Using a capo to stay in the same key

Well beyond my current understanding as well, but I can see some pattern in Richards diagram but not sure of the logic as only just passed Grade 1 Music Theory.
The capo chart in another topic is derived from this I presume, is that correct @Richard_close2u

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Now I’m confused! According to JG’s Songbook Stand By Me is played using the same chords as shown above with the capo on 2. Why aren’t they different?

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@Richard_close2u Could you clear this one up? Which option is correct or are they both?

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Capo 2 puts it in the Key of A which the Song is written in but in the open A position there is an F#m chord which beginners have a hard time playing so capo 2 make the F#m Chord and Em. Making the song easier for beginners.

You will find a lot of songs for beginners Capo 2 to avoid barre chords.

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I guess I’m not explaining myself! What I mean is that the top part of the Stand By Me picture shows what I assume are the open chords version of the song with the lower section left blank to fill in. But according to JG’s Songbook you can play the same chords with a capo on fret 2 for the song which would mean that the open chords version is not correct as you have noted. This is why I’m confused with this!

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You can play a song in any key you like or what ever fits your voice. These things aren’t written in stone. Richard is just using this as an example. In his example he showing the song in G not a big deal. Justin in his Beginner song book (emphasis on the Word Beginner) is showing the song in the Key of A. Capo 2 using chord shapes from the Key of G. (G up two semi tones is A)
The original song was written in A. If you do a google search you will find sheet music in the Key of C, F, Bb, and A all claiming to be written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ben E King.

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Fair enough. So I guess what you are saying is that you can play any song with (or without) a capo at any position using the same chords and it will still be ok. If it sounds good it is :slight_smile:

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Kinda: Stand By Me is a I iv IV V (1 6 4 5) chord progression. As long as you play this progression in the style of Stand By Me it doesn’t matter what Key you play it in. With or with out a capo. Unless you’re playing with other people every one need to play in the same key. The Capo doesn’t make any difference as long as you are all playing in the key of G in this example. This is what this lesson is all about.

So if You, Richard and I are jammin’ this song together and you learnt it from Justin’s song book Capo 2 using the Chords in G and I play it with out a Capo and Richard plays it with a Capo on the 5th fret. What chords would Richard have to play to be in the same Key as You and I?
What Chord would I be playing to be in the same Key as you and Richard?

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Thanks @Rod58 @tony


Perhaps - do you recall which topic?

@Stuartw (and @stitch who has helped out tremendously)
My apologies. I created the G, Em, C, D chord chart some years back for a beginner guitar student and when posting this topic completely forgot that I had changed the key those years ago.
Stitch has it spot on.
To match the songbook / original key I should have posted the blank template after a chord chart like this:

Using the chord chart that I did I should have noted that the chords G, Em, C and D did not represent the original key, but that they needed to be considered as ‘chord-shapes’ with a capo at fret 2. This would also allow people to think of the capo use in both directions - both ‘up’ the neck and ‘down’ the neck - in other words taking the capo which was at fret 2 and removing it completely. The latter of these would yield the chords shown in the diagram here, namely A, F#m, D and E.

I hope that along with the answers and clarification given, you have had things cleared up @stuartw.


Great follow up question stitch! :slight_smile:

This is the chart I was thinking about, I took a screen shot to include in advanced of copy of Justin’s Beginners Journal!!!

Two very good questions to which I have no answer at this point. Going to need some time to work that out. :slight_smile:

Go back and read this thread. This is what Richard is teaching in this lesson. Do you know the notes on the E and A strings? It’s hard to grasp at first but once you do it will seem so simple.

Hi Mat.
I’m flattered that you think Justin creates his content based on my own.
I did originally create this topic a couple of years ago in the old forum but I don’t think Justin copied it.


Don’t do yourself an injustice, I have looked at your various posts on music theory and they look, comprehensive and very interesting, the only problem I have is that is way beyond my current knowledge as only just passed Grade 1 music theory, but intend to get there and understand them.

I think we may have been a bit at cross purposes, with the “advanced copy of Justin’s Beginners Journal” it alludes to an earlier topic on the creation of such a publication, I was trying to make a bit of a joke about it, obviously failed.

Cheers Michael :+1:

I appreciate it Michael, sorry to burst the funny bubble by not seeing it. :slight_smile:

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I do know the notes on the E and E strings but not sure they fit with your question.

You - A, F#m, D, E
Richard - E, C#m, A, B

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:+1: :+1: