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A flat Capo adjustment?


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#1 TroutBum

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:48 AM

Off the internet I printed two charts for proper capo placement--one chart for flats and another for sharps. Now, a guitar player at church today is placing the capo on the first fret to play in the key of G when the music is written in A flat. I was pretty sure my charts for flats does not indicate you can capo to any fret in A Flat to play in the key of G. I brought this up to the guitar player in question and he tells me I don't know poop from putty. While everyone was playing in A flat, he was chording in G.

I thought I'd come in here and see which one of us is right.

I say if you capo at the first fret in A flat, you can chord in A. He chords in G. Since I am just a beginner, I thought wiser guitarists could help me out. What say you?

#2 novograblenof

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:48 AM

Hello Troutbum
I saw this on the Gibson Skill House, maybe it will help.
http://www2.gibson.c...Use-a-Capo.aspx

Take care
Michael

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#3 naccoachbob

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 02:03 AM

If you capo the 1st fret and play A, you're playing Bb.
So a G then would be Ab.
Your chords move up in tone a half step.

Play well,

Bob
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#4 Craigh

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:37 PM

Hard to say exactly without seeing the music, but if it was originally in Ab it could call for some odd chords like Ab and Db. By capoing the first fret you could easily accomplish those chords in their open form by now simply playing a G which would be an Ab and a C which would be a Db for example. There could be other reasons though as well such as playing with instruments that are tuned to a different different pitch reference such as orchestral tuning.

Did it sound OK, I guess that is all that really matters? :whiteviolin:


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#5 Cindy

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:16 PM

When I first read this, I was confused, but now I understand what the other guy did.

The original song was written in the key of Ab (concert pitch). He transposed the song down to the key of G so if you were to play what he played WITHOUT a capo, it would sound in the key of G (concert pitch). So then he added a capo at the first fret which raised the concert key from G up 1/2 half step to Ab. He's fingering the chords in the key of G while using a capo so it sounds like the song is in the key of Ab.

I think what you missed is that he transposed the song down 1/2 step to G before adding the capo. :)

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EDIT:

BTW, since you wrote the following about him chording in G, that was the giveaway that he transposed the song down 1/2 step.

While everyone was playing in A flat, he was chording in G.


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#6 JWELLS6407

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:34 AM

It’s easy to become discombobulated when installing a capo. Here’s the way I figure it:

The only thing a capo does is raise the guitar’s tone one-half step per fret. It doesn’t matter in which key the music is written; a written G chord still calls for a G chord, and an Ab chord, an Ab chord. This notwithstanding, installing a capo at Fret I does NOT alter the music, but rather the guitar. When the music reads a G chord, a fretted G is no longer a G, but an Ab. It follows that when an Ab chord is fretted, the guitar sounds a B chord.

The confusion begins when you use the guitar to transpose music from one key to another. The process can be simplified by remembering the different chord progressions of the keys in question (i.e., I, ii, iii, IV, etc.). In the key of G, I is G major, ii is A, iii is B, etc. In the key of Ab, I is Ab major, ii is B b, iii is C b (enharmonic B ), etc. Transposing merely changes how the chord progression is defined. It's very convenient to memorize each major key's chord progression, no? Yeah. But if we don't, we can use a capo to raise the guitar's tone by one-half step per fret and play the chords as the music in the original key calls for.

If we do this, we don’t have to think (very much, that is); just play! Lotsa luck.



#7 Craigh

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:21 PM


I say he could have explained it to you. Rather than insulting.


I am always reluctant to do a post because there are quite a few who seem to go out of their way to make you feel like an idiot. Sometimes they don't remember they were once a beginner, too. I'm a big boy. I can take criticism. Just don't be an ***** about it.
Troutbum


There arn't a lot of flamers on here which is a good thing, so the only bad question is the unasked one!!
It sounds like the guitar guy was kind of a d...head.

My question though, I was wondering what called this to your attention, was it the disconnect betwen the published music and the use of the Capo, or did the guitar player sound out of tune with the rest of the instruments?

Craig
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#8 TroutBum

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:35 PM



I say he could have explained it to you. Rather than insulting.


I am always reluctant to do a post because there are quite a few who seem to go out of their way to make you feel like an idiot. Sometimes they don't remember they were once a beginner, too. I'm a big boy. I can take criticism. Just don't be an ***** about it.
Troutbum


There arn't a lot of flamers on here which is a good thing, so the only bad question is the unasked one!!
It sounds like the guitar guy was kind of a d...head.

My question though, I was wondering what called this to your attention, was it the disconnect betwen the published music and the use of the Capo, or did the guitar player sound out of tune with the rest of the instruments?

Craig


The piano was playing in A flat and two other guitars were playing in A flat. The third guitar was capoing at fret one and was playing as if he was in the key of G. Since I had obtained a capo chart from the internet, I was pretty sure he was playing in the wrong key, as the chart does not list being able to put the capo on the first fret and chord in G. And, if you use Steves math to figure the fret to capo at, the chart is correct, Steve is correct and my guitar playing friend was wrong. Now, he doesn't use a pick on an acoustic/electric, so hearing him above the piano, two guitars and four vocalists is impossible, unless, you are standing next to him, as I am. He was not transposing as he neither reads music nor could he transpose if he wanted to. So, w/o transposing, and with music written in A flat, it seems to me that you cannot capo at the first fret and chord in G w/o being out of key. And, using Steves method, if he really wanted to play in G, he would need to count the half frets from A flat, up the neck to G. I think that would put him so close to the body that he couldn't fit his fingers on the frets to chord. Any comments?

#9 scratcher

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:19 AM

The piano was playing in A flat and two other guitars were playing in A flat. The third guitar was capoing at fret one and was playing as if he was in the key of G. Since I had obtained a capo chart from the internet, I was pretty sure he was playing in the wrong key, as the chart does not list being able to put the capo on the first fret and chord in G. And, if you use Steves math to figure the fret to capo at, the chart is correct, Steve is correct and my guitar playing friend was wrong. Now, he doesn't use a pick on an acoustic/electric, so hearing him above the piano, two guitars and four vocalists is impossible, unless, you are standing next to him, as I am. He was not transposing as he neither reads music nor could he transpose if he wanted to. So, w/o transposing, and with music written in A flat, it seems to me that you cannot capo at the first fret and chord in G w/o being out of key. And, using Steves method, if he really wanted to play in G, he would need to count the half frets from A flat, up the neck to G. I think that would put him so close to the body that he couldn't fit his fingers on the frets to chord. Any comments?



The guy is playing in A flat if he has a capo on the 1st fret and playing chords as if he was playing in G using traditional open shape chords

[No Capo (strings 6 to 1)] [Capo (strings 6 to 1)]

[G Major] [G B D G B D] [ Ab C Eb Ab C Eb (= Ab Major)]

[C Major] [X C E G C E] [ X Db F Ab Db F (=Db Major)]

[D Major] [ X X D A D F#] [X X Eb Bb Eb G (= Eb Major)]

Perhaps post the link to the capo chart and I'll try and work out what you're not understanding.

Oops all got squashed together. Not sure how to format the thing properly. Anyway I've put square brackets around each set of six strings

#10 naccoachbob

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:46 AM

Troutbum, he really was playing in Ab when he made the G chord with the capo on the first fret.
Using the capo is like using your forefinger to barre the first fret, all the strings are 1/2 tone higher. So if he makes the G chord with a capo at 1st fret, the place he puts his finger on the 6th string is an Ab instead of the G note. It's like using the F barre. The forefinger in this case acts as a capo, so that you can move the other 3 fingers up and down the fret. So an F is like putting a capo on the first fret and making the E shape.
I do agree with the others here, he shouldn't have been a jerk about it. If he would have sat with you for a few min and explained his side, and you your side, I bet you would have come up with an agreement.
I play a number of songs that are in Bb or B. So I capo at the 3rd and 4th frets respectively, and play them in the key of G, because Bb and B are hard keys for guitar players (well ones like me). The capo is like cheating a little bit, but I gotta do it.

