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Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice

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GUEST,Scott in Virginia.... 29 Sep 06 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,lox 29 Sep 06 - 04:38 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Sep 06 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,Jim 29 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM
Nick 29 Sep 06 - 08:59 PM
Don Firth 29 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 06 - 12:31 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Sep 06 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Scott in Virginia.... 30 Sep 06 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Jim 30 Sep 06 - 11:53 AM
Clinton Hammond 30 Sep 06 - 12:14 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 01:01 PM
Clinton Hammond 30 Sep 06 - 01:03 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM
Clinton Hammond 30 Sep 06 - 01:50 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 01:53 PM
Clinton Hammond 30 Sep 06 - 03:02 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Oct 06 - 09:31 AM
Mr Happy 01 Oct 06 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Anders Barfod 24 Oct 12 - 07:55 AM
GUEST 24 Oct 12 - 12:00 PM
GUEST 24 Oct 12 - 12:48 PM
Stringsinger 24 Oct 12 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 24 Oct 12 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 24 Oct 12 - 05:31 PM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 12 - 05:50 PM
Stringsinger 24 Oct 12 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 25 Oct 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 25 Oct 12 - 03:40 PM
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Subject: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Scott in Virginia....
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:29 PM

I taught myself to play the guitar in the keys of C, A, G, E and D. For a long time, I never used a capo, but, since my voice is my main instrument, I slowly began to realize I needed to use a capo to get the correct pitch to make sure I'm singing and playing in the right key that's comfortable for my voice. I have been reading posts on capo use for this site as well. What are the most common keys a baritone sings in (when accompanying himself on guitar?)

I usually put the capo on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th frets when singing, and play in the key of C (C,F and G chord shapes.) When placing the capo at those frets, what keys am I playing in?

If I put the capo on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th frets and play G chord shapes (and so on in the 5 keys I play in), what keys will I be playing in?

Thanks for your help,
Scott


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:38 PM

find the lowest note you can comfortably sing without straining or becoming inaudible.

Go through the song and find the lowest note in it.

Transpose the lowest note in the song so that it matches the lowest note you can comfortably sing and then transpose the rest of the song accordingly.

to do this, count how many tones the original lowest note of the song is away from the lowest note you find comfortable, and then shift the rest of the song by the same number of notes - chords and all. In capo terms, shift the capo along the right number of frets.

Alternatvely, sing it in each key up the fret board, going up a fret at a time with the Capo until the lowest note in the song matches the lowest note you are confortable with.

And that's just for starters.

Hopefully though you can discover your ideal keys for yourself wwithout referring to a book of rules only to discover that sometimes it just doesn't apply


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:43 PM

Key of C, up one fet is C#.... Up one more is D... up one more is D#... see a pattern? 4th fret, out of the C chord shape is E.... Fifth fret capo C shape chord is F....

Key of G, up one fret it G#.... Up one more is A.... Up one more is Bb....


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM

Capo placement (up to 5th fret)

C chord shapes - 1-C#, 2-D, 3-D#, 4-E, 5-F
D chord shapes - 1-D#, 2-E, 3-F, 4-F#, 5-G
E chord shapes - 1-F, 2-F#, 3-G, 4-G#, 5-A
G chord shapes - 1-G#, 2-A, 3-A#, 4-B, 5-C
A chord shapes - 1-A#, 2-B, 3-C, 4-C#, 5-D

You should also know that A# = Bb, C# = Db, D# = Eb, F# = Gb


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Nick
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:59 PM

I reckon you might use most of the keys at some point but the chord shapes you know and use of capo will cover all of them anyway. I think I have a baritone range (either bass or baritone I never know) from a C or D two octaves under middle C up to an F (and on some things G) above middle C.

I sing Vincent Black Lightning in A
Summer Before the War in Bb
Tom Waits songs mostly in C
Whats the Use of Wings in D
Nearness of You in Eb
Rosemarys Sister in E
Will the Circle Be Unbroken anywhere between D and F#
My Love is in America in G#

etc

It's the range of the notes in the song rather than keys per se. You could probably sing most things that Ringo Starr did in ANY key as they had very small ranges usually!


