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Capo - what are the rules?

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Terry K 10 Dec 00 - 06:50 AM
Naemanson 10 Dec 00 - 07:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 00 - 07:52 AM
John P 10 Dec 00 - 07:55 AM
bill\sables 10 Dec 00 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Dave Chiasson 10 Dec 00 - 10:21 AM
catspaw49 10 Dec 00 - 10:52 AM
Midchuck 10 Dec 00 - 11:48 AM
Rick Fielding 10 Dec 00 - 01:28 PM
sophocleese 10 Dec 00 - 03:31 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Dec 00 - 03:54 PM
Midchuck 10 Dec 00 - 04:17 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Dec 00 - 05:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 00 - 06:05 PM
Little Neophyte 10 Dec 00 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,chrisflapjack 10 Dec 00 - 06:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Dec 00 - 06:23 PM
pict 10 Dec 00 - 08:50 PM
Clinton Hammond2 10 Dec 00 - 09:35 PM
pict 10 Dec 00 - 09:46 PM
Rick Fielding 10 Dec 00 - 10:24 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Dec 00 - 10:48 PM
Rick Fielding 10 Dec 00 - 10:57 PM
Terry K 11 Dec 00 - 01:55 AM
Little Neophyte 11 Dec 00 - 06:31 AM
Mooh 11 Dec 00 - 11:42 AM
Mooh 11 Dec 00 - 01:23 PM
Gary T 11 Dec 00 - 01:59 PM
Llanfair 11 Dec 00 - 07:27 PM
Jo King 11 Dec 00 - 10:30 PM
Ely 11 Dec 00 - 11:46 PM
Mooh 12 Dec 00 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,MTed 12 Dec 00 - 11:40 AM
UB Ed 12 Dec 00 - 12:00 PM
Steve Parkes 12 Dec 00 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,MTed 12 Dec 00 - 12:26 PM
Whistle Stop 12 Dec 00 - 03:15 PM
Mooh 12 Dec 00 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,A-USER 13 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,DrWord 13 Dec 00 - 01:52 PM
Gary T 13 Dec 00 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,DrWord 13 Dec 00 - 06:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Dec 00 - 01:44 PM
catspaw49 14 Dec 00 - 02:18 PM
sophocleese 14 Dec 00 - 05:55 PM
Midchuck 15 Dec 00 - 09:01 AM
sophocleese 15 Dec 00 - 09:15 AM
Mooh 15 Dec 00 - 09:43 AM
John Hardly 15 Dec 00 - 09:55 AM
Gary T 15 Dec 00 - 10:04 AM
Mooh 15 Dec 00 - 11:18 AM
Gary T 15 Dec 00 - 12:15 PM
Grab 15 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,DrWord 15 Dec 00 - 02:03 PM
mousethief 15 Dec 00 - 02:10 PM
Mooh 15 Dec 00 - 02:22 PM
Clinton Hammond2 15 Dec 00 - 02:23 PM
Gary T 15 Dec 00 - 03:33 PM
The Shambles 16 Dec 00 - 10:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Dec 00 - 01:47 PM
Mooh 16 Dec 00 - 04:28 PM
Gary T 16 Dec 00 - 06:06 PM
Rick Fielding 16 Dec 00 - 10:46 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 00 - 03:14 PM
Mooh 17 Dec 00 - 04:28 PM
Grab 17 Dec 00 - 11:25 PM
Gary T 17 Dec 00 - 11:48 PM
Mooh 18 Dec 00 - 06:14 AM
chris nightbird childs 31 Oct 04 - 01:04 AM
Strollin' Johnny 31 Oct 04 - 01:38 AM
GUEST,Joe 01 Nov 04 - 12:20 PM
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Subject: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Terry K
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 06:50 AM

I'm puzzled.

As a raw beginner on guitar, I've been reading about the capo. The book says to put the capo on whichever fret suits the pitch of your voice and use the same chord shapes. It doesn't say there are any rules.

I can follow this only so far.

For example, without the capo (standard tuning) the A major chord gives us A, Csharp and E, the 1,3,5 notes of the A major scale. If I capo up to fret 3, the A major chord shape gives C, E, G, thus a C major chord. I guess the other chord shapes (D and E) will complete the picture to give the 1, 1V, V chords in the key of C. Similarly, if I capo up to fret 2 I would get a B minor chord. All well and good.

But if I capo to fret 1, the A chord shape gives me D, F, Asharp - is this a proper chord? And fret 4 would give me Dflat, F, Asharp - what on earth can that be!

So I figure that there must be some rules about what chord shapes are allowable for each of the frets you might wish to capo to.

I've read some of the previous threads on the subject of capos but I don't think this question has been asked before.

Maybe someone can give me some answer - other than "why don't you just get on and play the bloody thing"!!

