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How to Use a Capo



Capos are a simple tool which often come in handy. Simply put, they make changing keys a breeze. Just clamp it on and you're playing in a different key. In this video, Justin Guitar will help you understand exactly how it works.

Don't have the time to watch it all? Here are a few helpful points:

  • You can use the capo as a movable nut. Just clamp it behind a fret of your choice to find your desired sound. This is great for finding the best vocal range for you or a singer you're playing with.
  • The capo changes the open string tone and thus all the other tones you play. While you'll fret chords the same, both relative to the open string and each other, you'll be in a different key and thus making different sounds than if you played without a capo (or with the capo elsewhere).
  • Correct placement of your capo is important. The capo should sit just behind the fret, not between frets or on top of frets. This will ensure good tone, without buzz or rattling.
  • Finding the right pressure for the capo is also important. Too little pressure and the strings will buzz and lose their tone. Too much pressure is just as bad—the strings will go out of tune. D'Addario and designer Ned Steinberger developed a capo with a dial which allows players to alter the tension that the capo applies to the strings, so you'll always be able to achieve the perfect pressure and the best sound.