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM

There are no common keys for the baritone voice or for any particular voice, for that matter. It depends on the range of the specific song in question and how it compares with the range of the voice. Lox's suggestion of finding the lowest note that you can comfortably sing is a fairly good starting point, but you should go on from there.

First things first:   
1. Find the lowest note you can sing comfortably and still get a good tone.
2. Find the highest note you can sing comfortably and still get a good tone.

That's you range.

Let's say, for sake of example, that you (baritone, you say?) can manage an octave and a fifth comfortably. Low note, around A, the open 5th string of the guitar (you can growl down to the low F or E, but you can't get any decent volume on them). High note, E, the open 1st string. You can actually squeal up to the G above that, but it either wants to break into falsetto or otherwise doesn't sound real good, okay? [Your actual mileage may vary, but this is just an example of how to do it.]

Say that, in a song book, a song that you want to learn is in the key of G (one sharp - #). The lowest note you find in the written music is a D (open 4th string) and the highest note is an F# (1st string, 2nd fret). That key is high for your range. So you want to count down scale steps from D to A (D, C#, B, A), the lowest note you want to sing. Then count down an equal number of scale steps from G to find out what key that would put you in:    G, F#, E, D. Bingo! Key of D. If you do the same countdown on the top note (F#, E, D, C#), that puts the top note of C# that you'd have to sing well below your voice's comfortable top note of E.

Okay, now try it in the key of D and see how it goes. Since it's fairly well within your comfortable range, you have some latitude. Try it up a key, in E and see how it goes. That puts the bottom note at a B and the top note at a D. That might actually sound better. Experiment.

That's it.

If you don't read music, you can do more or less the same thing by checking your range against the guitar (assuming it's in tune). Figure your voice's top note and bottom note in relation to strings and frets. Then, pick out the melody of the song on the guitar. Once you know how high and how low it goes, you can move it up or down until it fits within your comfortable range.

I hope this helps.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 12:31 AM

Scott, I would add one thing to the excellent advice you received above. Learn to play in a few other chord 'positions'. A, D and G at least. I don't doubt you are enjoying the C position, but keep in mind that even when you put the capo up or down, you will still be playing in the C position, and if you do seven or eight songs for an audience, your chording will begin to 'sound the same', regardless of the fact you are using different keys for each song.

I love the drop D position, but I wouldn't play in that position (regardless of key) for more than three of eight songs in a set because it gets 'tedious' to the ear of the audience.

I wish you every success. Have fun doing it.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 08:27 AM

I tend to avoid root position A if I can, as the drop into the E major often soulnds quite "un-folky".

That said, something in E shapes is usually easy and gives a considerably different sound. I do it for "Sailor's Life". It freaks arran sweaters out.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Scott in Virginia....
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 10:52 AM

Thanks for all the great posts! I now see that learning to read music will help me. Any tips on making learning to read music simpler? What do I really need to know? I can play guitar in the keys of C,A,G,E & D, so that helps out a lot.

Thanks,
Scott in Va


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 11:53 AM

Guest, above, mentions the drop D tuning. I like to play drop E by putting the capo (I use a Shubb for this, but a Keyser will work) on the first five strings at the second fret. It gives you that nice low root for your tonic chord, but you can use standard fingerings for all your other chords. The only drawback is that it's almost impossible to finger the F# on the second fret of the low E string.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 12:14 PM

"learning to read music will help me"

You don't -need- to learn to read music.... Plenty of great musicians all over the world can't read music...

But, the mroe tools you have in your toolbox, the better


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:01 PM

True, you don't need to learn to read music, but it opens up a lot of sources of new material (i.e., song books, sheet music, etc.), and if you can learn to read for the guitar as well, the sky's the limit. You'll understand a lot more about the layout of the fingerboard, and that can open up possibilities that you probably wouldn't figure out otherwise.

