Doubling With a Capo

by Joe Kataldo

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  • Hi guys, today I wanna show to you a trick that I've seen many times in the studio, watching non-famous pro player: use the capo in a creative way, creating a big full acoustic/electric sound. This technique is very useful for two guitar player bands when recording and also lets us use open chords that we already know and that sound better than bar chords in different keys.

    This Lesson Will Improve

    Using a Capo


    Chord Knowledge



    Doubling With a Capo - C major 90 bpm

    For this exercise I've chosen a very common and easy to play progression, because I want you to focus more on the creative possibility and experimentation than on the techniques needed to play it:

    I VI II V
    C major - A minor - D minor - G major

    The first time the video will show you this progression played standard as everyone will do, synced with the left channel where the normal guitar is hard panned, the second time the capo on 5th fret comes in, showing the right video for the right channel were the capo guitar is hard panned.
    As you already experienced the final result is a big acoustic sound (thanks to my electric/piezo under-saddle system) created by mixing different voicing of the same chord.

    Recommended Listening

    BlueGrass acoustic guitar players are masters at these techniques along with creating banjo-like effects with capo. I suggest that you check out "Alison Krauss & Union Station", just to name my favourite. For a more pop/rock reference also check "Oasis".

    Theory Focus

    "Voicing" refers to the way chord voices (notes) are arranged or/and doubled, and within octave.


    C major open

    Root 3rd 5th Root 3rd (last two one octave higher)
    C E G C E

    In this case we used the capo to transport an open G major voicing up the 8th fret and so on for other chords.

    C major with G major shape at 8th fret


    Root 3rd 5th Root 5th Root
    C E G C G C

    Mix Voicing of the dame chord and their sonic nuances create big open sounds.

    Techniques Focus
    There are many different capos on the market:

    For electric Flat Fingerboard
    For electric Round Fingerboard
    For Classic Guitar
    For Acoustic Guitar
    Universal one were you can regulate the amount of pressure

    Choose the right one or you will go out of tune, also it is very important to place the capo right on the fret (this also depends on the kind of capo, some work better when just a glance backward). A little bit forward or backward will bend the strings out of tune. Always tune first and then add the capo, never do the opposite.

    Pro Tip

    Experiment with translating any chord progression you know well with capo, try to record yourself or play with another guitar player to hear the result, or simply use the capo to change the key of one of your composition, you may find a register that better fits your tune or your voice, remember each fret up adds a semitone.

    You Might Not Know

    The name capo is derived from the Italian "capo tasto" which literally means "main fret" or "head of fingerboard".

    Be Creative & See Ya Next Lesson!

    Joe Kataldo
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