Play well,

Bob
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#11 TroutBum

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:24 AM


The piano was playing in A flat and two other guitars were playing in A flat. The third guitar was capoing at fret one and was playing as if he was in the key of G. Since I had obtained a capo chart from the internet, I was pretty sure he was playing in the wrong key, as the chart does not list being able to put the capo on the first fret and chord in G. And, if you use Steves math to figure the fret to capo at, the chart is correct, Steve is correct and my guitar playing friend was wrong. Now, he doesn't use a pick on an acoustic/electric, so hearing him above the piano, two guitars and four vocalists is impossible, unless, you are standing next to him, as I am. He was not transposing as he neither reads music nor could he transpose if he wanted to. So, w/o transposing, and with music written in A flat, it seems to me that you cannot capo at the first fret and chord in G w/o being out of key. And, using Steves method, if he really wanted to play in G, he would need to count the half frets from A flat, up the neck to G. I think that would put him so close to the body that he couldn't fit his fingers on the frets to chord. Any comments?



The guy is playing in A flat if he has a capo on the 1st fret and playing chords as if he was playing in G using traditional open shape chords

[No Capo (strings 6 to 1)] [Capo (strings 6 to 1)]

[G Major] [G B D G B D] [ Ab C Eb Ab C Eb (= Ab Major)]

[C Major] [X C E G C E] [ X Db F Ab Db F (=Db Major)]

[D Major] [ X X D A D F#] [X X Eb Bb Eb G (= Eb Major)]

Perhaps post the link to the capo chart and I'll try and work out what you're not understanding.

Oops all got squashed together. Not sure how to format the thing properly. Anyway I've put square brackets around each set of six strings



the link to the capo chart is: i-love-guitar.com
After your explanation and further forum input, it seems I am using the capo chart wrong. When the chart says, "play in this key" I took it to mean the key in which the original music is written in. But, apparently it means the key in which I want to play it in. Still, the chart and Steves formula are still confusing. I'll have to study it some more, but I think a dim light is beginning to flicker.
Any further suggestions you have would be appreciated.
T Bum

#12 scratcher

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:35 AM



The piano was playing in A flat and two other guitars were playing in A flat. The third guitar was capoing at fret one and was playing as if he was in the key of G. Since I had obtained a capo chart from the internet, I was pretty sure he was playing in the wrong key, as the chart does not list being able to put the capo on the first fret and chord in G. And, if you use Steves math to figure the fret to capo at, the chart is correct, Steve is correct and my guitar playing friend was wrong. Now, he doesn't use a pick on an acoustic/electric, so hearing him above the piano, two guitars and four vocalists is impossible, unless, you are standing next to him, as I am. He was not transposing as he neither reads music nor could he transpose if he wanted to. So, w/o transposing, and with music written in A flat, it seems to me that you cannot capo at the first fret and chord in G w/o being out of key. And, using Steves method, if he really wanted to play in G, he would need to count the half frets from A flat, up the neck to G. I think that would put him so close to the body that he couldn't fit his fingers on the frets to chord. Any comments?



The guy is playing in A flat if he has a capo on the 1st fret and playing chords as if he was playing in G using traditional open shape chords

[No Capo (strings 6 to 1)] [Capo (strings 6 to 1)]

[G Major] [G B D G B D] [ Ab C Eb Ab C Eb (= Ab Major)]

[C Major] [X C E G C E] [ X Db F Ab Db F (=Db Major)]

[D Major] [ X X D A D F#] [X X Eb Bb Eb G (= Eb Major)]

Perhaps post the link to the capo chart and I'll try and work out what you're not understanding.