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 07:12 AM

You got it. Consider the capo to be your key lifter (digitl? Analog?). Your A chord without the capo goes up a half step with the capo. You can capo all the way up the neck depending on your voice and confort for singing. Some of these wild eyed, crazy fingered, real guitar players may be able to name the chords formed this way but that will just make your eyes spin. Keep calling it an A and play away.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 07:52 AM

Precisely. So with an A chord shapr one fret up kt becomes Bb, two up it becomes C, then C#, then D and so forth up to 12th fret (if you could get that far), whenit becomes A again.

The only time it matters what you call it is if you're playing with other people, and they change key and shout out "E" or something, and you've got to work out what shape that means for the place where you are capoed.

Capos aren't just there to shift the sound to match your voice. There are sounds you can get with a capoed guitar that aren't really possible without, even if you're really good with making with barre chords.

For example, playing in the key of D but using G chords and a capo on the 7th fret is a very different sound and feeling. When two guitars are playing together, it can be a good idea to have one capoed high playing different chords.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: John P
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 07:55 AM

Yes, by all means, keep calling it an A and play away. You move the capo to find the place where that A chord is in a good range for your voice.

If you need to know what chord you are actually playing, like if you need to communicate with other musicians, just count up the scale. A on the 1st fret becomes Bb. On the 2nd fret it's B. On so forth: C, C#, D, Eb, F, F#, G, Ab, and back to A (if you could capo on the 12th fret!). If it is a major chord without a capo, it will stay that way with a capo.

The other big reason to use a capo other than pitching the guitar to your voice is to play with other musicians. Say a fiddler plays a tune in the key of D and you really want to play the chords in A. Just count up the neck from A until you get to D and put the capo there (5th fret). Now you are playing A chords, but the guitar is producing D chords for the fiddler.

John


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: bill\sables
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 08:11 AM

Terry use the capo by all means but don't use it as an excuse not to learn the chords in other keys. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly if you are ever playing in a session and the lead calls a key change, in the time for you to work out where to put the capo and to change position the tune and key would probably have changed again. Secondly it is good exercise and dicipline for you to learn all the chords you are liable to need as it makes your fingers supple and helps you to work out what chords are needed for a particular tune or song and wether an alternative chord would suit the tune better.
cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,Dave Chiasson
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 10:21 AM

I guess the real question here would have to be, "Why do we need more rules?" If it sounds good play it. I think all great musicians make great music by simply playing what sounds good. Why do we have to analyze it to death? Unless you are writing sheet music, why would you even need to know what all the notes are in the chord you choose to play? ... just play it.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 10:52 AM

Capos can add something else too. The sounds of the guitar changes as you shorten up the string length. Additionally, the chords sound differently too, ie., play an E chord in the standard position; now play a C chord with the capo at the 4th fret. Both are E chords, but the sound is completely different.

Makes for some nice effects. Experiment around.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 11:48 AM

We (us Woodchucks) find that, if two of you are both playing guitars, the overall sound is often greatly improved by one or both using capos to play in the same key using different chord formations. I. e., if the song is in C, one of us might play the usual C chords and the other capo up 5 frets and use G positions. Makes it sound much more like two different instruments and less chaotic. Or so it seems to us.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 01:28 PM

Hi Terry, Catspaw makes a good point. The guitar (or banjo) sounds completely different when capoed, and you just may prefer that slightly different quality. A few things to remember:

ALL Flamenco guitarists use the capo (virtually ALL the time). It's simply traditional to that style.

Classical guitarists don't use an ACTUAL capo, but they play their pieces in "guitar friendly" keys. They're often looking for sustain and open bass notes, so check how often they play in A, G, and (dropped)D. Am, Dm, and Em as well.

Rarely do you ever hear anyone criticizing Flamencoists and Classical guitarists of lacking technique, but rarely do they go out of what would be called the "simple" keys.

Jazz Players work a great deal from scales and hence a capo would take away some of their fingerboard space. Also they try NOT to use open strings. Many get their sustain from the amp rather than the guitar. Often they use fairly heavy arched and carved top instruments that simply won't sustain like a flat-top or a classical, so a capo would not help much anyway in getting that "open string" sound.

Good rock players tend to borrow from a lot of genres, but scales are still a big part of their style, so you rarely see a capo....but it DOES happen. Keith Richards, seems to use one a lot.

Folkies, Acoustic Bluesers, and rhythm country players are often (not always) primarily singers and truth be known, many do NOT progress past a very basic technique on their instrument. It Sure doesn't make their music less valid, but many use a capo to play in keys that they haven't mastered in the conventional way. We're the ones who often get the flack. I doubt Carlos Montoya ever got dumped on for using a "clamp". (although in fact, he probably DID only play in a couple of keys)

Just remember that Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Pierre Bensusan, and Martin Carthy Constantly use capos...so yer in good company!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 03:31 PM

Rick when you say "we" are you meaning folk guitarists or guitar players who haven't progressed beyond the basics. If its the first youare allowed to say we, if its the second your idea of accomplished is frighteningly high.

When I first started trying to use a capo I found that I had to retune my low E string all the time and it drove me nuts. So then I figured it was somebody's way of telling me to learn different chords. I learned a few more chords and, exhausted from the effort, then got a different capo that worked better. One other thing I discovered is that you don't have to fret all of the strings. I like to leave the low string open and fret the otehrs up two, it gives me a drop E tuning where I can still play the G form chord.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 03:54 PM

That tip from sophocleese is a good one. I use two Shubb capos for that very purpose. One is stock, the other is sawn-off so that it only frets five strings. That way you can get the drop-E effect in other keys as well. The problem with fretting five strings with a standard Shubb is that it tends to pivot on one bearing point at the back of the neck, which can have disastrous consequences in the middle of a song. maybe Kysers work better for this purpose?

Murray


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 04:17 PM

Keyser makes a capo just for emulating the Drop-D tuning - I suppose you ought to call it Drop-E when you capo 5 strings up instead of tuning one down. They have an actual U-shaped cutout to miss the low E string. I have a couple, they work pretty well. I know bigchuck has 'em in stock in his store, and would probably mail order you one if you can't find 'em anywhere.

Usual disclaimers - well, I may use my promotional activities for the store as an argument for discounts, but that's as far as it goes.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 05:32 PM

So there you go, no need to mutilate perfectly good Shubbs any more. And Midchuck, I have just read your posting about having a beer with Jack Lawrence. Lucky bastard. Jack's playing that night was quite the equal of anyone I have ever heard flatpick.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 06:05 PM

The sort of capo you have makes a big difference - getting a Keyser changed my apptroach to playing in sessions, because you can move it around without having to retune, in the middle of a tune even.

There's a capo I've seen in which you can leave any individual strings open, not just the sixth, giving you the option of all kinds of weird tunings. Has anyone used one of those?


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 06:06 PM

Dave Chiasson, I find when I am learning about all this new stuff, capos included, it does help to analyze what I am doing. Once I comprehend theoretically what is going on, I can then let it go and just get into the music.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,chrisflapjack
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 06:15 PM

If you want to use a capo, use a good one. Your guitar will sound different, but maybe just as good. Clearer, maybe.

Disregard all who sneer. They just haven't got a good capo. We are doing this for pleasure ( or maoney, which is much the same thing)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 06:23 PM

McGrath, I think the capo you mean is called "The Partial Capo". Have never used one myself, but I can tell you who the past master of this gizmo is. Harvey Reid that's who. But the Maine Mudcatters probably know this already.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: pict
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 08:50 PM

Terry K in music the EAR rules if it sounds good to you it is good.Capos are particularly useful for open tunings which are used a lot in folk music I just use the Dunlop cheapo black webbed strap type ones mainly because even good ones wear out the rubber part that holds down the strings and the straps on dunlop capos don't get in the way of my hand unlike these bulky metal mechanism capos.Capos are just another useful tool for getting a different sound as well as making life a bit easier.There is a guy making a thing called the 3rd hand capo which can be adjusted to hold down all or individual strings but it isn't particularly useful if you use it in standard tuning to create a pseudo tuning as soon as you play a barre chord then the guitar immediately reverts to standard tuning.Capos are liberating in some situations and limiting in others.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 09:35 PM

the 3rd hand capo is a piece of junk... Sold as a novelty more than an actually useful item...

I have yet to see any even semi-serious player use on as more than a joke...


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: pict
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 09:46 PM

I've never seen one in the flesh I suppose that's why,have you tried one Clinton?The guy who makes them has quite a blurb on them.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 10:24 PM

Hi Soph. Many times when I was playing in bars, I'd have folks come up to the stage and say (I think they were trying to be complimentary) "Hey, how come you're using a "clamp"? You don't need one..blah, blah..." I always tried to explain it with much of what I said in my last post, til I realized they didn't have a clue or care what I was talking about. One night a guy challenged me to play "Summertime" in Cm, rather than play in Am capoed up to the third fret. I was too insecure to tell him to fuck off, so I did. Spent the whole song trying to transpose (and look cool about it!) The song sucked! I love my capos (Shubb and Dunlop "C" clamp) Never use it when I'm playing "chop rhythm" swing blues or jazz though. For slow fingerpicking I wouldn't be without it.

I bought one of the "Third hand" jobbies, but never found much use for it.

Thread creep: Here's a lovely tuning that I thought I'd invented, til I heard Keola beamer using it.

From the bass: C,G,D,G,B,E.

Play in C, but just use the index and middle on the second and fourth strings. Verrry rich chord eh? Now barre it at the fifth and play the same position...that's your F. Slide the barre up to the seventh...that's G. Now just screw around with it for a while, and you'll find lots of nice effects. Freight train sounds great with this tuning. Be sure to use the fourth fret barre for E and the second fret barre for D.