About the easiest way to learn to read music, since you play the guitar, is to pick up a beginning guitar technique book that uses written music, and just play through the exercises. The ones I'm most familiar with are for classic guitar (manuals by Aaron Shearer, Christopher Parkening, Frederick Noad, and others), but this doesn't mean you would need to know classic guitar technique, and although the manuals assume a nylon-string classic guitar, there's no reason that the stuff can't be played on a steel string guitar. Maybe a good idea to drop into a music store and ask for a beginning guitar book that can teach you to read music. .

I know there are a lot of musicians out there who don't read music, but there are a whole lot who do. Reading music is a basic tool for musicians. Why handicap yourself?

By the way, the keys you can play in (C, G, D, A, and E – you need Am, Em, and Dm also) are about the only convenient keys on the guitar. All the others get you immediately involved in a lot of bar chords, and since they are rough keys to play in, most classic guitarists don't like them much. So classic guitar composers avoid them, lest their stuff just doesn't get played! For song accompaniment purposes, keys other than those mentioned above are capo territory.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:03 PM

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who learned by ear, and then learned how to read music, and lost the ability to learn by ear....

Myself I'd much rather be able to learn by ear


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM

I've never known that to happen, Clinton. Once you can play by ear, you never lose the ability. In fact, people who can do both are generally much better musicians than those who can do only one or the other.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:50 PM

"Once you can play by ear, you never lose the ability"
Tell that to the collection of people I know who lost the ability when they learned to read music Don....

"I've never known that to happen"
Doesn't mean it doesn't happen....

"people who can do both are generally much better musicians"
Yes they are


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:53 PM

I don't understand how that can possibly happen. Did they tear off bits of the sheet music, was it up, and stuff it in their ears?

I'm not going to argure the point, Clinton.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 03:02 PM

Good... cause there's nothing TO argue....

That you don't 'understand' doesn't rule it out either Don....


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM

Oh, I understand all right. That was just a figure of speech. But short of some physiological problem, once a person learns to play by ear, there's nothing much that can take that away from him or her.

Would you care to descibe how the process of learning to read music can rob a person of the ability to play by ear any more than a kid learning to read can rob him or her of the power of hearing and speech?

No argument. Just a matter of scientific curiosity.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 09:31 AM

If I understood it, I'd be able to help the people I know who've lost the ability....


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 09:33 AM

I frequently capo on fret 7.

G shape on 7=D.

D shape on 7= A

Also for singing some songs in F, I capo on 3 & play D shapes.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Anders Barfod
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 07:55 AM

I can only speak from my own experience. I play guitar and sing. I am a baritone or so I think. My lead singer in the band is somewhere between baritone and tenor. We play a lot of rock/pop stuff. A song like gimme all your lovin (zz top) in F-Bb-C, Hot stuff with Donna summer in d-minor, "One" with U2 in A-minor, Hall and oates's "Maneater" in the original key of H-minor in the chorus and D-major in the vers.
I am well trained and can sing high and powerful in my upper register, but I have to lower my bands repetoire a half key. And that goes for all our songs.. This means that most rock-ballads in d-minor (still got the blues) is to high for me, except for "Is this love" with Whitesnake when played in d-minor (original is in E-minor).
I was amazed what a half key difference does for me. I am still singing in my top range, but it means that i can hit the highest note around G#4 without straining and the majority of the notes are around A3 to E4.
So i end up playing a lot of stuff in C#-minor, H-major. which are not commonly found in popular rock-pop music.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 12:00 PM

Anders: most 'catters know H as B.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 12:48 PM

Interesting to see the suggestion to find the lowest comfortable note as a starting point - I always find the highest not in the song and transpose the song to a key to fit that (my highest note D - D2 I think you would call it?)


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 01:56 PM

Scott, it all depends on the "tessitura" or outside range of the piece you're doing.
Measure the highest and the lowest note to determine this.

