A guitar capo [capo = cap = head] is a clamp that is used on the guitar to make the neck shorter. By placing a capo (head) on a particular fret, we create a ‘new nut’; a new zero fret.
Chart for Sharp Keys
These are the keys when we place a capo on frets 1 – 9 while fretting the ‘sharp’ keys. C is neither a sharp nor flat key (the only key which is all naturals). Make sure when a capo is placed, that it is straight, & makes good contact with the fret (evenly). We can get ‘buzzing’ if the capo is not set well.When we place a guitar capo at a certain fret, & play the chords of a given key, we are actually playing in a new key. We can place the capo, play in a key such as C, and it will sound as a different key. We typically think in the key that is being fingered, yet it is okay to think either way [the fingerings or the soundings – or both!]. The capo takes care of this, so it is easier to think in the key that we are fingering.
If we are jamming with other people, & recognize the key that they are playing in, we can reinforce – thicken it up, expand – a harmonic rhythm with brilliance, by using the capo, while fingering a different key. This is one way to make friends fast. We aren’t ‘interfering’ with what is being played by someone else, but actually expanding the harmonic palette.
A capo can be used on the fretboard for any tuning & anywhere on the fretboard. One really cool thing about using them is that our guitars have ‘sweet spots’. When we place a capo, say, on the 3rd fret, & play in G, our guitar resonance may just ‘light up.’ Listen for the sweet spots, while exploring different keys – every guitar is different.
A capo isn’t mandatory, since our fingers do a similar thing as a capo when we are fretting higher versions of chords. The capo does make things easier, & gets some great sounds & mileage for the chords and keys we already use (ie. C, G, D, A, F, E, etc.).
Chart for Flat Keys
These are the keys when we place a capo on frets 1 – 9 while fretting the flat keys. C is neither a sharp nor flat key.