Keola says it's a common Hawaiian "slack key" tuning.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 10:48 PM

I have always felt that tuning has lots of possibilities Rick. I seem to remember David Hamburger had an article in "Acoustic Guitar" on that very tuning but I can't remember the song he used to illustrate it. Must try "Freight Train" using it.

The bugger of it is however that tuning down to C causes all sorts of pitch contortions in the 6th string, unless you are using a really manly gauge to start with. (I don't: D'Addario .012 through .053 suits me fine for standard, but they don't cut it for altered tunings)

I am surprised the 3rd Hand Capo hasn't made more converts here. I am fairly certain that is what Harvey Reid uses, and by no stretch of the imagination could he be classified as semi-serious.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 10:57 PM

Yeah Murray, you're right about the "C" bass. I generally use a "Masterclass" 56 or 58 on the bass of my o-18. They're an unusual kind of low tension string made in Britain. The 58 plays like a 53 but can be tuned down to C with little "flutter and wow".

Here's a trick that I've been doing for thirty years and it REALLY works (especially on 12 string).

Cut a tiny V shaped groove in your capo where the bass E meets the rubber. You'll never have to retune 'cause the E went sharp when you capo. If I'm using heavier guages for the E AND A (which I often do) I have a capo with two small "Vs" cut into it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Terry K
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 01:55 AM

So ....... there are no rules, right?

Like Bonnie, I have to understand it first, now I can just get on with it. I guess a really good use might be to enable me to play some of the really difficult chords that my old fingers won't otherwise reach. I take your point Bill (\sables) about using it as an excuse not to learn the chords but some of them really boggle my fingers!

Thanks all for great explanations.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 06:31 AM

Another great use for the capo is a hair clip. Especially the cheaper ones with the elastic strap. Some of the elastic colors look very attractive if I co-ordinate them with what I choose to wear.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 11:42 AM

I just counted 14 different capos on my music stand, and I have others. Mostly Shubbs and Keysers, some cut up for Em, drop D, double drop D, A/dadgad, Asus2, inside 2 strings (whatever that chord is I always forget), G9, A6...Most of these will fit most of my guitars but my 12 string requires some of its own. I also keep a supply of air hose around for additional string cams to experiment with new partial tunings. Many of these capos in combination will yeild other cool voicings like E, Am, various 5 chords and so on. I also have some capos for use with actual DADGAD and open G tunings.

The reasons I use capos are to accommodate someone's or my voice, use open strings and drones, get voicings I couldn't otherwise physically reach, supply timbres different than other players I may be playing with, allow me to have a free hand for percussion purposes, imitate other stringed instruments like the mandolin family, actually raise my action slightly for slide (those ones are made of Corian or brass), and to transpose to guitar friendly fingerings, etc...

The ones I use the most are the drop D because I like key of D type fingerings but with the low E root note, and the A/dadgad because I can get great drones with it either way.

God help me if I ever get a 7 string guitar, I'll need a bank loan just to get more capos.

I've never subscribed to the idea that a capo is a crutch of some sort, any more than windshield wipers or headlights are to a car. Capos simply allow you to do more with your guitar.

Peace. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 01:23 PM

Oh yeah, the rules. Don't overtighten, use only enough pressure to prevent the strings from buzzing against what becomes the "zero fret". Position the capo immediately behind the desired fret (but not touching it), not on top of it and not mid-way between the frets. Keep enough padding on the piece which touches the back of the neck so that the feel thereon remains smooth. The capo essentially does the job of your hand, so position it as you would your hand so you get the best intonation and tone.

Otherwise, trust your ears, and play. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 01:59 PM

Terry, this may help clear up a few details (quotes from your opening post):

If I capo up to fret 3, the A major chord shape gives C, E, G, thus a C major chord. True.

Similarly, if I capo up to fret 2 I would get a B minor chord.Not with an A major chord shape--it would be a B major chord. An A minor chord shape with the capo at the 2nd fret will give a B minor chord.

But if I capo to fret 1, the A chord shape gives me D, F, Asharp - is this a proper chord?Call the A-sharp a B-flat (same note, different name), and you can see it's a B-flat major chord.

And fret 4 would give me Dflat, F, Asharp - what on earth can that be!Actually, that would be D-flat, F, and A-flat--a D-flat major chord (or if you prefer, call the notes C-sharp, F, and G-sharp and the chord a C-sharp major).


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Llanfair
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 07:27 PM

Terry! does this mean that you will be joining the ranks of the performers next year???
I have always used a capo. If 3 chords were good enough for the '60's bands, they're good enough for me!!!!
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Jo King
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 10:30 PM

I was wondering when Mooh would jump in. I have seen, first hand,(or is that third hand) his collection of partially amputated capos. If Stephan King saw them I'm sure he would be moved to write a gory thriller.... perhaps entitled "Death By Capo"

I know a group that used to,jokingly, refer to their keys as "the key of three", or whatever number corresponded with capo location. While this is meant as a joke, it also underscores the simplicity of the capo process. Breaking it all down, with respect to music theory, may be a worthwhile process, but don't lose sight of the simplicity. I think this is the capos greatest asset.