In my view, baritones sound well, when the accompaniment pitch is higher as a contrast.
If a key is too low or too high, transpose it up a fourth or fifth interval and it should work out.

"Would you care to descibe how the process of learning to read music can rob a person of the ability to play by ear any more than a kid learning to read can rob him or her of the power of hearing and speech?"

Don, this might be thread creep but the answer is that many musicians can do well both reading and by ear. There is a folk snobbery that doesn't allow for "fly specks".
Jazz musicians can do this in the majority.

"Hell, there ain't no notes to a banjo, you just pick it." Famous folk bromide.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 04:04 PM

I think Don's comment was from long ago, actually, but it's a topic I care very deeply about.

IF a child has learned to play by ear first - as they did when learning to read (they learned language aurally long before they ever tried to master written words) - then of course learning to read music will not take away that skill.

But there is much evidence that if a child learns to play by reading first, then they are much less likely to master playing by ear - and even composition and improvisation - afterwards.

I know so many musicians who have suffered in this way, deprived of what should be a natural and empowering skill, that I sometimes feel that starting kids off with eye-to-hand techniques, instead or ear-to-heart techniques, is a mild sort of abuse. It's also lazy - but then so many teachers are themselves victims from their own childhoods that it's perhaps understandable.

Back on topic> Just keep moving the capo up one fret till you can sing the tune. It's not rocket science.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 05:31 PM

OP, if you are comfortable playing in C, G, D, A and E, then you are never more than a tone away from what might be the ideal vocal key, even without using a capo. Since few folk songs cover very much range (compared to classical art songs) there shouldn't be much of an issue.
Where I use the capo (besides what I call the "fake" drop D mentioned above, which I love) is when I want to play, say, G shapes for the sake of the chord voicing, but need to sing in Bb or C to be in a the right part of my vocal range.
Since I can play in pretty much any key (but much prefer the sharp keys) for me it's a matter of fiddling around to get the sound I want on both guitar and voice. Sometimes it's a tenuous compromise. Sometimes I can't find it, and I just don't sing that song. Or I pass the vocal on to Mrs Highlandman, who sings better anyhow.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 05:50 PM

I recall George Deacon , a fine singer and Folklorist doing a 'Song Presentation' workshop at a Bracknell Festival saying that inexperienced singers tended to pitch low if they were Male an too high if they were female . Dor this reason I like to get 'up' my range for most songs


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 07:04 PM

"But there is much evidence that if a child learns to play by reading first, then they are much less likely to master playing by ear - and even composition and improvisation - afterwards."

Sorry, but must disagree. If this is the case, they have been beaten down by academic music schools, but this is by no means an absolute. The study of composition requires note reading to some degree unless you are Woody Guthrie or Irving Berlin. I think even Paul McCartney reads music.

Playing by ear can be achieved at any age. I would like to see that evidence, who it was by, and how it was applied scientifically.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 25 Oct 12 - 02:32 PM

Whether I choose to pitch a song in the upper, lower or middle of my vocal range depends on the song. Some I think need to sound lighter and less formal, some might need to be a bit growly, some need more power -- all effects I can achieve, but more easily in different parts of my range.


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Subject: RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Oct 12 - 03:40 PM

"The study of composition requires note reading to some degree unless you are Woody Guthrie or Irving Berlin. I think even Paul McCartney reads music."

The study of other people's composition may benefit from note-reading, but it by no means a requirement as the two examples you mention prove - along with many others. It is very possible to learn to understand composition and develop you own skills just by informed listening, and absolutely possible to compose without ever being able to read (though an ability to write music down helps if you want other musicians to play your compositions).

I can do the latter (though I seldom bother) but I can't do the former, and I have composed many many songs in tunes, much music for film and television, and even a musical.

I don't have peer-reviewed evidence to hand, but I have met scores of people, including members of my own family, unable to play by ear, only from dots - purely because of how they were taught. They have tried to learn to analyse aurally, but the eye-hand habit blocks the process.


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