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Buc McMaster

The humble capo.

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I read through the thread with interest and was about to put up my answer when I read someone else had beaten me to it.

 

"Try playing 'Here Comes The Sun' without a capo"

 

Says it all for me.

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Easy for me in key of D (shape) without...but always tuned down I'd actually be playing it in C. However, a capo is good friend to old hands and vocal choice.

 

'Riverwolf' asks a dumb question, which usually gets an author a flood of responses.

Edited by jedzep

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'Riverwolf' asks a dumb question, which usually gets an author a flood of responses.

 

Bingo.

 

Why have different tunings? You make the same notes.

 

Why do some people wear loafers and some wear boots. All you need is one type of shoe.

 

It's an idiotic question, but it worked for him.....

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I can’t be arsed reading the AGF page.

But am I right I’m assuming there are still weirdos out there that say a capo is cheating?

 

 

yes,, you're right.. poor sods are lost in the delusions of their own makings..

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I don't know if this is a repeat of an answer over at AGF because I didn't have the patience to read through the entire thread. However, when playing a tune with a second guitarist or recording tracks with two guitar parts, separating the "voices" of the two guitars by using a capo on one, or both makes the resulting sound much wider and more pleasing IMO. Jim Croce and Maury Muehleisen, Gordon Lightfoot and Red Shea / Terry Clements combos are examples of this technique.

 

I'm working on Lightfoot's "Song For a Winter's Night" right now. Gordon's part is capo 2 (naturally) but the second guitar part is capo 7. The sound of the two guitars in Capo 2 and Capo 7 respectively, is quite lovely.

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Agreed on all fronts. A capo is borderline essential for layering acoustic textures in the studio and is a writer's best friend, especially when writing for other artists. Back when I was a staff writer, I'd be placed on innumerable co-writes and demo sessions where artists would decide that they were either in the rafters or unable to get power behind certain notes and phrases. The answer? Capo. Quick and simple. Not to mention MUCH more pro than saying "go get a coffee and give me ten mins to transpose this, and then another half an hour to figure out how to make the chord melody and pull-offs work with the different chords".

 

All the great guitar based writers used/use capos. Even the notoriously capophobic jazz crowd have one or two stashed away somewhere.

 

Sure, there are always a few self satisfied sorts who will hack through an awkward version of 'No Woman, No Cry' and declare themselves divested of the demon capo, and act like a superior being because of it, but the reality is that anyone who is serious about what they do accepts that a capo is a valuable and vital tool.

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May be that some players are frustrated with their capoed tone, which I can understand, as there's a change in sustain and drive as you get up into the higher frets, requiring a slightly different attack. Sort of like the way I'd play my small bods. That's how I approach it anyway. Certainly, as Jinder says, a great tool.

Edited by jedzep

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This thread at AGF might interest to those who wonder. Watch the video linked in Eric Skye's post. Not my style but the man can play wonderfully.

For someone who sings in the Key of "Z" the capo is my best friend.

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That's Yoko's key.

 

I'm waiting for the self-driving capo, which can move up and down the frets with any key I stumble on.

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I read through the thread with interest and was about to put up my answer when I read someone else had beaten me to it.

 

"Try playing 'Here Comes The Sun' without a capo"

 

Says it all for me.

If you play "Here Comes The Sun" w/o a capo it is now in the key of D rather than the key of A.Other than the key change it still sounds O.K.

There are no open strings to impact the integrity of the song as originally presented.

So I don't understand what you mean by "Try playing 'Here Comes the Sun' without a capo." It's simply in another key.

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If you play "Here Comes The Sun" w/o a capo it is now in the key of D rather than the key of A.Other than the key change it still sounds O.K.

There are no open strings to impact the integrity of the song as originally presented.

So I don't understand what you mean by "Try playing 'Here Comes the Sun' without a capo." It's simply in another key.

 

 

You must understand what he meant

Surely you understand what he meant

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You must understand what he meant

Surely you understand what he meant

 

Thanks, BBG. I assumed it was clear but you know what they say about assuming things. Just for grinners, I tried to play Here Comes The Sun with no capo, in open position, using the same fingering. Of course, it is now in the key of D and not A as originally written and hence a full seven steps lower. I have no problem with changing keys on songs to put them in a key more favourable to a particular vocal range, but isn't that what a capo does anyway? The song sounds weird, it has no energy or any of the brightness associated with George's intent of singing about the return of the sun after a long winter.

 

So I played it in the original key of A and with no capo so the fingerings and arpeggios are now not possible. Also, the chord voicings shift in the wrong directions. It is still weird.

 

I do regularly play Here Comes The Sun in a different key than the original. I play it in G with the capo at fret 5 and the normal fingerings and arpeggios. I like this version of the song as it mirrors the great Harrison / Simon performance from Saturday Night Live in 1976. Of course, in this version, while both Simon and Harrison are playing in the key of G, Harrison is capo 5 but Simon is playing with no capo in standard tuning. This gives the performance a wonderful wide sonic spectrum and texture.

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You must understand what he meant

Surely you understand what he meant

My point was simply that if George Harrison was still alive and he was asked why he played it capoed on the 7th fret he might have said that that key was the easiest for him to sing it in. If he had recorded it un-capoed would we be talking about it? Or capoed on the 2nd or 5th fret?So- to answer your rhetorical question-I didn't really understand what the OP meant by it.Which is why I asked. Not to elicit an ironic response from someone else.

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Some people use a capo because they're just not very good at playing guitar.

 

 

HA! Great comeback Larry, Tommy is a beast..

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Some people use a capo because they're just not very good at playing guitar.

 

Love this! Listening to "Windy and Warm" right now. I'm not the biggest TE fan but when he plays like Chet I go all gooey inside! :)

Edited by drathbun

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I read through the thread with interest and was about to put up my answer when I read someone else had beaten me to it.

 

"Try playing 'Here Comes The Sun' without a capo"

 

Says it all for me.

 

 

I use the capo plenty. So this is not a dig at the sentiment you express. I agree with you.

But I wish to tip my hat & give a nod to the discipline inherent in the classical guitar genre.

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