Take care. JK


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Ely
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 11:46 PM

I've got one of those monstrous D-shaped capos with the rubber-jacketed bar that swings to the side to open, inherited from my mother. All the ones of that type I've encountered are in the 20-30-year-old age range--it must have been a 1970's thing (mine dates to 1972). It looks like an instrument of torture but it doesn't make my guitar sound mushy and it really saves my hand. D and A chords make me cramp up after awhile, so it's much easier for me to put the capo on the second fret and play the chords for C or G. Nobody will consider it cheating who has played for five hours straight at a square dance.

I do learn the "proper" chords first, though.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 09:26 AM

Hey Jo King, try to sell that idea to a publisher! I'll split my fee with you...no joking...

I really like the Third Hand concept but I wish it were built as solidly as the Shubb. The Golden Gate and Paige brand capos can be rigged with cams to perform the same function but as yet I haven't been able to make them convenient to use.

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 11:40 AM

Bless you, GaryT, for straightening out Terry's problem--which, for the rest of you, was that he was confused because the names of the notes with the capo in different positions didn't seem to make sense--

In classical music, many instruments don't play in the same key, they are called "Transposing instruments", you can think of a guitar with a capo as a transposing instrument, and you can call the fingering the relative chord(so when you play an A fingering with the capo on the 3rd fret, it is a relative A), and you can call they chord that is really sounding a concert chord (so the relative A chord, with the capo on the third fret, would be a concert C chord)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: UB Ed
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 12:00 PM

Mooh, others have advised me to place the capo directly on (not behind) the fret to avoid unpleasant buzz. Is my guitar out of wack? Thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 12:07 PM

Actually MTed, the guitar is a transposing instrument! It's written an octave higher thn it plays. Honest!

Steve

P.S. I can read music, but only one note at a time -- chords are too much!


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 12:26 PM

Yes, I know it is, Steve, but if I'd mentioned it, it would have just added more confusion to a post that was difficult to understand already--

P.S. If you want to learn to "read" chords, the easiest thing is to just get a bit of music ledger paper and write out a major chord and a minor triad in each of the basic inversions so you know what the shapes look like--then when you see them in music you'll recognize them, and you can tell what which chord it is by simply reading the chord note--


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 03:15 PM

UB Ed, Mooh's advice is good; directly behind the fret is generally the best place to put the capo. Right on top of the fret isn't ideal, because it can muffle notes and/or cause buzzing. Too far behind the fret, and you'll bend some strings sharp, and possibly promote some buzzing that way as well. I would suggest that you try to keep about 1/8 inch of fretboard visible between the capo and the fret. If you're still having problems, it's either a problem with your guitar (neck out of adjustment, loose or uneven frets, etc.), or possibly that the curve of your capo doesn't match the curve of your fingerboard.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 04:02 PM

UB Ed. Whistle Stop beat me to it, but the advice IS sound. The confusion may be caused by the interchangable use of the term "fret" for the fret wire and the space between fret wires. Sometimes however, a capo may impede hand positioning in the first position so a compromise can be made by backing the capo away from the fret wire or putting it on from the opposite side of the neck.

In any event, positioning the capo immediately behind the fret (wire) gives the best tone and intonation.

As for your guitar, it's likely not out of whack at all.

Good luck. Mooh.


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Subject: Simple Capo Rules
From: GUEST,A-USER
Date: 13 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM

Rule #1: Get a CAPO!

Rule #2: Use it!


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 13 Dec 00 - 01:52 PM

Good thread ... not 2 much creep. I've had them all, but want to add 2 the thread the "Bird of Paradise" which allows, because it's just one big cam, the application of *just* enough pressure to barre the strings, not just on/off like the Keyser. The "Bird" I bought had a mechanical failure in the plastic, but continues to work. Keep on pickin. Dennis


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 13 Dec 00 - 02:28 PM

I find my Schubb is adjustable to whatever pressure I want.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 13 Dec 00 - 06:02 PM

Yes the Shubb is fully adjustable too. I just came across this link: dig it!

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Museum/Accessories/WorstCapo/worstcapo.html


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Dec 00 - 01:44 PM

There's another handy role for capo.

If you've got an old instrument that has got badly warped, it can sometimes still be played if you capo it up a few frets. I've got a lute-guitar like that. You couldn't play it without putting a capo on it, but put a capo on the third fret, and it's still got a good sound.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Dec 00 - 02:18 PM

Hey Doc Word.......I tried a "Bird" for awhile, but somehow the damn thing is always in my road and bothering me. I still rely on Shubb, but if I'm just screwing around I use the Kysers. This brings up a couple of other points though..........

