6 months wean down to no capo. The result was that the kids started playing well much sooner.


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Good idea, Donna. I have to remember that one.
Absolutely makes sense. It should be part of the "kit" that so many new guitar players don't realize they need. Also Included in their kit would be; guitar stand, picks, strap and case. The peripherals that should come with every entry level guitar.
A very good way to also teach them transposition and keys with varying chord shapes of whwere they are on the neck.
Absolutely!! One of the most fun lessons is harmonizing the guitars. I like to start with using the circle of 5ths -- one guitar plays in the key of C with the open C chord family and the other guitar is capoed at the 5th fret and plays in the Key of C with open G chord family. Then the third guitar capos at the 10th fret and plays in the Key of C with the open D chord family. The kids especially love it as they create a guitar band -- and at the 10th fret, it sounds almost like a mandolin.
I also like this approach when too many guitar players are on stage at the same time (i.e. festival, fund raisers, etc...) and you need have a bit more diversity in guitar "voices'. The capo is a must. I often capo up and add a fingerstyle-brush/percussive apprach to create a different voice and dymanic to the "everyone has a dreadnaught at once" phenomena.
Yep - we are so on the same page with this! Last year, I had a group of students that all loved the two Taylor Swift songs - "Teardrops On My Guitar" and "White Horse". So I had them harmonize the guitars. The more advanced students fingerpicked while the others strummed and it made for a great arrangement.
Great tip Donna. I'll try this with my little boy!
A capo also was a good learning tool for me to cut down on barre chords and play more complex chords with easier shapes. As an example, early on I tried to learn "I was Only Joking", a Rod Stewart song. The Storyteller songbook has a repeating chord progression in the verse of Bmaj7, Bb7, Ebm, Bb, F, Bb. The chord diagram for Eb and Ebm calls for partial barre chords spanning four frets, a bit tricky for me even now. There was no way I could play that early on. However, a capo at the first fret turns the chord progression into Amaj7, A7, D, Dm, A, E, A, which are much easier shapes for me to play. It also makes switching to different keys easier for me. The open strings in standard tuning are notes in the key of C, D, G and A. So the capo allows me to switch to another of the eight keys and keep all open strings available.
The discussion wasn't meant to mean that the capo's only use is that of training. Capos are fabulous for many reasons - training is just one that I discovered when teaching small children. Hope this makes sense. Sincerely, Donna
Absolutely, and it helps keep learning fun!
For my money, a capo is part of the instrument. It's like a trumpet mute... not every tune calls for one, but when it's used, it doesn't make the player any less of a musician... in fact, quite the opposite. I play a lot in DDD (double-drop D), and the character of the tuning can be maintained over a span of keys by my trusty capo.

I can play barre chords and I can play in any key. I've had occasions where my capo actually broke, (before I started carrying a spare!), and I had to play in E flat or B flat, etc. and I can do that, but you lose the ability to create certain chord voices when one finger must barre the fingerboard. The Lord bless Charlie Maypo, the man who invented... the capo!

I'm a begginer to the guitar; only been playing for 6 months.  Can anyone suggest a book that can teach me info. on the capo to wit: what key I'm in when the capop is on the first fret, second fret, etc., etc. 

And do you play a different scale when the capo is on a different fret?  All I know how to play in is the standard E A D G B E.


As you can tell I need some help here.


Mike B.


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