Tabs App - Transposing the chords

Just signed up to the app and trying to get my head around the transposing option. I am working through Theory Grade 3 so I might be in a situation where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Perhaps best to use an example, Bad Moon Rising as it gives both chords and sheet music.

The lesson starts off using a capo on the fifth fret using chords A, D and E. this is what shows on the chord lyrics and puts it in the Key of A I think.

If you press the + five times you get to chords D, A and G which I think puts it in the key of D and also the chords Justin says you can play in the open position. This ties up with my capo chart.

The Tabs don’t show any symbol, so that would imply C major key, neither of the above.

It would be helpful if the chords option gave the key when you transposed it.

The other thing I don’t understand is if you press the + once you get A changing to A#, is that a chord? Which direction is +ve towards the nut or the bridge.

Each press of the + seems to advance the chord letter by semi-tone.

Think I best stop as I am starting to disappear into a black hole.

I think my current lack of chord theory is the problem, can anybody point me in the right direction.


If you’re starting off with the chord shapes A, D & E with the capo on the 5th fret and move the capo to the 4th fret you would get A#, D# and F. Therefore, I would presume that each time you press +ve its moving the capo towards the nut. I would presume that each time you press the +ve it moves the capo up by one fret.

Michael, in most cases, a + sign is equivalent to moving the capo one fret higher - away from the nut.

Capo fret 5
Chord shape A = actual chord D
Chord shape D = actual chord G
Chord shape E = actual chord A

Key of D
D = I
G = IV
A - V

Capo fret 10 (following five + button clicks)
Chord shape A = actual chord G
Chord shape D = actual chord C
Chord shape E = actual chord D

Key of G
G = I
C = IV
D = V

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That follows, + means one fret higher.
The chord one semitone higher than A major is the chord A# major.

If those were the actual chords (but they’re not) that would need to be 6th not 4th fret.

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Capo 5th fret A shaped chord is a D chord. You are playing in the Key of D. If you remove the capo and play A D and E you will be in the Key of A
A# is a chord it’s one semitone up from A capo on first fret

@Socio @Richard_close2u your both wrong. If you move the capo to the 4th fret you get Db Gb and Ab

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@Richard_close2u @stitch

Please correct me if I am wrong if I apply a A# barre chord with the capo on the 4th fret (thinking of it as the nut) I would get a D chord, if I apply a F chord I would get an A chord and if I apply a D# chord I would get a G chord? Thanks for the clarification as still getting my head around this, I think I may have worded my response poorly.

Richard James Rick
@Richard_close2u @Socio @stitch

Thanks for your comments and will have to give it some thought, wondered what I was going to do tomorrow, I now know.

Would make one initial thought, don’t know if any of you have the tab app but if I input +5 I get the chords a G, A and D. If I put in -7 I get the same chords, this imply to me that the app uses +ve to the nut and -ve towards the bridge, starting at the 5th fret.

If I now look at Take Me Home Country Roads, the lesson does not have a capo, I go -ve towards the bridge then I would expect say the G chord to become G# but it is F# which would be away from the bridge.

I think I am more confused,.
Don’t know if the developers could clarify +ve and -ve directions in the software, I am sure that would help considerably.


I would have thought that the app is changing the chord shape e.g. if you play a F# chord considering the capo on the first fret as the nut would you not be effectively playing a e shaped G barre chord?

If you have a capo but are referencing full barre chords it makes no sense to talk of them other than by shape and fret number.
An E-shape barre at fret 10 is D major with or without capo
At fret 6 is A# major with or without capo.
Inly when describing a song with a capo and a mix of open and barre chords might you begin to describe the barre chord distance from the capo.
Capo fret 4
Open chord shapes of G, C and D.
E-shape barre at fret 9.
You might refer to it as 5 frets higher than the calo.
Yku might refer to it is being at fret 9.
You would not refer to it as an A major chord. (I say A major as without capo, it sits 5 frets higher than the nut).

I agree.
I wrote similar… not sure where yoh see an error, I will correct if I have nessed up

Hi Richard, I totally agree with you. I’ve seen a few apps present it that way and just speculating that may be how the JustinGuitar Tab App is presented to derive at A# with capo on 4th fret, whether rightly or wrongly. Thanks for the clarification. As always your posts enlighten and educate me.

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I am struggling to see how any A# can ve played other than with a barre chord if the capo is fret 4.

C shape = E major
A shape = C# major / Db major
G shape = B major
E shape = G# major / Ab major
D shape = F# major / Gb major


Hi Richard, that’s my point. I suspect that when Michael is transposing to the 4th fret on the Tab app its telling him to play a barre chord and its telling him to play an A# barre chord as if the capo is the nut. I’ve seen it presented that way on a few other apps. I don’t have the tab app to confirm. As you correctly said if you play an A# barre chord considering the capo as the nut you wouldn’t call it a A# you would call it a D chord.

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Yup, because A# is at fret 6 and 4 + 6 = 10.
Capo 4.
E shape barre 6 frets higher (the equivalent to thinking of A#)
D major is an E shape at fret 10

All these recent posts are way beyond my current knowledge.
Time for bed in the uk and have a fresh look at this tomorrow.
Michael :bed:

So the chords presented by the app count the frets based on position of the capo. With A# considered as A shape barre chord?

@Richard_close2u @stitch @Socio

Right I have come back to this having spent the last week looking at Richards “circle of fifths- part 1” and other aspects of transposing and I think I have been over thinking the issue.

So when you go +ve you go forward through the notes ie A to A# to B etc likewise when you go -ve you go backwards through the notes A to G# to G etc

At least I might get some sleep tonight!!!


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