If the capo you're using bothers you, try something else. I don't know what it is about the "Bird of Paradise" that gets me, but I just can't stand it, even though it works better than the Kysers.

Also, read Rick's post above regarding slitting the rubbers on the capo. A properly cut Shubb is about unbeatable,especially on a 12. But you can improve any decent capo with a little work.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: sophocleese
Date: 14 Dec 00 - 05:55 PM

With apologies to Matt R. Shubb Rules!


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Midchuck
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:01 AM

Shubb rules when you're using them.

But there's no way to clamp them to the headstock when not in use. So you set them down. Then they get lost. I can't afford to keep buying new ones, and I can't afford, in a gig, to look all around to try to find the capo for the next song. So I mostly use Keysers, which aren't as good but which are right there on the headstock when I need them.

Peter. (All of whose Shubbs are under the cushions of his living room furniture, with the flatpicks.)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: sophocleese
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:15 AM

Midchuck, flourescent nail polish or brightly coloured wool, string or ribbon can be used effectively to mark a Shubb capo as belonging to you and distinct from the darkened floor. It might help. Perhaps rubbing catnip on it and then letting a cat into the room to look for it would also be helpful.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:43 AM

Midchuck. I put mine in my pocket with my knife, change, keys, hardware, picks, slide, and whatever else, so that when I pull it out (the capo, mind out of the gutter) I get all sorts of cool things falling out all over the place. Seriously though, I usually just hang the Shubbs from something like a mic/guitar/music stand or use a pocket which doesn't get used for much else on stage. At home they can be anywhere I suppose, but usually on my desk or music stand. A little loop to thread it through on a guitar strap, or velcro holder works okay too.

A capo threaded onto the dog's collar keeps her entertained for quite a while...

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: John Hardly
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:55 AM

...making mental note...add to list of reasons to be too intimidated to perform in public...can't tell a difference in intonation between my kysar and my shubb...


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 10:04 AM

John Hardly, I doubt that most of us (or most of the audience) can tell without an electronic tuner.

Peter, you might consider adding a little "holster" to your guitar strap, as a place to securely keep the Shubb handy. Some straps with a "pick pocket" might work that way.

sophocleese, better yet tie the capo to the cat, then when you need it just call and the cat will come, right? (Yeah, when pigs fly! BG) The dog Mooh mentioned would come, but you'd better want the capo liberally moistened with saliva--if you can get the dog to let go of it!


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 11:18 AM

Gary, My dog Rosie seems genetically predisposed to bathe every human with her saliva (ask Jo King, he's been a victim), which is kinda handy given that it saves us money on soap and utilities. As for getting her capo away from her, it ain't gonna happen until after her annual haircut in the spring. Right now there could be a guitar attached to the capo and you wouldn't find it in her fur. I was thinking of marketing my own capo design (God knows I spend enough time and money on them, they might as well pay me back) and naming it after Rosie. How does "You Stupid Mutt" brand capos sound?

Off to vacuum dog hair...Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 12:15 PM

How does "You Stupid Mutt" brand capos sound?

I think you're onto something here, Mooh!


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Grab
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM

I'm not sure quite what's the point of a capo with a bit cut out of it. OK, if you only ever play that string open then you've got a differently-tuned string, but what if you need a different note on that string? Surely you're just back to the normal fingering then. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have a "spare" string on my guitar that I can devote to solely being a drone string - they all seem to be in use for something at some point!

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 02:03 PM

OK given that "only the electronic tuner" can tell the diff, the problem is that with each additional instrument there's the possibility of some creep. It's a pain to have to retune after capoing, and in this respect I find the capos with the finest pressure adjustments least likely to knock you our a few Hz--and this problem may be worst in the lowest positions. Or you can just say "close enough" and keep on pickin', and settle for all the conveniences of the Keyser. When you guys get your Shubbs dug out of the couch, explain how to retrieve picks from between the piano keys :)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 02:10 PM

DrWord: on the picks between the piano keys: two words:

Post-It Notes

Alex


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 02:22 PM

Grab.

You're right. Actually that string isn't just a drone, though it makes a good one. Since the guitar doesn't actually change tuning, normal (standard tuning) chord formations can be used which utilise the uncapoed string so that drone string can be used as it normally would and as a drone. However, the real benefit of partial capoing is the ability to use more convenient chord voicings.

For example, with the drop D capo leaving the low E string open and the other 5 strings capoed at the second fret, fingering and playing the D major open chord shape sounds an E major chord with the added benefit of the low tonic root on the sixth string. This sounds much like a regular E chord except it has the third as the highest note of the chord, and the fifth within easy reach. This is not enough to justify the technique to some folks until it's pointed out that with the same capo positioning, the fingering of a G chord, which will sound an A chord, can be embellished with the open sixth string which is the fifth interval of the chord.