Oops all got squashed together. Not sure how to format the thing properly. Anyway I've put square brackets around each set of six strings



the link to the capo chart is: i-love-guitar.com
After your explanation and further forum input, it seems I am using the capo chart wrong. When the chart says, "play in this key" I took it to mean the key in which the original music is written in. But, apparently it means the key in which I want to play it in. Still, the chart and Steves formula are still confusing. I'll have to study it some more, but I think a dim light is beginning to flicker.
Any further suggestions you have would be appreciated.
T Bum


I've had a look at the chart
Here is how I would use it....
Firstly decide what major keys you are comfortable playing in....for most this would be C, G, D, A, and E....well they are the keys I am comfortable in.
Next look at the music and see what key it is in (lets say Ab)
Then look at the table on the chart. It says you can play in the key of Ab by having a capo on the 1st fret, or on the 2nd, the 4th, the 6th , the 8th and the 9th. Now you don't want to play in B Major or F# Major, so you can play in Ab Major with the capo on the first fret using chords suitable for the key of G Major, or you can play in Ab Major by having the capo on the 4th fret and using E Major type chords, or on the 6th fret with D Major type chords, or on the 8th fret with C Major type chords.

The next thing you have to do is transpose the chords from Ab Major written music to to the altered key. This is where it helps to know the degrees of the scale and chordal analysis. Lets say we are most comfortable playing in the key of C, but the music is written in Ab Major. So to do that you put the capo on the 8th fret and play in C. The notes in Ab Major have to be transposed up 4 half steps to be playing in the key of C (Ab - A - Bb - B - C), or alternatively down 8 half steps (Ab - G - Gb - F - E - Eb - D - Db - C). Hard to do on the fly. One half step is easy to do on the fly (as in playing in G with the capo on the first fret). However if you know the degree of the scale you are home and hosed.

For C Major...C is the first dgree, D the second, E the third, F the 4th, G the 5th, A the 6th and B the 7th
For Ab Major....Ab is the 1st, Bb the 2nd, C the 3rd, Db the 4th, Eb the 5th, F the 6th, G the 7th

So a Db in Ab major becomes a F in C Major....because they are both the 4th degree of the scale. The same goes for naming chords.

The I, IV, V, I progression in Ab Major is Ab, Db, Eb, Ab and in C Major is C, F, G, C

Hope that hasn't confused things more!

#13 Craigh

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:25 PM

In the April 2012 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine there is an interesting article on using a capo that talks about this very thing. Guitar Player Article If the link doesn't work you can find it online also as "Arranging with a Capo. Also has a much easier to understand chart they use for illustration.

Craig
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#14 TroutBum

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:51 AM




The piano was playing in A flat and two other guitars were playing in A flat. The third guitar was capoing at fret one and was playing as if he was in the key of G. Since I had obtained a capo chart from the internet, I was pretty sure he was playing in the wrong key, as the chart does not list being able to put the capo on the first fret and chord in G. And, if you use Steves math to figure the fret to capo at, the chart is correct, Steve is correct and my guitar playing friend was wrong. Now, he doesn't use a pick on an acoustic/electric, so hearing him above the piano, two guitars and four vocalists is impossible, unless, you are standing next to him, as I am. He was not transposing as he neither reads music nor could he transpose if he wanted to. So, w/o transposing, and with music written in A flat, it seems to me that you cannot capo at the first fret and chord in G w/o being out of key. And, using Steves method, if he really wanted to play in G, he would need to count the half frets from A flat, up the neck to G. I think that would put him so close to the body that he couldn't fit his fingers on the frets to chord. Any comments?



The guy is playing in A flat if he has a capo on the 1st fret and playing chords as if he was playing in G using traditional open shape chords

[No Capo (strings 6 to 1)] [Capo (strings 6 to 1)]

[G Major] [G B D G B D] [ Ab C Eb Ab C Eb (= Ab Major)]

[C Major] [X C E G C E] [ X Db F Ab Db F (=Db Major)]

[D Major] [ X X D A D F#] [X X Eb Bb Eb G (= Eb Major)]

Perhaps post the link to the capo chart and I'll try and work out what you're not understanding.

