"Why do you even want to use a Capo?"
I can’t tell you how many times some one has asked me this question.
Obviously, one of my favorite guitar accessories is the Capo. Not only because we created the FG-01, but because there are so many benefits from using one.
See my list below for the 7 main benefits of using a capo and how it will make you a a more versatile guitarist.
Using a Capo allows you to...
1. Change Keys Quickly - The Capo allows you to change keys quickly and instantly. All you need to do is move the Capo up the frets, clamp it on, and play the same chord shapes as you were playing before and the key is changed.
For example, if we want to play a I-IV-V progression in the key of C, we play the chords C, F, & G.
Now if we want to play that same progression in the key of D, well it’s D, G, & A.
With a Capo, however, you can simply put the Capo on the 2nd Fret, still play the original C, F, and G chords shapes, but you’re actually playing the D, G, and A chord sounds.
This allows you to change the key of a song so it matches your voice better, or another singers voice, or if someone in your band wants you to play a tune in a different key. It’s really that easy.
2. Play Alternate Chord Voicings - Another benefit of the Capo is it allows you to play alternate chord voicings of the same chord at a higher pitch.
For example, if we want to play that I-IV-V Chord Progression (C, F, & G) again, and play it a little higher up the fretboard at the 5th fret, we’d have to play a the G, C, & D chord shapes to give you the C, F, & G chord sounds.
3. Play the Original Version of the Song - Another benefit is to play a song the way it was supposed to be played, in the correct key, with the correct chords. If an artist wrote the song with the Capo, well, learn to play that song with a Capo!
You can see a list of songs for the Capo on the Fret Gear blog. There are over 150+ songs, so be sure to check it out!
4. Be Beginner Friendly - Another benefit is for beginners who only know a few chords. Rather than having to learn barre chords for certain songs, you could just slide up the Capo to the right position, play the chord shapes you know, and play that more difficult chord or a more difficult song.
Also, many beginner guitar players find it easier to play with the Capo up the frets because the distance between the frets are smaller making it feel easier to play.
5. Make Jam Sessions Better - For more advanced players, if you’re playing with another guitarist, you can both play the same chords, but at different positions/pitches, by having one of you play with a Capo further up the fretboard. This leads to great complementary sounds and contrasting pitches.
For example, one of you play the open C, F, and G (I-IV-V Chord Progression) while the other plays with a Capo at the 5th fret playing the G, C, & D chord shapes. Sounds good? You bet!
6. Prevent Your Strings from Snapping - If you own a 12 string guitar, you’ve probably popped the high E string from time to time. This is because of the tension of the strings on a 12 string.
What some people do is tune a guitar down a half step to reduce the tension and then put a Capo on the first fret to get it back into standard tuning.
7. Mimic the Dropped D Tuning - Well, not really, but some people even the Capo on the 2nd fret covering the 5 bottom strings and leaving the low E string open which mimics a dropped D tuning. In reality, I guess it would probably be called a Dropped E tuning!
What it comes down to is the Capo is a versatile tool for all guitarists that will help you learn more songs, be more creative, and allow you to have more fun playing your guitar.