Capo The Chords To Best Suit Your Voice

Since the chord progression (the degrees in the key at least) remains the same with the capo on, you can recognize the song. Take a I-IV-V progression in C: you have C, F and G. If you put a capo at the 3rd fret for example, you will play D#, G# and A# which are still the I-IV-V chords but now in the key of D# instead of C.

It’s also possible to put a capo on and then play the song in the original key but with different grips, e.g. if there’s a B chord in the song and you’re not comfortable with your A-shape barre chords (yet), you can put a capo at the 2nd fret and play the open A shape which will sound like a B chord.

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I think that you can do two ‘different’ things with a capo is what beginners like myself find confusing when they first come across it.

Sounds good to me but interesting that you have a capo at 5 and still playing the same chords. Shouldn’t they be a different set of chords (not worked out which yet) to compensate for the capo at 5 when the original doesn’t use one?

No because you are changing the Key to suit the vocals. If you changed the chord voicings as you suggest it would be in the original key. Its raised to match Sandy’s vocal comfort zone.
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Well confused now, as I was told that if you used a capo you changed the chords!! So you can play a tune with or without a capo.

I think I understand what you are saying but as I don’t sing I guess that it makes little difference whether I use a capo or not on a song.

Hi Stuart, the capo can be used to either (a) move a song into a key that suits your voice or (b) to simplify some songs that would otherwise require more difficult chords (e.g. barre chords). For (a) when you play for example an open G chord with the a capo on the second fret it becomes an A chord (i.e. for every fret the capo is moved up the chord goes up one semi tone). For (b) if you put the capo on the second fret and wanted a G chord you would play an A chord. Playing the A chord with the capo on the second fret would sound more or less the same as the open G chord. That’s my understanding. I’m sure others will correct me if I am wrong.

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You play the same shape but the tonality of the chord changes, so in that respect yes the chord changes but the fingering and shape stays the same. Example if you play an Open E major shape without a capo its E major. If you put a capo on the first fret and play the same E major shape, each string is raised a semitone so the chord becomes F major. Do you play barre chords Stuart ? it is the same principle your index finger is the capo. Example 2 using an open G chord, with the capo on the 2nd fret and the G chord shape played the equivalent 2 fret up ie root on the 5th fret and not the 3rd, the chord becomes an A as you have raised the tuning 2 semitones (2 frets) or one tone. Play a C shape after the G and that will be a D as the capo makes it a tone higher. So as you can see the shapes stay the same its the tonality that changes. Hope that helps.
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I have no idea… just a beginner here… I usually play on the 4th fret because I can’t sing those male vocals that low.

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Thanks Madman, that’s how I understood it also.

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Thank you jkahn… I love singing more than I love playing, during my break I realised fingerpicking will be my destiny.

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So not the same as the original? Probably doesn’t matter I guess.

Power chords. Do they count? Still haven’t managed to get the full F barre and tend to play alternatives as they are easier. Still doing the F barre practice occasionally and will probably get it at some point. Not sure when at the rate I’m going :slight_smile:

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Yes and no. Its the same but in a different key, ie its higher than the original. Quite common covers when the key is change to match the singers vocal range, Its like a male vocalist tuning the guitar a half or full step lower. Same song different Key.

No but you know the F barre chord yes. Its the shape that counts not that you can play it. Look at it as the index being the capo and fingers 234 playing an open E chord shape.
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Been thinking about this. So that chords should be C D Am G D C Am G, but played with a capo they aren’t. They are something else. Not worked out what yet. So in effect it’s only the singing that lets us know what the song is because the chords are different and not like the original.

No you will recognize the song by the music, even without lyrics. It will just sound higher. You need to look at Justin’s capo lesson. On phone so cant offer link.
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Thanks James, saves me coming out of the sun. :wink:

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We are going to agree to disagree on this one. I have just played it with and without capo and they sound completely different. Not even close!

And you played the same chord “shapes” each time ?

Well, I played the same chords on the 5th fret just because I can’t sing it at the low range of the first fret. Sounds like the original to me. Just at a higher vocal range. Are you saying my version doesn’t sound like the tune at all?