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drbekken
12-12-2012, 12:16 AM
I do not use capos, neither on guitar nor on the ukulele. I don't like them, since they take away access to the whole fretboard.
Still, I understand that many people like them.
Any views on this here on the forum?

Plainsong
12-12-2012, 12:22 AM
Well it can be a quick way of changing the key, but if you're good at transposing on the fly, then you won't need one as such... Unless the progression isn't going the way you want, and maybe it sounds silly to go way up the fretboard. Then maybe a capo would be a huge help even if you have mad skillz at changing key quickly.

Since I don't sing and play, I haven't had a need for one, but it could happen. I suppose some are more ergonomic than others.

DJ Bob
12-12-2012, 12:31 AM
I can only fingerpick a few songs so I use a capo when someone in our group wants to play a song in a different key than I know.

It keeps me from having to learn the songs all over again.

anthonyg
12-12-2012, 12:57 AM
Well you could always have a ukulele at hand tuned to each different pitch you want to use.

Not me but someone I know:rolleyes:

When I'm busking a capo is handy as I only have the one instrument with me. I turn on the tuner and retune when I fit/move the capo.

Anthony

23skidoo
12-12-2012, 03:04 AM
I've tried a capo on ukulele but didn't really find it useful. On the guitar, I use it all the time.

Some arrangements, especially lead parts, only sound 'right' if played in the original position they were written in, using the same chord grips, open strings, etc. If you change keys and transpose the melodic lines, they usually don't sound the same, so I'll use a capo to allow myself to play the lead line as it was intended in the new key.

I also use it when playing with another guitarist. If we're playing in C, I'll capo on 5 and play in 'G'. I play a lot of country, bluegrass, and rock, so doing this breaks up the tonal palette a bit - when everyone is strumming the same chord, it gives you a little variety in sound and allows to maintain that 'open chord' feeling without having to resort to a lot of barre chords. Plus, it's a lot easier.;)

23skidoo
12-12-2012, 03:09 AM
here's an example of using the capo to get the right sound in a certain key.... one of my favorite guitarists, Dave Rawlings. Notice around 1:45 when he reaches in his pocket and slips on a quick capo without missing a beat - lets him play the solo in G with the chord shapes and positioning that gives the lead part it's distinctive sound.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7knB3VtAqY

drbekken
12-12-2012, 04:04 AM
That is absolutely BRILLIANT. Thanks for posting.

RedRamen
12-12-2012, 04:31 AM
Speaking of capos, can you use a guitar capo on a ukulele?

Ben_H
12-12-2012, 05:30 AM
I had my baritone strung in Bb tuning with Southcoast's flatwound linear strings. Sounded lovely and a 2nd fret capo ment I could play with the uke group in tune.

coolkayaker1
12-12-2012, 05:49 AM
DrB, I'd be very enthused to see a video of your great "noodling" on the baritone dGBE with a capo on a fret (3 or 5 or something).

I think it'd be uniquely interesting (especially after watching the video at 1:45 min).

Lori
12-12-2012, 06:03 AM
Speaking of capos, can you use a guitar capo on a ukulele?

Depends on the capo. Ukulele necks are thinner, and some capos are not adjustable to that dimension. Not sure if you can get a tight enough fit for it to work. Mandolin, banjo, and uke capos usually work better.

There is always the pencil and rubber band trick.

–Lori

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
12-12-2012, 06:48 AM
I love capos for guitar and (especially baritone) uke. Great for playing songs in the "hard" keys using the "easy" chords, and easy to quickly move songs from difficult-to-sing to friendly-to-Ralf's-voice keys. Also, I'm always happy to have a few open strings to play in a uke arrangement, and a capo gives me some open strings in keys like E flat, B flat, and A flat.

I use a Shubb ukulele capo. Works on all my ukes. Love it.

decaturcomp
12-12-2012, 06:58 AM
People sometimes call capos 'cheaters'. I'm not one of those folks. It's a tool. I get bored easily. I like change. Sometimes I'll try transposing and then go back to the original chord shapes with a capo. It's like using a pick with a uke. It can change things up and I've spent decades learning to use a flat pick on the guitar, so I think, why not?

drbekken
12-12-2012, 07:39 AM
People sometimes call capos 'cheaters'. I'm not one of those folks. It's a tool. I get bored easily. I like change. Sometimes I'll try transposing and then go back to the original chord shapes with a capo. It's like using a pick with a uke. It can change things up and I've spent decades learning to use a flat pick on the guitar, so I think, why not?
I would never call a capo a 'cheater'. Hope I didn't give that impression. Sometimes, though, I try to do a little pro and con, and I somehow feel they are getting in my way. However, I may try one now, just to check out some of the tips posted in this thread.

mm stan
12-12-2012, 07:49 AM
I have bought a capo years ago...used it a few times and now just a dust collector and I even at this moment don't know where it really is....LOL

coolkayaker1
12-12-2012, 07:58 AM
I would never call a capo a 'cheater'. Hope I didn't give that impression. Sometimes, though, I try to do a little pro and con, and I somehow feel they are getting in my way. However, I may try one now, just to check out some of the tips posted in this thread.

Maybe start with the pencil and rubber band, like Lori suggested.

FiL
12-12-2012, 09:43 AM
Speaking of capos, can you use a guitar capo on a ukulele?

I've used Kyser capos on all my tenor ukes for years. Just recently got a Kyser banjo/mandolin capo, and it's certainly more appropriately sized for the uke.

Some songs just sound good in certain chord voicings, and the capo helps preserve that when you need to change the key.