Also, melody notes played with a low root drone or harmony are one thing, but consider that in the key of E, as in our example with the partial capo, all the open notes are in the key and therefore more easily used for harmonizing. By contrast, to play in the key of E without a capo as described means that the open third and fourth strings (G&D) are not in the key and need to be fretted or muted or avoided. Capoing like this prevents the accidental playing of open...um...accidentals. This is a common feature of such capo use.

Without a similar description of each altered capo, I think there are several other common features. Not only can a drone be used, or a more convenient root note, but chords too, like the five (power) chord created by playing the fifth and sixth strings of our example. The sixth string fretted at the seventh fret is the same pitch as the capoed fifth string which makes for a stronger bass on an A (sounds a B) chord.

I used this example because the key of E open chords don't lend themselves particularly well to open strings and "add" chords while key of D chord shapes do. My humble opinion is that this way you can have the best of both worlds, or keys. Gets away from playing a B chord too, which lots of folks don't like.

Not to prolong this, but each different capo has its strengths and weaknesses, as do various tunings, and partial capos can be used with full capos, with other partial capos, and with altered tunings. Usually though we use them to provide more convenient/easier/functional open notes and reduce the number of non-scalar open notes. Oh yeah, and the drones are cool too.

Now where's my hacksaw? Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 02:23 PM

I do own an 3rd Hand Capo.... after seein' an add for it in Accoustic Guitar mag a few years ago... stumbled over one in a sun-bleached box under a pile of gig bags in an old music store that was going out of business... It was so old the guy who owned the shop didn't even remember having it in stock ever so he just gave it to me... I ran home... opened it up and tried to read the vast repository of knowledge that was printed on the 8.5X11 sheet of paper in the box... it's about a 3 or 4 point front... with chord charts... In typicle male fashion, I promptly tossed the instructions and set about feckin' around with the thing... About 10 minutes later, it was religated to living in the guitar case as a curiosity... I'll stick to Kyser myself... I keep gettin' them for free too, so...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 03:33 PM

Grab, while Mooh is talking about modifying capos so that some string(s) is untouched by it, Rick (many posts ago) was referring to just tweaking it a bit, removing a small bit of rubber over the bass E string so that it is not overly stretched. It's analagous to have an angled saddle to compensate for the tendency of strings of different thicknesses to deflect a different amount.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 10:57 AM

Does anyone know where mine is?

I can't find it, since yesterday and I am totally lost without it.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 01:47 PM

Third hand capo? Could someone put a link to somewhere with a picture, because I've never come across one.

I was thinking - all the capos I've come across you play above them, if you see what I mean. Nearer the sound hole. Where partial capos are concerened, they allow you to avoid raising some of the notes, but you are still playing hole-side of the capo.

But banjo players have capos for the fifth string, and continue to play down at the machine-head end.

So has anyone ever devised anything like that to enable a guitarist to put in individual raised notes? (Maybe that's what a Third Hand Caopo is?) Not that I'm dying to start using something like that, but you never know - it could give you some interesting effects.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 04:28 PM

McG of H,

Yeah, I've try it once in a while, but to tell the truth I've never devised the right song to do it with successfully. Methinks I did it once in open G tuning with the standard tuning devised Em capo at the 7th fret so that I had a D, D, & A on the lowest three strings and played something on the high strings behind the capo. Trouble is, it's hard to get any other bass notes on the capoed strings. Some day...

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 06:06 PM

McGrath, here's their home page: Third Hand Capo Company. It has a small but serviceable photo and there are other pages that go into detail on using the device. As you can probably see, it has six segments, one for each string. Each segment can be adjusted laterally along the pivot rod to align it precisely atop the string, and each segment can be rotated down to press on the string or up to clear the string. The pivot rod is offset toward the top to allow this. The segments are flattened discs, the flat being the part that touches the string (I presume this is to prevent any rolling motion that could let the capo or a segment move out of place). It's quite an ingenious idea.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 10:46 PM

Just a bit of background on the "grooved capos" for anyone who might be interested.

I've always loved the 12 string guitar, and have owned at last count 18 of the suckers. Everything from Stellas through Martins, Epiphones, Guilds (several) to my current (and all time favourite) a Big 20 year old Takamine. Being a Leadbelly fanatic, I usually tuned them down to C or even Bb or B. I've always used quite heavy strings (for the last ten years I've used a custom set from Connecticut that has a 68(!) on the bass.)

Right from day one I found that normal capos just couldn't hold down the strings without distorting some, and since I'm a tuning fanatic, I started buying every capo I saw. I'm probably older than you Mooh, so you still have time to catch up to my 50 or so.(I know..there are stupider hobbies than capo collecting but try telling that to your wife!)

