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Capo question

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GUEST,leeneia 01 Sep 01 - 11:59 PM
DonMeixner 02 Sep 01 - 12:25 AM
Mark Cohen 02 Sep 01 - 12:28 AM
BlueJay 02 Sep 01 - 02:14 AM
Benjamin 02 Sep 01 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Sep 01 - 10:06 AM
Don Firth 02 Sep 01 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Jackie 25 Jun 07 - 11:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 07 - 11:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jun 07 - 12:08 PM
Midchuck 25 Jun 07 - 12:12 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Jun 07 - 03:17 PM
Murray MacLeod 25 Jun 07 - 04:22 PM
John Hardly 25 Jun 07 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 25 Jun 07 - 10:09 PM
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Subject: Capo question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 11:59 PM

If I write a song in F and I want guitarists to use a capo and have a friendlier key, what do I do exactly? I suppose the new, fake chords will be in E or G, but which one?


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: DonMeixner
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 12:25 AM

Capos on the second fret and "D" shapes are played will sound in the key of "E", capo on the third and play "D" shapes and you will have "F". "C" Shapes played off the capo at the fifth fret will give you the key of "F" as well.

To play in "F" with "G" shapes you have to go too far up the neck to be practical.

Is that your question?

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 12:28 AM

Well, it wouldn't be G, because it's a mite difficult to "capo down"! You, as the songwriter, don't have to "do" anything -- it's up to the guitarist. Some will just play it in F (and my hat's off to them), some will capo up one and play in E, and the duffers like myself will probably capo up 3 and play it in D, sacrificing some of the sound quality for easier chord forms. If you're a better singer than your accompanist is a guitarist, you may want to do your song in G, though I understand that a particular key may suit your needs as a songwriter better than another. But I'm an amateur, so I'll gladly defer to those with more knowledge and experience.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: BlueJay
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:14 AM

Leeneia- I agree with Mark. If you want the song in F, then so it is. How the guitarist wants to play it shouldn't be your main concern, as F may fit your vocal range for that song, (assuming you are the singer). Plus, some songs just sound better in a certain key.

We don't know the situation. If dealing with seasoned guitarists, "in F" should suffice. If you are playing with beginners, however, probably the easiest thing would be to instruct them to capo the first fret, and play in the key of E.

In any case, I think it is great that you show concern for making life easier for the folks you play with.

Mark, I think sometimes capoing half way up the neck fits a song, and doesn't always detract from the tone. It can fit some songs. I've also seen folks use custom capos, which only cover three, four or five strings, so that they still have the bass. One guy I know cuts Shubb capos to the desired length, and uses various tunings as well. Sounds great, but it's all too complicated for me. But then this guy makes his living from playing and singing. Plus there's the "Third Hand" adjustable capo, which only a madman or a genius would have the time to figure out, but offers innumerable ways to play a song when combined with alternative tunings. It features six cam-like sections, which can each be rotated to dampen it's string, or allow it to sound. A really clever device, in theory, but I've never had the time to learn to use it.

Thanks again, Leeneia, for thinking about your fellow musicians. Very generous. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: Benjamin
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:32 AM

From what I've seen, when the sheets tell you to use a capo- Some will only have the chords as they come out, some will only have the chords as you would play them, and some have both (the chord as sounds first then the shape after in parenthiese). Whatever you feel will be the least confusing to the performer is the way you should go.


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 10:06 AM

Thanks, everyone. I believe I will put the capo on the first fret and use E chords. (I will verify this whenever I find my capo.) The way we do it, we put the real chords on the music and put the capo'd chords above them. I use different fonts for the two lines to make scanning easier.

By the way, the tune is a ancient-sounding thing I dubbed the "Bransle de Bangor". I can't remember where I got it, but it's Welsh. It's in F because that's a good key for recorders. We are playing background at a reception for a Welsh choir soon, and the guitarist is a substitute. He has to get familiar with an hour's worth of songs in two practices, and I want to make his job as easy as possible.