Oops all got squashed together. Not sure how to format the thing properly. Anyway I've put square brackets around each set of six strings



the link to the capo chart is: i-love-guitar.com
After your explanation and further forum input, it seems I am using the capo chart wrong. When the chart says, "play in this key" I took it to mean the key in which the original music is written in. But, apparently it means the key in which I want to play it in. Still, the chart and Steves formula are still confusing. I'll have to study it some more, but I think a dim light is beginning to flicker.
Any further suggestions you have would be appreciated.
T Bum


I've had a look at the chart
Here is how I would use it....
Firstly decide what major keys you are comfortable playing in....for most this would be C, G, D, A, and E....well they are the keys I am comfortable in.
Next look at the music and see what key it is in (lets say Ab)
Then look at the table on the chart. It says you can play in the key of Ab by having a capo on the 1st fret, or on the 2nd, the 4th, the 6th , the 8th and the 9th. Now you don't want to play in B Major or F# Major, so you can play in Ab Major with the capo on the first fret using chords suitable for the key of G Major, or you can play in Ab Major by having the capo on the 4th fret and using E Major type chords, or on the 6th fret with D Major type chords, or on the 8th fret with C Major type chords.

The next thing you have to do is transpose the chords from Ab Major written music to to the altered key. This is where it helps to know the degrees of the scale and chordal analysis. Lets say we are most comfortable playing in the key of C, but the music is written in Ab Major. So to do that you put the capo on the 8th fret and play in C. The notes in Ab Major have to be transposed up 4 half steps to be playing in the key of C (Ab - A - Bb - B - C), or alternatively down 8 half steps (Ab - G - Gb - F - E - Eb - D - Db - C). Hard to do on the fly. One half step is easy to do on the fly (as in playing in G with the capo on the first fret). However if you know the degree of the scale you are home and hosed.

For C Major...C is the first dgree, D the second, E the third, F the 4th, G the 5th, A the 6th and B the 7th
For Ab Major....Ab is the 1st, Bb the 2nd, C the 3rd, Db the 4th, Eb the 5th, F the 6th, G the 7th

So a Db in Ab major becomes a F in C Major....because they are both the 4th degree of the scale. The same goes for naming chords.

The I, IV, V, I progression in Ab Major is Ab, Db, Eb, Ab and in C Major is C, F, G, C

Hope that hasn't confused things more!


This has been helpful. Once I studied the chart again, I had a brain fart and everything came together. Most of my playing publically is at church with hymns and choruses. I then went to songs in Ab, Eb and Bb. Using the chart and my new found knowledge I was able to put all in open chords that are playable--for me. And, the vast majority of these songs can be played with the three basic chords. Transposing is not a real problem. However, when I move to some of my country music, it gets a bit more dicey with the chords. Then, transposing some chords is necessary. When I accompany vocalists in church, chords that are difficult can often be sung right through w/o anyone noticing. The piano and the vocalists volumne often covers a multitude of sins (chording mistakes). I'll leave my future sins to a higher power (LOL). Again, thank you for your help.

#15 Gary Less

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:08 PM

When I first read this, I was confused, but now I understand what the other guy did.

The original song was written in the key of Ab (concert pitch). He transposed the song down to the key of G so if you were to play what he played WITHOUT a capo, it would sound in the key of G (concert pitch). So then he added a capo at the first fret which raised the concert key from G up 1/2 half step to Ab. He's fingering the chords in the key of G while using a capo so it sounds like the song is in the key of Ab.

I think what you missed is that he transposed the song down 1/2 step to G before adding the capo. Posted Image

_________________

EDIT:

BTW, since you wrote the following about him chording in G, that was the giveaway that he transposed the song down 1/2 step.