- FiL

patico
12-12-2012, 02:51 PM
i like capos.

decaturcomp
12-12-2012, 04:06 PM
quick change guitar capo on ukes work for me but they really get in the way of some chords in the new first position.

Dougf
12-13-2012, 03:49 AM
I wrote a song a while back in the key of F, and after working on it for quite a while, I realized that the key of G would better fit my vocal range. I could have just transposed everything up two frets, but after so much practicing, I found it hard adjusting to the new positions, and some of the chords didn't seem to sound quite right. So I bought a capo and played it with the original shapes, it worked for me.

Tootler
12-13-2012, 09:05 AM
The Capo is standard with folk guitar and I have come across very few folk guitarists who do not use one. Someone once explained that folk song accompaniment is most effective using open chord voicings. Using a capo allows you to keep those voicings in different keys.

I find the same applies with the ukulele. I have a shubb ukulele capo and use it occasionally but I find it gets in the way (I mainly play soprano ukes). My preferred solution to get the same effect is to keep ukes tuned in different keys so I have ukes tuned in D, C and Bb and that meets most of my needs for song accompaniment.

itsme
12-13-2012, 10:49 AM
here's an example of using the capo to get the right sound in a certain key.... one of my favorite guitarists, Dave Rawlings. Notice around 1:45 when he reaches in his pocket and slips on a quick capo without missing a beat - lets him play the solo in G with the chord shapes and positioning that gives the lead part it's distinctive sound.
I'm not sure I really get the need for a capo in many cases.

Rawlings is soloing way up the neck. Seems to me the real benefit of a capo in that situation is to be able to play the "open" strings pitched higher. Then why not just finger the strings when you play?

If you look at rock/electric guitarists, they play way up the neck that way and I can't recall seeing any rockers using a capo to do so.

23skidoo
12-13-2012, 02:31 PM
I'm not sure I really get the need for a capo in many cases.

Rawlings is soloing way up the neck. Seems to me the real benefit of a capo in that situation is to be able to play the "open" strings pitched higher. Then why not just finger the strings when you play?

If you look at rock/electric guitarists, they play way up the neck that way and I can't recall seeing any rockers using a capo to do so.

He's using a technique called cross picking - sort of emulates the sound of a finger-picked Travis sound with a flat pick. He's using most of his fingers in addition to the 'open' strings that are capoed.... can't really be done without a capo - doesn't have enough fingers. Granted, he wrote it that way..... like Tootler Geoff said upthread, it's a standard feature of a lot of folk/country/traditional music that rely on the voicings of open chords for their characteristic sound. A lot of the rock stuff you reference would sound awful and poorly articulated if you tried to play it on an acoustic without the benefit of amplification/overdrive/distortion.... just a different sound for a different style of playing. If you watch Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings perform, almost every tune they are both capoed in different places - they look for a blend of pitches that compliment each other and their voices.... again, not something that can be done without capos.

A lot of jazz guitarists don't use a capo either. As Doc mentioned in his initial post, it closes of big chunks of the fret board that they commonly exploit as part of their sound..... part of their thing, too, is the whole 'practice every song in all 12 keys'..... having jazz chops means not having to rely on a capo to change keys.... what they're trying to achieve is not reliant on the consistent sound of the voicings, regardless of key.

Dougf
12-14-2012, 04:00 AM
One other thing a capo can come in handy for is if you feel like your action is a little high at the nut. Rather than taking it to a luthier to adjust, or filing it yourself, you can put the capo at the first fret and test how it feels. The first fret acts as the nut, and you can't get much lower than that.

strumsilly
12-14-2012, 04:09 AM
I play with a folk church choir, and often on the spur of the moment , the director will change the key to better accommodate the voices, say down or up a bit, that is when a capo comes in handy. I had a few Guitar Kysers lyin around, just took a hacksaw to one and filed the edge. works like a charm.

southcoastukes
12-14-2012, 04:21 AM
I do not use capos, neither on guitar nor on the ukulele. I don't like them, since they take away access to the whole fretboard....

Boy, Doc, New Orleans really has rubbed off on you! Spoken like a true New Orleans jazzman. My old friend Jimmy Foster would have said much the same thing, and would have added something along the lines of "that's for the bluegrass people, a jazz player doesn't need help" (say this with a slight air of disdain).

Still, we recommend them all the time. With longneck designs like ours they are even more practical, as you can use your capo for all the reasons mentioned above - lots of good ones - and the longer scale means often you will have as much room left on your fretboard as with a standard sized instrument.

As we do mostly longnecks, we considered capos to be an integral part of our designs, and for a time made a very cool, modified capo-cejilla for our instruments. Now we use the Shubbs or Shubb Lites. A Shubb will be standard equipment on our longneck tenor ukulele, as it will allow for the richer B flat reentrant tuning, and then let people capo up to C behind the 2nd fret if they're used to that tuning in ensemble playing. That will still leave 14 frets to the body.

Doug's remarks about the capo and action illustrate why capos are most often used. I'd guess Flamenco players use them the most, as pretty much 100% of them use capos pretty much 100% of the time. They like the higher tone they get - this is not such a big deal on an ukulele - but they also do extremely fast left hand work, and low action is so important that they set the action low to begin with, and then don't even mind some string buzz when they put on the capo. My partner Omar told me that an old Flamenco practice technique was to do the practice sessions without a capo, as this was more difficult, then put it on for performances to make the fingering easier.

You could do something of the same for instance, with a Tenor Ukulele, even a standard model. Reentrant B flat tuning w/o a capo for richer tone and more vibrato - then a capoed C tuning for a faster attack. Two instruments for the price of one.