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View Full Version : Using a Capo feels uncomfortable



brUKEman
06-11-2013, 12:18 PM
I like to sing in D tuning for some songs so I thought I would try using a Capo on the 2nd fret.. I bought a Shubb Lite for ukulele which is nice and easy to place. I find it very uncomfortable when playing with it, especially when strumming an E7 or A7 chord. I tried a couple of different capos with the same result. Do most of you have the same problem and are there any work arounds.

Kanaka916
06-11-2013, 12:21 PM
Transpose the chords to meet your vocal needs . . .

brUKEman
06-11-2013, 12:32 PM
I can transpose and play the chords, but my playing style works best when playing first position C/A7/D7/F etc. I do a lot of songs like "All of Me" , 5 ft. 2/Ain't she sweet and I play them in C. When I play them in D it just doesn't have the same effect, along with it being more difficult as I play a lot of Chord & Melody.

SailingUke
06-11-2013, 12:45 PM
For one step (C to D) try tuning your ukulele up a step (ADF#B)
The C shape you know is now a D.
Common tuning in Canada and other parts of the world.

Hippie Dribble
06-11-2013, 12:55 PM
For one step (C to D) try tuning your ukulele up a step (ADF#B)
The C shape you know is now a D.
Common tuning in Canada and other parts of the world.

:agree: yes Alan, was going to suggest this too.

Also, many old songs are in Bb key, you could do the same thing for these and tune down to FBbDG and still play chord shapes in C

Jim Hanks
06-11-2013, 12:57 PM
What size uke are you using to capo on? If the discomfort is simply due to shortening the scale, you might can try a bigger size. For example, capoing a tenor at the 2nd fret will give you approximately a concert scale and capoing a concert at the 2nd fret fret gives you approximately a soprano. If you're capoing a soprano, God help you. :-)

Tootler
06-12-2013, 07:32 AM
Capoing a soprano is a non starter, as far as I'm concerned, having tried it. On a concert, I capoed up to Eb from C (3rd fret) earlier this week quite successfully. I have a Shubb ukulele and, while it is well made and clips on well, I think it's too bulky for a uke and I still find it gets in the way. I've ordered one of the "elastic strap" type capos to see if that's any better. I'm quite hopeful but it's not very expensive so I'm not sure about it's durability.

mattydee
06-12-2013, 07:42 AM
Capoing a soprano is a non starter, as far as I'm concerned, having tried it. On a concert, I capoed up to Eb from C (3rd fret) earlier this week quite successfully. I have a Shubb ukulele and, while it is well made and clips on well, I think it's too bulky for a uke and I still find it gets in the way. I've ordered one of the "elastic strap" type capos to see if that's any better. I'm quite hopeful but it's not very expensive so I'm not sure about it's durability.

I have one of those elastic capos, and it is such a pain to affix and remove that I NEVER use it. I'm going to order a shubb despite the reservations here just to see if its easier. Ive been transposing mainly, but if the capo is just for a half step, ive been cheating and playing it in the uncapoed key. I can get behind the OP's sentiment in wanting to play in open position for some songs, and in a performance setting, re-tuning just isn't a viable option.

brUKEman
06-12-2013, 08:08 AM
Just a note on the Shubb. It is very easy to put on and off. Just make sure you get the Shubb Lite for Ukulele as it is half the weight.
It comes in a radiused and non radiused version.

SailingUke
06-12-2013, 08:30 AM
I have one of those elastic capos, and it is such a pain to affix and remove that I NEVER use it. I'm going to order a shubb despite the reservations here just to see if its easier. Ive been transposing mainly, but if the capo is just for a half step, ive been cheating and playing it in the uncapoed key. I can get behind the OP's sentiment in wanting to play in open position for some songs, and in a performance setting, re-tuning just isn't a viable option.

One of the many reasons (excuses) many of us have more than one ukulele.

29moons
06-12-2013, 08:52 AM
I have never found a comfortable one either and tuning up or down a 1/2 step or step is a pain when playing. I do have two ukes so one tuned differently works but I hope someone has found a comfortable capo out there and shares it here.

mattydee
06-12-2013, 10:05 AM
One of the many reasons (excuses) many of us have more than one ukulele.