While everyone was playing in A flat, he was chording in G.

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#16 JWELLS6407

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:13 PM

Until you get the idea of what a capo does and how it does it, go to this convenient Capo Chart (scroll down to the second one). Lotsa luck.

http://www.don-guita.../transpose.html

#17 BenBob

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:54 PM

If I want to play open chords in "Guitar Keys," that means C D E G or A (aka C A G E D)

Just count down from the ugly key, one fret at a time, until you get to a friendly key. Play with that key's fingerings, with the capo at the fret number you counted down.

Key is Ab
1 fret down is G, so play with G fingerings with the capo at 1

Or you can use higher positions:

Key is Bb
1 fret down is A, play A fingerings with capo at 1
2 frets down is Ab, yuck
3 frets down is G, so play G fingerings with capo at 3

Once you learn the fretboard better, you can just see where the roots are for the key you want, and place the capo in reference to the root.

6th string root: capo there and play E forms, or capo 3 frets down and play G forms
5th string root: capo there and play A forms, or capo 3 frets down and play C forms
4th string root: Capo there and play D forms

So for Ab, I know my 6th string root is at the 4th fret. I can capo 4 and play E forms, or capo 1 (3 down) and play G forms. There's also a root on the 4th string, 6th fret, so I could also capo 6 and play D forms.

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#18 JWELLS6407

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:29 PM

Been thinking a lot about this string: Basically, the jerk was correct about chording (IF he was referring to shapes). If music is written in the key of Ab Major, its scale is Ab-Bb-C~Db-Eb-F-G~Ab. I consider his put-down unworthy of our L&MG family of budding guitarists, and he probably owns a Chinese made classical guitar.

The A flat music’s family of chords follows the major scale, so a guitar has to follow this chord progression come H--- or high water! The Ab family of chords is a bit unfamiliar to fret, so we can place a capo at Capo 1, and follow the referenced Capo Chart I cited before, fretting the OPEN chord SHAPES as though the nut had been lowered one fret (which is what a capo doeth). Thus,

I = Ab major, Capo 1 = G shape
ii=Bb minor, Capo 1 = Am shape
iii=C minor, Capo 1 = Bm shape
IV=Db major, Capo 1 = C major shape
V=Eb major, Capo 1 = D major shape
VI7=Eb7, Capo 1 = D7 shape
vi=F minor, Capo 1 = E minor shape
vii=G dim, Capo 1 = F dim shape

But please consider this: If we fret barre chords, a capo has no effect anywhere on up the fingerboard! In other words, it seems far better to use patience, perseverance, and lotsa practice to learn to skillfully play 6th and 5th string barre chords, and forget the capo. If we become as good at playing barres as we do playing open chords, we don’t even need to own a capo. I mean, why put a capo at Fret I and play an open G shape for an open Ab, when we can use our index finger to barre Fret IV and play the correct Ab like the music demands? I can’t speak for music majors and other good guys, but this old sailor continues to hang around Sessions 5 through 9 until I’m as comfortable playing barre chords as I am playing open ones. Now, after sailing through all this stormy b.s., I admit to owning a capo and find it convenient to place it at Capo 5 when a song’s written in Eb (key signature Bb, Eb, Ab), like the “Da Doo Ron Ron” at 144 bpm! Lotsa luck.

#19 BenBob

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

If we become as good at playing barres as we do playing open chords, we don’t even need to own a capo.


If the goal is to just be able to play basic chords, that's true. But, there are a lot of open chords "cool chords" and idiomatic things that are physically impossible to play as barres.

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#20 JWELLS6407

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

Agree wholeheartedly, BenBob! And given the time, I'll learn those cool open chords, but in the meantime my plate is full trying to to play major, minor, 7th, minor 7th, and suspended barres for all the keys accurately at steady tempo. If I can accomplish this before I join Rheta in the Naval Academy Columbarium, I'll be satisfied. Lotsa luck.




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