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Tech: Partial capos - Help please

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GUEST,Fossil in NZ 08 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM
s&r 08 Sep 06 - 06:48 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Sep 06 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Fossil in NZ 08 Sep 06 - 08:09 PM
GUEST 08 Sep 06 - 08:09 PM
Midchuck 08 Sep 06 - 08:10 PM
Mooh 08 Sep 06 - 10:30 PM
NH Dave 08 Sep 06 - 10:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Sep 06 - 02:44 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Sep 06 - 04:25 AM
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Subject: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: GUEST,Fossil in NZ
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM

OK, living down here at the bottom of the world, I've heard some truly great music played by young and not-so-young guitarists using partial capos, both with and without full capos. Enough so that I eventually bought a partial one to go with the full Keyser capo that has been kicking around in my case for years and am trying to master the new technique.

But I am floundering a bit. Can anyone out there provide an explanation or point me to info on how the partial capo works and/or fingerings and chords to use with it?

Over to you, 'catters....

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: s&r
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 06:48 PM

PM Penny Black. Pete is an expert on partial capos.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 06:54 PM

Well the basic short capo covers 5 of the 6 strings. Put it at the second fret. You now have drop-D tuning (or drop-top-D tuning) one tone up - at least as far as the open strings are concerned. Up the neck chords are standard but the D shape (now E) and D minor ring like big bells, and the G shape (A) while theoretically "inappropriate" makes a sinister undertone on the change from the D.

E minor and A shapes need you to get your thumb over.

I use the Scott tuning capo for quite a number of songs. The American Third Hand is similar but not as good (but easier to find)

These have in principle eccentric blocks on a nail! Think of the nail like the bar of a shubb. With the blocks one way round they fret the string. The other way, they don't.

Set it to fret the at the third fret on the bottom E and teh B and top E strings - you have nearly an open G and can finger one string (A, at the 5th) to make a G chord, adn so on.

But the best for me is to set it to fret the A Dand G strings at the second fret. Voila! Dadgad one tone up (at least as far as the open strings are concerned)

Finger teh D string at the fourth fret. You have a lovely resonant D chord (exdept that it's E) - and you can fiddle about with your free fingers using the 4th and 5th frets on the bottom E, A, and D strings, and the 6th fret on the A, D and sometime G strings to play tunes. YOur "G" chord (really A) is the same shape as in single drop D and your "A" (really B) is a barre B (E shape, 7th fret) with the B string ringing open and the A string ringing at the capo'd fret.

Some songs that work well for me this way are "Marie's Wedding" "O'er the Hills and Far Away" "Sweep" "Admiral Benbow" "The Importunate Child" "Gentlemen of HIgh Renown" and "Cupid's Garden". "Nottamun Town" becomes positively psychedelic. When I finish learning the words ""Famous Flower of Serving Men" is going to be an absolute monster.

You can use a factory Drop D Shubb or Kyser for this by using the hoop to free the bottom E string and taking a hacksaw to it to is frees the top two strings.

If your guitar neck is slim you can experiment by using a carefully cut up beer-mat (two layers) as a pad under your favoured capo, or you can glue strips of rubber onto a Jim Dunlop.

Come back and tell us how you get on: if the above keys do not work for you, use a spare capo to move everything up a few frets, but unless you have a cutaway it gets exciting once this capo gets to the third fret as your wrist will be banging on the guitar body.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: GUEST,Fossil in NZ
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 08:09 PM

Well, thanks Richard, that has helped a lot. And also for the song suggestions, some of my old favourites are in there, I'll have to dust them off.

The partial capo I bought (was sold, actually, since the guy in the shop only had one and knew less about it than I did), is a Shubb C7b, which covers three inner strings, leaving the outermost string open. Depending on which way round you put it on the neck, it either frets the A,D and G or the B, G and D strings.

I've had an interesting morning (it's Saturday here, so no work today) playing with it and yes, bang it on the second fret (either open or relative to the other capo) and you can get some pretty amazing effects and some zingy sounds. I am now going though my repertoire trying different songs to see which suit the technique.

But if anyone else has any advice on using/setting up with partial capo, or any chord diagrams to go with it, I'd love to hear from you.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 08:09 PM

Some info there.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 08:10 PM

Actually, both Keyser and Shubb make leetle capos to cover just the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings and get a "DADGAD up 2" tuning like Mr. Bridge said. Note that the "Tony Rice G" formation works normally for the subdominant chord, since you're fretting all the strings that aren't capoed.

The difference between partial capos and retuning is that any string you fret above the capo sounds just as if the capo weren't there. For instance, if you tune to drop D, you have to stretch all the way to the 5th fret for the bass in the G chord. With a "D-tuning" capo, the G chord form, actually an A, works perfectly normally.

