A Handy Capo Guide

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A Handy Capo Guide

Postby Doug Working » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:06 pm

I thought this would be helpful. I mentioned recently that I bought this new capo, "Thalia," and I am pretty tickled with it after decades of sticking with my Schub.

Anyway, the ease of using it prompted me last night to sit down with pen and a notepad, and actually figure out what keys I am playing in as I move the capo up and down the neck. (knowing the key comes in pretty handy, heh, heh, heh!)

Anyway, I play with the group and choir in church, and of course, they like to have a wide range of keys that they change in a New York minute.

So I wanted a handy guide so I won't have to figure it out as I go. Not that I can't do that, but it's faster to have it written down.

So after I compiled all frets and keys, I then narrowed it down to the most common ones and the most PRACTICAL ones. That is to say, when you clamp the capo too high, (getting up in the ten, eleven, twelve fret range) , it really is impossible to play. Eighth fret, or possibly ninth is as high as I can practically go, at least on my guitar. So technically, even though you are in a given key at the higher frets, it's really useless when you can't form the chords.

So I got my list together, and I know you guys can figure these out for yourself, it really took me a couple hours to compile my guide after I cross referenced all frets with all desirable or commonly used keys.

So here is my list for your reference, should you wish to use it. Merry Christmas!


Desired key = the key you wish to be playing in, play in form = play the chords as if you were in that key when playing un-capoed.


Desired Key of G / capo 3rd fret, play in E major form
Desired key of G / capo 5th fret, play in D major form


Desired Key of C / capo 3rd fret, play in A major form
Desired key of C / capo 8th fret, play in E major form


Desired key of A / capo 5th fret, play in E major form
Desired key of A / capo 3rd fret, play in C major form


Desired key of B flat / Capo 6th fret, play in E major form

Desired key of D / Capo 2nd fret, play in C major form
Desired key of D / capo 5th fret, play in A major form

Desired key of F /capo 3rd fret, play in D major form
Desired key of F / capo 5th fret, play in C major form

Desired key of E / capo 2nd fret, play in D major form
Desired key of E / capo 4th fret, play in C major form

Desired key of Eflat / capo 7th fret, play in C major form
Desired key of Eflat / capo 1st fret, play in D major form


It's interesting that there are only two or three really practical frets to play each key.

Of course, you guys can easily figure out minor keys. Perhaps I should have done A and E minor.


Please feel free to make suggestions or corrections if you find mistakes.

Merry Christmas!

Doug
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Re: A Handy Capo Guide

Postby rhirvine » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:45 pm

Thanks Doug. Myself, I always like my guitar a bassy as possible so I rarely move the capo up past the second fret. At church I only lead a small group of men in singing hymns and praises before a Bible study. Since I'm in control of the singing key, and we only use our hymnal which happens to have a bunch of praise songs in it too, I look at the melody notes and if I see that we have to sing any notes above middle C. I lower the key until that doesn't happen. My singing range these days is I'd like to say baritone but baritones are supposed to be able to hit higher notes above middle C than I can. To think I used to sing tenor in choir!
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Re: A Handy Capo Guide

Postby Doug Working » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:38 pm

I think with me, the capo adds some variety of tone. I'm working on a lot of Christmas tunes, and some of them sound notably prettier up higher.
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Re: A Handy Capo Guide

Postby DagerRande » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:45 pm

For years I played "Black Mt. Rag" with a capo on the 2nd fret. I did it to be able to handle the stretches that I used in my arrangment.
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Re: A Handy Capo Guide

Postby Doug Working » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:05 pm

It's those stretches that can be murder, especially for a guy with diminutive hands, such as moi. I'd give anything to have hands and fingers that were actually MADE for the instrument. But I have to deal with what I have.

It's kind of analogous to a guy who wants to play basketball but is not blessed with superb height. (Think Pistol Pete Maravich.) He can succeed if he truly has the burning DESIRE, but the guy wth Michael Jordan's genes will get there twice as fast as the shorter guy and probably a lot less work and pain. (Yes, my left arm is still in excruciating pain.)

Anyway, that's my opinion, and it ought to be yours. (Wink!)

Doug
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