Capo Cheat Sheet

Simplifying The Art of The Capo

A capo can be a wonderful tool for learning how to play songs with limited knowledge of chord structures. In fact, many very experienced musicians still use capos too.  

*A capo is a device that clamps down across the guitar’s fingerboard at a particular fret. Capos shorten the length of all the strings at the same time, creating, in effect, a new nut. All the “open” strings now play in higher pitches than they do without the capo.

How much higher? A half step for each fret. If you place the capo at the third fret, for example, the open E strings become Gs (three half steps higher in pitch than E). All the strings become correspondingly higher in pitch as well — B becomes D; G becomes Bb; D becomes F; and A becomes C. You can’t play anything below the capo — only above it on the neck.*

*Mark Phillips // Guitar For Dummies