View Full Version : No Capo

09-27-2011, 12:53 PM
ok, quick question:

I want to play a song that suggests a capo on the first fret. I don't own a capo, but couldn't I just tune each string one half step higher from GCEA and achieve the same result as using a capo? Maybe my theory's wrong, I don't know, but before I try it, I'd like to confirm that the tension of the tightened strings wouldn't be too much for the uke. I wouldn't think it is because isn't the alternate ukulele tuning like one whole step up from GCEA? Any help is appreciated, thanks!

Ken Middleton
09-27-2011, 01:04 PM
Your theory's right. However, I would say don't bother. Just sing it half a step lower. The only problem would be if you are playing with other musicians who are in the key that is half a step higher.

09-27-2011, 01:07 PM
To experiment, you can try making your own capo. I've seen several sites and videos out in Googleland that supposedly teach you how to do it with a pencil and a rubber band.... but I agree with Ken. Just play it open if you're able to sing in that key or it doesn't conflict with playing with others.

09-27-2011, 01:16 PM
Good advice guys, thanks, it didn't occur to me that I could change my voice rather than the ukulele. Anway, in the past I have tried making my own capo, and in my opinion, its more trouble than its worth.

09-27-2011, 02:05 PM
Your left index finger is the world's best capo... :)

09-27-2011, 05:18 PM
Your left index finger is the world's best capo... :)

I have played bar chords for over 3 decades but honestly especially with the uke I find myself trying to play as many open strings as I can for the sustain. So I have found my self using a capo more than ever before.

Ken Middleton
09-27-2011, 08:59 PM
I personally don't use a capo on the uke. However, I did see the need for one that did the job properly, so I worked with Shubb to develop their ukulele capo. I think it looks and feels good and is an ideal choice for those who want to use one. I may be a bit biased here.

09-28-2011, 06:30 AM
By using barre chords on the uke, I have opened up the entire fretboard for myself. It is much easier than barre-ing on a guitar, and it lends new tones to old chords. I also found that it takes the pain and angst out of the "awkward" chords like Bb and E, for me. The E I now play is just a D, barred two frets up, and I play my Bb using a barre rather than spread like a guitar F. Others may disagree, but I find that it works for me.

09-28-2011, 08:32 AM
I just got a capo, but before that I usually just transposed the song. Sometimes that is tricky because stuff that's easy on guitar is hard on uke and visa versa, but it has helped me a lot with learning new chords and also learning progressions in different keys.

09-28-2011, 10:25 AM
I got a Shubb ukulele Capo and it works really well. I do find it a bit tricky to use as it gets in the way of my fingers a bit but I reckon that's because I'm new to the uke and I will get used to it in time. Even now it's improving.

I do find it a useful alternative sometimes to using the "proper" chords for the key as it gives a different character to the chords. In some songs I sing in D I think the accompaniments sound better with the capo on the second fret and using C shapes. On other occasions I just use the regular key of D chords. The capo gives you the choice. I'm not up to speed with barre chords yet. I'm just starting to try Bb and Bm and I have still not yet mastered getting your index finger properly pressing the strings or of moving to or from these chords. I expect it to take time and, hopefully, I'll get there eventually.

10-01-2011, 07:25 AM
You can also play the song in the original key by playing different chords. It is good practice and you will learn more chords,. ultimately making you a better player. Capos are an excuse to not learn the multiple voicing of every chord and only learn the "easy" chords, which will hinder you in the future.

Ken Middleton
10-01-2011, 07:41 AM
Capos are an excuse to not learn the multiple voicing of every chord and only learn the "easy" chords, which will hinder you in the future.

I don't think that this is necessarily true.

Playing chords with lots of open strings leaves fingers free to decorate the chords in lots of ways e.g. suspensions, pull-offs, added 2nds, acciaccaturas, etc.