‘Capo’ is the more colloquial term for device called capodaster (or to be super exact and acknowledging the Italian origin: capotasto). A Capo basically allows you to shift the key of a chord/song. Technically, it re-positions the nut of your guitar from the headstock towards the body and thereby shortening the length of your strings. This results in a higher pitch and therefore, in general terms, a capo is usually used for songs that are written in higher keys.
In the video below I will explain in more detail what a capo is and how to use it on your guitar.
Let’s look into a couple of questions, typically asked by guitar beginners who are not familiar with the use of a capo.
Is it hard to use a capo?
No, it’s not. All you do is clip it on into the fret of your choice or whichever one it is being demanded by the song you want to play, and then you are good to go.
Why do I need a capo?
Well, there are two main reasons. Some songs are written in different keys and if you want to learn how to play such songs on your guitar (or play along to them), the capo will allow you to do exactly that. Usually, when a capo is required for a song, there is a reference somewhere that says something along the lines of ‘Capo 3’, which means that you will need to clip the capo onto the third fret of your guitar. Secondly, in more general terms, it allows you to tab into a whole new spectrum of possibilities when playing the guitar.
Do I need to learn new chords when I use a capo?
No, you don’t. You, in the vast majority of cases, use your regular chords. You just play them in a different fret. The capo ‘simulates’ the nut of your guitar. Like I showed you in the video above based on the E-Minor chord; instead of playing this chord in the second fret, you would play it in the fifth, one fret in between the capo and your chord.
Is a capo expensive?
No, you can get one for very little money. Here is a link to the Guitar Shop where you can get yourself a capo dirt cheap.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with how to use a capo when playing the guitar. It is much easier than you would think, as a matter of fact, it makes things – depending on the song – actually a lot easier for you.