As a guitar enthusiast, you have probably encountered a beautiful song. You grabbed your guitar, turned on your computer, and searched for the song’s chords. Unfortunately, the song involves chord progressions that are too complex for your current skill level.

Inexperienced guitarists try to avoid “bar” chords (i.e. chords that require you to press all six strings using the index finger) during their first few months of playing. These chords are difficult to master, especially if your “hand independence” is still low. Fortunately, you can use a capo to turn those nasty bar chords into open chords (i.e. chords that involve at least one open string).

Pretty much every guitar tuition site will give top class training in using a capo, but just to be safe you can check out the best online guitar lessons reviews to see whats available on the market.

How to Use a Capo

You need to place the capo behind one of the guitar’s frets. If you will place the device on a fret, the strings will produce undesirable sounds. Make sure that your capo is not exerting excessive pressure on the strings. Guitar strings go out of tune when they receive too much pressure.

Important Note: Play each string after setting the device. You’ll know that you did everything right if the strings are producing clear notes.

The Benefits

Now that you know how to use a capo, let’s discuss the benefits that you can get from it:

It helps you in converting bar chords into open ones – To properly use a capo, you should be familiar with the “alphabet” of music. This alphabet consists of twelve notes. Every note is a half-step away from its closest “neighbors”. In the guitar, one half-step is equal to one fret.

The standard tuning of a guitar is EADGBE. These letters correspond to the notes that come from each open string. If you will use a capo, the notes from the open strings will change. For example, if you will place the capo on the first fret, all of the notes will go up by one half-step. The tuning of your guitar will be FA#D#G#CF.

That means you can simplify complex chords quickly and easily. With a capo on the first fret, the B major chord (i.e. a bar chord) will be an A major chord (i.e. an open chord).

It helps you in changing the key of a song – In some cases, the original key of the song is not suitable for your vocal range. The song is probably too low or too high for your voice. You can use a capo to adjust the song’s key: experiment with different capo placements to find the right match between the song and your voice.

It helps you in producing awesome sounds – In most cases, open chords sound better than bar ones. Additionally, embellishing notes is simpler and easier when you are working on open chords.

It can help you in creating a unique “guitar voice” – Guitars produce similar sounds if you are playing the same chords. If you are jamming with your friends, it’s likely that your instruments will produce identical tones. If you want to differentiate your instrument, you may use a capo and play unique chord fingerings.

It helps you in improving the sound of a song – There are times when the original arrangement of a song sounds awful when you play it on your own. It is possible that the original recording didn’t use a guitar. In this case, you can use a capo to improve the sound of the song significantly (while staying true to the song’s key).