I'm partial to using a "normal" capo at the first fret, and a D-tuning one at the third, and using D chords, when I need to play in F. Or in Bb - use G chords, but you get a nice alternating bass by just picking up the finger on the low E string, and putting it back.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: Mooh
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 10:30 PM

Search the Mudcat, there are lots of comments about partials. Much of the particulars have been mentioned. In my collection I have capos modified for Em (actually a modified Kyser banjo capo), A (and dadgad), drop D, double drop D, and Dmaj7 (which when used with the drop D capo is pretty cool), for six and 12 strings (some don't do double duty because of neck widths as I move them up) and classical. In spite of the investment in these things I still use them sparingly, less now with groups and more when solo and just messing around. Rarely use them on the 12 string because of the threat of retuning, though the effect can be nice, kinda a little bit mandolinish (not as nice as the bouzouki).

Most effective with open chord voicings (drones, pedal notes included) since closed chords are the same as in standard.

Peace, Mooh.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: NH Dave
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 10:48 PM

Harvey Reid a local musician makes and sells "partial capos" that can be adjusted to capo any one or more strings at a specific fret. You can get more info from the site that I noted at the start of this message.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:44 AM

Richard - what you are saying sounds absolutely fascinating - is there a website telling me about your guitar work? Gigs etc.
Scuse my encylopaedic ignorance of matters related to trad folk.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Partial capos - Help please
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:25 AM

WLD, flattery will get you everywhere! I am just an old amateur who likes to "hit them really hard Harry" (a quote from Frank Bruno or Henry Cooper, I forget which) having started to play rock in the 60s and not come to folk until about the 80s. There are no sites about my playing (some web pages about parts of my legal career) and no-one has ever recorded me.

I thought what I was trying to do was fairly uncommon, but all these sites for apparent professionals have been mentioned above, so I don't have even that distinction for my playing. I met a guy once at one of the late Dave Bryant's barbecues who was looking for tuned drum effects, but was using real open tunings, although the sound was not wholly unlike, but I forget his name. Nuada use drones in a way that is compatible but much more graceful and musical than what I am doing.

Thank you for the implied compliment - unearned I fear.

The Harvey Reid site above sells the "Third Hand" capo which is useful for some of the stuff I do, and I note it says it provides some chord charts although I have not looked.

THe Shanebweb site above will take you to some chord shapes - including a "B" different from the one I use, but his is a B9 with the 9th at the bottom and the top of the chord which might work well for "Queen Jane" and "Tolpuddle man" and Richard Matthewman's "Bernadette". Don't use their "G" (A). Rather play a standard double-stopped G (A) and then let the bottom E ring or not as you please - I find that someitmes one works better than others, but the G (A) on the site has a "wolf" B (would be an A in a G") which makes it sound a bit like a jazz minor: not often useful in folk song.

Incidentally with a double drop D capo there is a nice Bm (really a C#m) that works well in Dives and Lazarus - you fret only the A,D and G strings.

But back to capos. The Third hand needs two modifications to make it very useful, and has one fundamental problem (apart from bad construction that causes the eyelets in the strap to pull out, I replace mine with a legal document eyelet fastener with a couple of leather washers with holes in).

First, as soon as you get it, you need to cut the little shelf off the white nylon Side: it's plainly intended to let you make a "flat" capo but in use it rides over the side of the fretboard and mutes your bottom E string. You don't need to do this with a Scott tuning capo if you can find one.

Second, you need to take all the little rubber blocks off, and cery carefully bend the "nail" so that it has the same radius as your fretboard - that way the capo does not pull your guitar out of tune. The "bent nail" is part of the design of the Scott as standard but is not quite exaggerated enough.

The fundamental is that the third hand relies wholly on friction to hold the little blocks in the right position. Usually this works but it makes getting it set up a bit trickier. The Scott uses little hard plastic blocks with a groove and a lump on the sides, and a spring to push the blocks together, so you just pull and twist and the blocks lock into the pattern you want.

The one thing you can do with the third hand that you can't with the Scott is to slide the blocks apart to get the strings on very wide necks or 12-strings. It is a pain to get the spacing right in the heat of the moment though!

The blocks on the Scott are hard plastic, so I have cut up some old tent-peg rubbers to make rubber pads to go on the string side of the blocks. Attach with superglue. This has been enough to stop the Scott pulling even my narrow-necked Yamaha 12 string out of tune, always observing the Fielding rules (find them elsewhere on mudcat) about capo placing and tightness. I have not found it necessary, with this caveat, to groove the capo rubbers for 12-string use with the Scott.

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