Using a Capo to Change Keys

Using capos to change keys is an amazing way to open your world of music. Playing the same songs in different keys can give an entirely different feel to any old tune. If you have ever picked up and played the same song on different guitars you know what I mean. Just as the same song will sound different on different guitars, the same song will often feel and sound different when you change keys using a capo.

If you are a vocalist using a capo is especially helpful. It will allow you to not have to learn a new way of playing. Moving the capo up and down the neck allows you to play at a higher or lower pitch. Songs that were written and performed outside of your range can easily be dropped or raised to a range that you can sing comfortably. I use to thing I didn’t need a capo and could always learn to play in open tuning what I didn’t realize is that I was making things much harder than they needed to be.

Playing in the open position without the capo you are usually playing in the key of E. The base note and the high note are both E. If a capo is used and placed on the third fret you have just moved up to the key of G. The more you play the more you will begin to know where you are comfortable. For some reason I naturally try singing the higher end of my range so whenever I can key down it seems to help my performance.

Capos come in all sorts of different colors and styles. Some of them operate on came locks while others use a spring mechanism. Personally I prefer the Kyser quick change. They are easy to put on and will stay in place as you play. The quick change is nice as well, especially if you are playing live. When you need to drop back down to open tuning you simply clamp the capo to your headstock and you are good to go.

Category: Uncategorized