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Subject: RE: Help: Capo question
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:11 PM

If you have a couple of guitars going, you can get some nice sounds by having one guitarist capo on the first fret and play the E chords (assuming that the key is F) and the other guitarist capo on the third fret and play the D chords. Or capo on the fifth fret and play the C chords. Or any combination thereof. The two guitars are then using different chord voicings. And each set of chords has its own characteristics and peculiarities, i.e., bass runs are usually easier with the C chord set, but the E chord set sounds a bit fuller and richer. A couple of guitarists fingerpicking with this kind of a set-up can produce some pretty intricate sounding stuff.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: GUEST,Jackie
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 11:09 AM

I'm confused. A song I'm practicing says to capo on the first fret which will change one of my chords to E and D. How do I play these chords if my capo is in the way?


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 11:55 AM

For a song in F, if I didn't want to use the F chords (F Bb C etc) I'd probably capo up to the fifth fret and use the C set of chords.

Though "the F chords" are easy enough, really, and they can give some very pretty accompaniments.

"Fake chords" for chords using a capo, that's a new one to me. Seems to me they're as real as any other chords.


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 12:08 PM

Depends on the guitarist. If he uses open tunings - that opens a whole new set of possibilities.(open D and capo three)

I'd print off this and show it to him/her to see if any of it rings any bells.


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: Midchuck
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 12:12 PM

The best way I've found to play in F is to put a "normal" capo on the first fret, then a "dropped-D" capo on the third, and play D chords, but with the low F available on the low bass string.

Now, does everyone have that straight?

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:17 PM

Yes, Midchuck, I do it a lot. Try a "third hand" (or, if you can get one the IMHO better "Scott Tuning Capo" and all sorts of vistas open up!


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 04:22 PM

You can do the F double capo thing with two normal Shubb capos, I do it all the time when singing in F. You just have to be careful with the placement of the upper capo.


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 05:22 PM

"I'm confused. A song I'm practicing says to capo on the first fret which will change one of my chords to E and D. How do I play these chords if my capo is in the way?"

I'm not sure why people are giving answers to questions you aren't asking. It's probably because you resurrected a thread with another question and folks haven't caught on to this being an old thread.

Mudcatters don't read whole threads. They read the first post and reply to it. Because of this, no matter how related you may think a question, if you really want an answer, it's best to start a new thread -- even if you think it's redundant.

As to your question...

..I'm guessing, because your question is unclear, that you are having trouble because either the music that is telling you to play with a capo on the first fret is still referring to the chords by their shape than by their capo-altered key. If that's the case, when it says to play an "E" or a "D", it merely means to play that shape -- thinking of the capo as the nut (such that the second fret is now the first fret).


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Subject: RE: Capo question
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 10:09 PM

"I'm guessing, because your question is unclear, that you are having trouble because either the music that is telling you to play with a capo on the first fret is still referring to the chords by their shape than by their capo-altered key. If that's the case, when it says to play an "E" or a "D", it merely means to play that shape -- thinking of the capo as the nut (such that the second fret is now the first fret)."

I think that's the answer. If the song is written in, say, Eb, the helpful arranger will tell the guitarist to capo one fret and play a D. That means play as if the key was D, but with the capo providing a "new nut" that changes the pitch by a half-step.

If the music calls for an E/D chord, however, that's a different kettle of fish -- it means an E chord with a D in the bass (effectively an E7 with the dominant 7 note on the bottom).

For those not sure what key to "play" in when capoed, the point to remember is that the capo RAISES the key, so an "F" key can't easily be played in a G formation (you'd put the capo on fret #10 to do that). Always use a letter lower than the desired key, then raise the pitch the required amount to reach your pitch/key goal.

And yes, when using multiple guitars, playing one in capoed position can be a good way to avoid clashing chords and muddy sound (assuming you have guitarists that can play well together, that is).

Bob


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