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Cafe Gig insights......Using the Capo!!


onewilyfool

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When I started learning guitar.....I did NOT have a capo.....which, in retrospect, was a good thing for me! I would learn a song from records...writing down the chords and words....THEN I would transpose the chords to a "key" that was suitable to my limited vocal range....lol....thus, I didn't need a capo, and learned a lot of new chords and how to transpose. Fast forward to present time.....Singing at the cafe, having to up the volume of the guitar, and up my vocals to get over the "din" of the cafe, I've been starting to use the capo on a lot of songs that really HAVE to be played with certain chords and progressions. (for example "something" in C, and "Here comes the sun" in D by the Beatles)....it just sounds wierd in other chords to me! Also raising the voice volume in the cafe often "forces" me to change key from my more relaxed, at home on the sofa voice...I hope you are following me on this...lol....So, for me, using the capo presented some problems.....one, being able to find the right frets, say, when capo'd on the first fret....lol...second fret not so bad because the reminder dots on the neck are similar to open tuning without the capo. But other frets for the capo are still a little problematic for me. (Try doing "Blackbird" capo'd on the first fret....lol)...secondly, when a guitar is capo'd, the entire sound of the guitar changes....for blues, it is great, but for some songs (like "Blackbird") I prefer the open sound of the non-capo'd guitar......anyway, thought I'd share some insights I've been having of giging vrs. home play!!

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Way back when I used to make capos out of a pencil and rubber band. But I just don't like the things and have not used one for years. While a capo does make life easier ya can't really get a Lightnin' Hopkins vibe if ya can't play around the nut. And I love me those big banging cowboy chords.

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I've seen Paul Simon do Here Comes The Sun in an A fingerposition – the original key, although Harrison plays it in a D-position with capo on 7thfret. (I think)

 

I usually play it in D without capo.

 

The black bird – why on earth would you wanna capo one fret up ?

 

See what you mean by the position mark issue. It can be confusing with capo on first, third, 5th or 7th if you're in a tense situation like in front of an audience.

 

 

 

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I've seen Paul Simon do Here Comes The Sun in an A fingerposition – the original key, although Harrison plays it in a D-position with capo on 7thfret. (I think)

 

Yes, A the original key. I've always done it G no capo - they key used in the video posted by Vincent. I've seen Simon do it in G, just as in the video, no capo. But sounds so good as a duet with one capo'ed for the D form and one with no capo on the open forms.

 

Funny how those keys drift down as you get older. . B)

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Yes, A the original key. I've always done it G no capo - they key used in the video posted by Vincent. I've seen Simon do it in G, just as in the video, no capo. But sounds so good as a duet with one capo'ed for the D form and one with no capo on the open forms.

 

Funny how those keys drift down as you get older. . B)

Kahune...amen!! I learned a lot of songs in my college days, and have to move down two steps to play them today!...lol

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I just want to add that using: the capo....the guitar....and your voice

 

I think we need to look at these as the ingredients that take "A Song" and turn it into "your song".

 

First finding a song you want to learn, then figuring out which guitar sounds best for that particular song, asking does a capo bring something to it based on which key works for your voice, then learning it so it sounds best for you.

 

To me that is the progression in learning a song, sometimes using a specific guitar (with or maybe without a capo) and then sung in a key for my voice ....well it ends up helping me sound like me!

 

Of course then I do the song in front of people and it does seem like the key changes....probably because my voice gets tighter. [crying][blush]

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I do use a capo because I like the ability to quickly change the tone for certain songs. However, I didn't enjoy using it much because I had the Kyser spring type capo and found it got in the way of my fretting hand. I recently switched to the standard Shubb capo which is alot more "low-profile" and also has adjustable tension which i think gives a fuller, less muted sound than a spring loaded capo.

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By the way, one of the things I'm learning about singing is Breath.....I'm seeing that to sing well you need a FULL breath...AND you need to know WHEN to breathe as to not interrupt the cadence of the words, spacing of the words....in other words, you have to practice the singing along with the guitar playing too coordinate breath, guitar and voice....it is a delicate dance that I have not mastered at all....but fun to try....I'm having a blast!!

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By the way, one of the things I'm learning about singing is Breath.....I'm seeing that to sing well you need a FULL breath...AND you need to know WHEN to breathe as to not interrupt the cadence of the words, spacing of the words....in other words, you have to practice the singing along with the guitar playing too coordinate breath, guitar and voice....it is a delicate dance that I have not mastered at all....but fun to try....I'm having a blast!!

 

OWF....I don't believe this for one second..... I know how full of hot air you are. You could probably sing AND play tuba with out even breaking a sweat!

 

[flapper][biggrin]

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OWF....I don't believe this for one second..... I know how full of hot air you are. You could probably sing AND play tuba with out even breaking a sweat!

 

[flapper][biggrin]

Well...hot air or not....playing in front of others, making mistakes, nervousness, cute women...all tend to shallow up the breath....lol.....sometimes I don't have enough air for the last words of a stanza!!!....lol

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I've always used a capo...even used the fore-mentioned pencil and rubber band! I originally used it to transpose easily. Now I use it just for the different voicing you get with being capo'd up. The Lyle Lovett school of capoing! I also really like using one when I'm playing with other guitar players. rather than 2 or more of us bashing the same position, one hits open, one plays standard barres and one capos up to whatever fret works. really adds a lot of flavor.

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