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JCJXXL
post Feb 18 2010, 05:44 AM
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I have kind of a silly question about using a capo. I understand you can change the key of a song by using a capo but yet still play the standard chord shapes.

What if I wanted to play the same song without the capo? Do I need to transpose the chords or is it simply a matter of playing the same exact chords shapes without the capo and now I'm just in a different key?


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Fran
post Feb 18 2010, 09:17 AM
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The capo changes the key of open chords. If you play a barre chord it won't matter if you use a capo or not, but playing open chords (chords that involve open strings, that is, unfretted strings) will differ.

Think of the capo as a "moving nut". wherever you place the capo, there's your guitar nut.


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JCJXXL
post Feb 18 2010, 02:50 PM
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I understand that.

But let's say for example I am learning a song and the original has a capo on the first fret. And for example we'll say the chord progression is D-A-Bm-G-E (just making this up). If I wanted to play this song WITHOUT the capo do I use the same chord shapes or do the chord shapes change because I'm not using the capo?

I've always thought you play the same chord progression, it's just now in a different key.

This post has been edited by JCJXXL: Feb 18 2010, 03:31 PM
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Jensen
post Feb 18 2010, 03:25 PM
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I'm no expert in this but I guess you just play the chord D-A-Bm-G-E if it you want that chord progression?
If the song was originally played with capo, it won't matter, it's still the same chords, just different positioning for the fingers.

Correct me if I'm wrong, that's just how I understand it.
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Fran
post Feb 18 2010, 04:17 PM
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QUOTE (JCJXXL @ Feb 18 2010, 02:50 PM) *
I understand that.

But let's say for example I am learning a song and the original has a capo on the first fret. And for example we'll say the chord progression is D-A-Bm-G-E (just making this up). If I wanted to play this song WITHOUT the capo do I use the same chord shapes or do the chord shapes change because I'm not using the capo?

I've always thought you play the same chord progression, it's just now in a different key.


If you are playing a D with a capo in the first fret then you are adding a semitone (half step) to all notes in that chord. You are playing "half-step" up. So its' not a D chord anymore, even though the chord shape you are using is the same as when you play a D without the capo.

For instance playing an E chord with the capo on the first fret is actually an F. That's why the F chord needs a barre when playing without a capo. Just check it yourself, watch your finger positions.

If you play the same chord progression without the capo it will sound good too, because all chords are decreasing half-step, but it won't be in the same key anymore, it will be half-step down because you are not using the capo anymore. People use the capo because it's an easy way to play known open chords and be able to sing in a more appropiate key for their voice.

So you have two options: play the same chord progression without the capo (that will change the key the song is played in), or find the chord shapes you need to use to play those chords without using the capo.

This post has been edited by Fran: Feb 18 2010, 04:20 PM


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Sensible Jones
post Feb 18 2010, 06:13 PM
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Let's take your chord progression:-
D-A-Bm-G-E.
Add a Capo at the first fret and this becomes:-
D#-A#-Cm-G#-F.
Now, if you wanted to play it without the capo then you could end up with some tricky fingerings to get the right voicings of the chords. Using the Capo enables you to play using open chord shapes (including open strings) but being able to raise or lower the Tonal Centre to suit a singers voice etc! In fact, this is one of the main reasons for using a Capo in the first place. Also, if you normally tune down a half step and want to jam with someone in normal tuning without having to re-tune yourself.

Another 'For instance':-
A songs original progression is Db, Bbm, F#, G#. Rather than play a lot of barre chords we could put our Capo at the 1st fret and play the shapes of C, Am, F and G. Or put it on the 4th Fret and play using the following chord shapes:- A, F#m, D and E. The tonality will still be that of Db, Bbm, F#, G#.
Alternatively you could put the Capo on the 6th fret and play the Chord shapes as G, Em, C and D. Again, you could move the Capo to the 9th fret and play the chord shapes of E, C#m, A and B. This is the beauty of the CAGED system!
If you have two guitarists and want to change the sound, instead of both playing the exact same thing then use a Capo to add a higher/Lower voicing on one of the Guitars!!
Hope this helps!
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 19 2010, 12:53 AM
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Your progression is modulating, lets take easier example: C-Am smile.gif

If the capo is on the first fret, and you are playing open C-Am shapes, it wouldn't be C-Am anymore, it would be C#-A#m. So you effectively transposed the piece into C# major key (instead of C major) by just changing the fret you are playing on. The capo makes up for open strings, and effectively makes the first fret as the "nut fret".


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JCJXXL
post Feb 19 2010, 04:42 AM
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I REALLY appreciate all of the help guys! I feel dumb asking some questions sometimes, so when I eventually get the guts to ask and I get great help it's very much appreciated smile.gif

I understand the Capo changes the key/tonality I guess I was just confused about playing a song without the capo if it would change my chords. But from what I understand it doesn't. The key/tonality is changed. That's all.

I've been spending a lot of time with the acoustic lately and although the capo is cool I would much rather play songs without the capo. It would suck to go somewhere with friends and someone hands you a guitar to play a song but you can't because you think you need the capo.




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Fran
post Feb 19 2010, 09:10 AM
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Just be careful if you sing, because singing in a different key might not suit your voice smile.gif


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-Zion-
post Feb 19 2010, 02:29 PM
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i also just want to add that you play same chords using a capo just higher up the neck..

example..

C - Am.. you can play using the regular open position
however, if you are two guitars playing the same it may sound a bit boring, so you add a capo on the 5th fret on one of the guitars..

now this guitar with the capo plays G - Em (which is essentially a C and Am chord.. please refer to the CAGED system in Andrews theory if you dont know what it is)

Now you have two guitars playing C - Am but they dont sound completely alike, and you have "extra" fingers to do fancy fingerings because you use a capo instead of not using it (you can play the G shaped C-chord without the capo, but it's a bit difficult and doesn't leave room for much fancy fingerings.. laugh.gif)

This post has been edited by -Zion-: Feb 19 2010, 02:31 PM
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Daniel Realpe
post Feb 27 2010, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE (Fran @ Feb 19 2010, 09:10 AM) *
Just be careful if you sing, because singing in a different key might not suit your voice smile.gif


and standard open strings might not be suitable for anyone to sing over them too! so that can be a good use for the capo....just place where it feels better for your voice and keep the same finger position.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 7 2010, 06:56 PM
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Maybe you should start carrying capo around with you - same as you do with guitar picks smile.gif

QUOTE (JCJXXL @ Feb 19 2010, 04:42 AM) *
I REALLY appreciate all of the help guys! I feel dumb asking some questions sometimes, so when I eventually get the guts to ask and I get great help it's very much appreciated smile.gif

I understand the Capo changes the key/tonality I guess I was just confused about playing a song without the capo if it would change my chords. But from what I understand it doesn't. The key/tonality is changed. That's all.

I've been spending a lot of time with the acoustic lately and although the capo is cool I would much rather play songs without the capo. It would suck to go somewhere with friends and someone hands you a guitar to play a song but you can't because you think you need the capo.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 8 2010, 01:44 AM
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Don't worry about the capo, you won't need one after you learn barre chords! smile.gif


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