A Capo For Two: Jamming for Beginners

Yes that’s exactly right and perfectly explained.

A capo can be used to change the key you are playing in or to allow you to use different chord grips / shapes / voicings to either make it easier or to contrast against another instrument.

The reason why it sounds horrible putting a capo on the 5th fret but keeping the same chord shapes is because you have altered the key hence the chords have all the wrong notes.
Likewise by putting the capo on the 5th but altering the shapes the chord tones are correct but they sound slightly different due to the difference in the order the notes present themselves as you strum.


This is like a math puzzle. I like it.

At some point during the lesson, Justin says something like: “You might think this is way too complicated, and that you would just like to play guitar”.

But personally, this is exactly the kind of content I am waiting for :stuck_out_tongue: Something past the very basic, and a bit challenging to understand…but super rewarding once you get it!!

Having started with Grade 1 Lesson 1 couple of years back, the now higher difficulty level makes it feel like I am evolving along with the course, and that feels great.

Thank you again for the great content!


Let me second ToadyG - on Safari (Mac, iPhones, etc) I don’t see the Resources link that Justin mentions in the lesson.

Don’t panic, there is no resource link. It’s just contained in the text below the video lesson. just scroll down.

Hello @btabler and welcome to the community.

Your use of the word octave reveals some of your confusion. Octave is a specific gap between two musical places (notes or chords). To play the same chords an octave higher using a capo, you would be going from open chords to placing the capo at fret 12 and playing the exact same chord shapes. 12 frets up all the notes on a guitar neck repeat those that begin with the open strings. The open strings are EADGBE and the notes at fret 12 are EADGBE also.
The capo is not used to play an octave higher on 99.9% of cases. It is used to change key and everything will be higher, but not 12 frets (= 12 semitones) higher. Playing the chords an octave up does not change the key at all so does not benefit the singer. Playing the chords in a higher position (therefore in a different key) will benefit the singer.

There are two basic paths.

Capo path 1
Playing with the same shapes as open chords = playing in a different key up to including capo at fret 11. At fret 12 you reach the octave repeat of the open chords chords.

Capo path 2
Playing in the same key as the open chord progression = capo plus a different set of chord shapes.
@stitch gives an example.
I have a full topic on this path

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

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This trick is SOOO awesome! Thanks a lot Justin!

If you are a loner like me, it’s also awesome to record yourself and duet with yourself. I use DAW and it’s loads of fun!

I agree. It took me awhile to figure out the sheet is backwards. Where it says “Open Chord Shapes,” I thought that was the shake you used, but it is actually the desired chord. I was going mad before I figured it out.

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I may be missing something, but there’s a couple of times with the new update now where I’ve heard Justin mention there are resources for download (like the capo cheat sheet for this lesson, and there was mention of a guitar pro file in one of the previous lessons in this module) but the “Resources” section on the lessons hasn’t been present. I can only see “Learn More”, “Discussion” and “Notes” on this lesson, not the usual “Resources” section to download the capo cheat sheet.

Hi Goose/Daniel and welcome

There seems to be a few of these cropping up recently and I know there is certainly a to do list to capture some of the missing material. I would suggest if you discover anymore drop a post here in the Feedback section.



As a workaround, if you right click on the chart, you can then save the image or copy/paste it into a document.

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i sure hope that i am not the only one that cant figure out this chart… maybe someone has a better why of explaining how to use it correctly… thanks

The 1st Column is the fret you put the Capo on. The Grey area is the open chord shape that
you would play relative to the capo.

So if you put the capo on the second fret and play an A chord the Chord you are playing
is a G. If you play an A chord the chord you are playing is a B. In other words the capo has
moved all the chords up by a full tone moving all the chords up by one full tone.

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Hello and welcome to the community.

Just to reiterate what my esteemed friend Stitch said just in case it’s still clear as mud :wink:

The letters in the white section are the chord shapes your fingers should form, and the letters in the grey (or blue) section are the actual chords tonally speaking that would be sounded. So to use Stitch’s example with the Capo on the 2nd fret, your fingers will play an open G shape but it will sound like an A Major, just a slightly different voicing.

The table is not immediately easy at first look, seems like the majority of us had slight problems, it’s just that there are three factors involved {Capo position, chord shape and actual chord sounded) in a two way table.

I hope between us we’ve made it easier for you
Good luck

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thank you Dave… that does help me out… thank you again

Great lesson, how frustrating one can’t find how to download the Capo chart!

Hi David and Welcome

If you look back up this thread a couple of inches you will see that a chart has been posted by @Stitch. You can save this by right clicking.

Hope that helps.



Hi Justin, first comment i’m making in your lessons.
I’m playing guitar for about 15 years, I consider myself a intermedian player.
I found your lessons when I decided to bump up my skills, especially on the theory area.
I decide to watch all of your beginner lessons anyway, and make my way through.
Very good decision I made, I have pickup some new things, and this lesson is a great example of that, something that I really never thought about.
Thanks for doing this lessons free, you are a great teacher!
Greetings from Brazil.

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A great Lesson showing how all the chords are related. I just need to go lie down in a dark room for a while before my brain melts :slight_smile:

I think im gonna light this lesson on fire and move along.