Oh, I get that, believe me, but I already perform with three ukes -- the traditional (a custom), an 8-string, and a baritone. Bringing in one or two more for alternate tunings starts to get ridiculous.

Tootler
06-12-2013, 12:35 PM
I don't really perform with my uke - I play flute/recorder and harmonica mostly in our band, though I might have to use the uke more in the future as our guitarist (who also plays uke) seems to be drifting away. I do go to singarounds at folk clubs regularly, though. Here in the UK, they take place in pubs so, although I have ukes which I keep in alternate tunings, I prefer to take just one uke to a singaround so a usable capo would be very useful.

The elastic one I've ordered should be here in the next couple of days, so I'll be able to see how it goes.

Bill Mc
06-12-2013, 04:58 PM
One of the challenges and accomplishments of playing music is to play in different keys and use the different patterns and voicings required - not playing the same chord shapes over and over.

kaizersoza
06-13-2013, 09:54 AM
I got both, I don't like them, with practice they become bearable, transposition is the best way, unless you are performing and need to change key for some reason, there I said it lol

Tootler
06-13-2013, 01:38 PM
One of the challenges and accomplishments of playing music is to play in different keys and use the different patterns and voicings required - not playing the same chord shapes over and over.


I got both, I don't like them, with practice they become bearable, transposition is the best way, unless you are performing and need to change key for some reason, there I said it lol

Using a capo gives you the option of using different voicings in the same key. Yes you can use movable chords and go up the neck to do that, but you then lose the open string effect which works well with the music I play and which I try to keep. Transposing is not always the answer, it's a matter of suiting the accompaniment to the song. I quite often try both transposing and playing in a different tuning to find a key to suit my voice for the particular song and will often go for using a differently tuned uke to keep the voicing I want. Using a capo gives me further choices in that respect.

Lalz
06-14-2013, 02:37 PM
I find Shubb capos to be indeed a bit uncomfortable for first position chords, because the bulk of it is behind the neck, right where the hand/thumb wants to be. Try a Kyser Banjo/Mandolin capo. It works much better imo, because it doesn't get in the way.

aqualung23
06-15-2013, 08:11 AM
If you challenge yourself to transpose the chords and/or use more barre chords, I think you will very happy with how this will help your overall technique. In a few weeks you'll have a much bigger chord vocabulary. The Uke already has such a small range than I wouldn't personally want to remove 4, 8, or 12 notes from it.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-15-2013, 08:26 AM
I like the Shubb uke capo. It takes some getting used to for sure; don't forget to try attaching it both from the top and from the bottom of the neck (flipping where the hardware sits) to find the best position for your playing style.

Transposition is such a terrific tool. For me, developing every transposition method---using different chord shapes, playing up the neck with barre chords, using a capo, retuning, et cetera---has made me a much more confident and competent performer.

mattydee
06-15-2013, 09:14 AM
Using a capo gives you the option of using different voicings in the same key. Yes you can use movable chords and go up the neck to do that, but you then lose the open string effect which works well with the music I play and which I try to keep. Transposing is not always the answer, it's a matter of suiting the accompaniment to the song. I quite often try both transposing and playing in a different tuning to find a key to suit my voice for the particular song and will often go for using a differently tuned uke to keep the voicing I want. Using a capo gives me further choices in that respect.


If you challenge yourself to transpose the chords and/or use more barre chords, I think you will very happy with how this will help your overall technique. In a few weeks you'll have a much bigger chord vocabulary. The Uke already has such a small range than I wouldn't personally want to remove 4, 8, or 12 notes from it.

:rolleyes:
How many times do we have to say it?! Sometimes transposition is not the right answer, though as Ralf says, sometimes it can be. It is not about the challenge of transposing, for some of us. I am perfectly happy playing entire songs in third position, but only when it sounds right.

Frankly, I'd prefer to transpose every song, but there are chord voicings that sound better in open position, even with a capo, than when barred, when played in a certain pattern.

Thanks for pointing us toward the Kyser... That looks interesting.