3 Tips for How To Use A Capo

There is a divide amongst guitarists...those who see the capo as a crutch and therefore refuse to use one, and those who take advantage of the many benefits of using a capo.

I happen to be on the pro-capo side for the simple fact that there are certain sounds, voicings and techniques that are impossible in certain keys without a capo.

As popular as capos have become, I still see players struggling to use them properly. Here are 3 tips that should help.

1. The first tip is in regard to capo placement. The capo is essentially a substitute for a barring finger, so the principles of left hand technique apply. Place the capo right behind the fret, just like you would do if you were barring with your first finger.

2. Find a capo that allows you to adjust how tightly it grasps the neck. Many capos squeeze so tightly that they pull your guitar sharp. The same thing applies with a tight left hand grip. Loosen up.

3. If you've run into the problem described in tip 2, here's how you can make it better. Place the capo in the middle of the fret, then slide it towards the back of the fret (the position described in tip 1). This will reduce the tension on the strings, bringing them back down to proper pitch. If that doesn't work, you'll have to retune your guitar to compensate for the capo.

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