One day about twenty five years ago I cut a small "V" in the rubber of a Bill Russell and noticed an immediate difference. The big bass string simply wasn't being stretched as far as before, so I had one less string to retune when the capo was on. Needless to say I've butchered dozens of rubbers on various capos trying to get a perfect fit for whatever guitar I was using, but it was challenging and fun.

Today I use a Golden Gate capo with a piece of floor tile replacing the original rubber. I've cut four very small "v"s under the four "big" strings, and it works best on the second to fourth fret. Rarely do I have to retune, and it makes it soooo much easier to play with others and not be slightly sharp.

You can do the same thing on a Shubb. The rubber they use is just about right. Dunlop "C" clamps are good too...and cheap.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 03:14 PM

Here's something interesting I came across.

The Capo Museum


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 04:28 PM

Rick. Interesting, I've been collecting capos since 1972, and you're right, I'm not as old as you, and likely not as wise...maybe I can get some kinda disability pension for that... I like your idea alot. It considers the break angle of the string over the fret at which the capo sits, much like we consider the break angle of the string over the saddle and nut.

My solution was to cut fine slits in a Schubb capo rubber so that the pressure from the lower pitched string didn't prevent the capo from holding the octave string securely. The result is that every string can then compress the rubber only where it contacts without affecting the neighbouring string. This is less an issue now that I have a good 12 string (Beneteau) but it still works. This is sometimes a problem with my Baritone too, particularly when I use a .066 for the low string, not so bad on the .059. I'd love another 12, but there's that domestic harmony thing to consider.

The other thing which works for me is to use a softer rubber, like hydraulic hose, than that which is provided by the capo manufacturers. This will compress more pliably (is that a word?) and prevent excessive pitch sharpening. This is that break angle thing at work again.

I like the Golden Gate capo too, but I use mine mostly as the prototype for making other capos for virtual tunings. The only place I've ever seen them is in the Elderley catalogue. I should buy another, though I think the rubber they come with sucks so I replace it.

I once had a satchelfull of (mostly Schubb and Kyser and Dunlop)capos swiped at a festival, about $300 worth I guess, and it took me ages to replace them all to my satisfaction. Whoever got them likely scratched their pointed head for a while. I hope they're using them creatively.

I've written about capos alot on the Acoustic Guitar Magazine discussion forum under my real name, Mike Crocker, so sorry if I'm repeating myself, I can never recall what I've written where.

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Grab
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 11:25 PM

Mooh, certainly I see what you can do with it, it just seems to limit you slightly. Maybe I need to buy a "sacrificial" capo and play with it a bit to see if it works for me. What I found strange though is that some ppl have said "You can buy a partial capo (with chunks cut out, or designed that way) and play DADGAD/drop-D/other tuning without having to retune your guitar". That kind of bothered me, cos it obviously wasn't so - you'd get the right open strings, but be fingering in EADGBE. Me just be caveman, not think of clever things like that... :-)

Gary T, sure. But I was just asking about the Third Hand or otherwise-hacked-about capo which came up a bit earlier in the thread. Sorry, maybe I wasn't too clear.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Gary T
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 11:48 PM

Grab, now that I reread your post, I think your writing was clear and my reading was fuzzy. Whoops.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Dec 00 - 06:14 AM

Grab.

I see your point.

All this talk about virtual tunings and such avoids one crucial point, most of us, including me, still use standard tuning capoless most of the time. I like to try various capos to see what comes out each time I learn or re-learn a tune or song, but I only use them where they actually benefit the music.

But I'm also a hopeless tinkerer...Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 31 Oct 04 - 01:04 AM

I use 2 Shubb capos. One for my acoustic 6-string, and one for my 12-string... They were a tremendous investment. Very helpful.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 31 Oct 04 - 01:38 AM

Try a G7th Chris. Far superior, and one size fits all so no need for two capos or farting about with the little screw to compensate for thinner/thicker necks. I was a confirmed Shubb man, but no more, consigned my three Shubbs to the dustbin and just carry one G7th.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 12:20 PM

Hey SJ - retrieve the Shubbs and keep them as backup - your G7's suffering from stress (you just can't see it yet) and will have a breakdown.


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 12:31 PM

Mmmmmm, yes Joe, I keep hearing that. Mine's about six months old and works fine just now. My comment about the Shubbs and the dustbin was metaphorical, they're in my little gubbins bag that I take round with me just in case. Looks like I might eventually have a lot of crow pie to eat! LOL!

SJ :0)


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 12:38 PM

I just like the way you can adjust the Shubbs, with the lil screwy thing...


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Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 12:55 PM

We-e-e-e-ell Chris, with the G7th there's no need to adjust it, you just squeeze it and it clamps on and stays there! Mind you, all the bad stuff the Doom Brigade keep giving me (it'll fall apart, it's a vile Al Quaeda plot to subvert western music, it's WWIII waiting to happen etc! LOL) is giving me the jitters so I keep my Shubbs handy in my bag just in case! LOL!

Time will tell, my friend!

S:0)


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