Capo for beginners

stephenjm

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Hello again,
I have been reading up on the capo for ukuleles is this good tool for beginners?
Since the capo will change the key of ukulele would you have to learn a simple
C chord or any chord another way, or can you play the chords the same way.
Thank you,
Stephen
 

merlin666

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As Mike said, a capo is one way of transposing a song to a higher key. Other ways to do that is using movable chords that utilize barre methods and other closed shapes, or just memorize various chords and play in other key using those. I don't have a capo as I think the frets are already close enough and up the neck it is getting more crammed. So for transposing I use a mix of the other ways which is easy after some practice. This also allows transposing to lower key which may be beneficial for those with lower voices.
 

donboody

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I had a capo once, I did not find that it improved my ukulele playing
 

robinboyd

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I use a capo to bring a song that is just out of my range to comfortably in my range, when I don't feel like playing really difficult chords. You don't need to learn any new chords. You play the same chords one fret up.
 

VegasGeorge

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A capo only makes playing more difficult. It pushes you up the fretboard where there is less space between frets, and finger placement gets harder. The only reason I can see for using a capo is if you are trying to play along with others, or a recording, where they are using a capo and you want to match their pitch and chording. Often I will see a tune chorded in the key of C, but with a notation to use a capo on the 3rd fret. That means the original players were using their comfortable key of C chord shapes, but actually playing (sounding) in the key of Eb. That is a convenience contrived to make the playing easier for the instrumentalists, but put the tune in Eb to accommodate the singer's vocal range.
 

rainbow21

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Hello again,
I have been reading up on the capo for ukuleles is this good tool for beginners?
Since the capo will change the key of ukulele would you have to learn a simple
C chord or any chord another way, or can you play the chords the same way.
Thank you,
Stephen
So the simple answer is do not get one until you know YOU have a need for one. Most of us never use one. For a beginner, there should be no need as it will create problems, not solve them.
 

UkingViking

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I bought a capo a few years ago, when I bought a guitar. Not because I expected to use it, but I wanted the whole accessory kit. Also my father might use when he plays on my guitar while visiting.
I put the capo on my Ukulele only for two songs, and for one of them I took it off again and just played the song in a lower key to get more sustain.
Some keys use more barre chords than others, and some of the easiest use mostly open chord shapes. With a capo you can use the open chord shapes you learned first to play songs in a key a few half steps higher. But I dont think it's the way to go. As a beginner you will not need to play stuff that require this, and you are better off just learning new closed chord shapes a few at the time when you need them for a song.
 

Jim in Oregon

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I'll sing along with the chorus here: Who needs it?

I've had a couple for my guitars and I've used them only when some instruction book suggests I do for a specific practice routine. I never use them for my guitars, banjos, mandolins and, now, ukes. If you're just looking for some stuff to buy because you like accessories (like me sometimes) get a variety of strings to try out.

Jim
 

Bill Sheehan

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Hi Stephen, I would probably leave the capo out of the equation for now. I've been playing the uke for 55 years and have not yet encountered a situation where I felt that a capo would be necessary, or even helpful. Now, on the guitar, it's been a different story. Many songs (James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot come to mind) were recorded and made popular with a capo on, for instance, either the second or third fret, and if we want to learn them and make them sound as much as possible like "the original", then a capo is pretty much a must. But for the uke, I'm just not a capo guy-- although it's always understood that each person will have his or her own preferences on things like this, and... "it's all good!"
 

Sporky

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I got a DAddario lite ukulele capo. It's a beautiful, well designed, unobtrusive capo. I've also mostly never used it, though I did have some fun with it on my baritone ukulele to play in GCEA.
Seems it's only actually useful when jamming with people, and even then on a concert or soprano scale there's just not enough room left to play.
 

cdkrugjr

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A capo is a useful tool for EVERYONE. Little story. I’m playing with the best guitar player I’ve ever known. We’re playing Fleetwood Mac’s Say That You Love Me, which is in A. Now A is quite the guitar-friendly key, no worries Mate, but Terry’s playing Cowboy G chords . .

So I ask, “A Capo? For A?”

”Yeah, listen to the voicing, they got a capo on . . . “

So the capo gives you the “open” chords when you aren’t in an “open” key. Now I’m a huge bar chord fan. I prefer 2225 for D for the octave Ds, and once you have that you’ve got the best sounding E on the fretboard in 4447 (imo), but Sometimes, the “right sound for This song” is to slap a capo on and play open voicings.

It’s a tool, nothing more or less. Waddy Wachtel uses a capo when he plays Landslide for Stevie Nicks. In my wildest dreams I’m not as good a player as Waddy . . .
 

Jim Yates

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A capo can be a very useful tool in some cases. I don't use one to avoid playing chords that are difficult, since the ukulele, having only 4 strings, doesn't have any really difficult chords, but sometimes you want a certain voicing or have worked out a solo or lick in one key that another player wants to play a half step higher, or your voice wants to sing it in a different key.

I don't use the capo often on the uke and never on the mandolin, but on the guitar and banjo, I do. There are certain passages that are impossible to play on the guitar or banjo without a capo.
It's a tool and if it sounds good, it is good.

I'll admit that after the turn of the century I played mandolin in a bluegrass band where the lead singer often liked to sing in flat keys. I brought two mandolins, one tuned a half step low (or high, I don't recall which). When we played a song in Eb or Bb. . . I would grab the appropriate mandolin. You couldn't see the capo, but it was there.
 

chris667

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Historically, it was traditional to retune your ukulele to match the key everyone played in. At the top of most ukulele sheet music from 100 years ago you will find the tuning to match the uke chords shapes.

George Formby used to go everywhere with several different ukes all tuned to different keys.

Like Jim said, the invisible capo.

As a beginner you are not likely to need one.
 

ripock

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when I began playing, I purchased a capo because it was an accessory and accessorizing is part of the fun. But even though I've only tried using it about 3 times, I always found it cumbersome. It seemed to get in the way. I know the ukulele police will slap my wrist and say my hand should be perpendicular to the fret board...but I play somewhat diagonally. And the capo was getting in the way. So I haven't pulled it out in years. I am doubtful if I even know its location at this point. I am not gainsaying its useful applications which have been delineated in this thread. I'm just saying it never had a place in my ukulele life.
 

cdkrugjr

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… I am doubtful if I even know its location at this point….
It’s in the bottom of the gig bag where you’ll spot it every six months or so and say, “Oh That’s where that got to…” the promptly ignored until the One Time In Years you’ve wanted a capo, at which point it won’t be there, so you’ll go buy another . . At which point it reappears, naturally
 

donboody

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Turns out I still have a capo, saw it in a backpack last night. Left it there.
 

rustydusty

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I used a capo occasionally while playing guitar with a band, but have never used one with my ukulele in the band I'm in now. I only play it a few songs a gig on the uke as I'm primarily the harmonica player anyway...
 

John Colter

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I use a capo to bring a song that is just out of my range to comfortably in my range, when I don't feel like playing really difficult chords. You don't need to learn any new chords. You play the same chords one fret up.
I hate to be a pedant, but that's never stopped me. When you use a capo and play the same familiar shapes you are playing different chords.

I've never used a capo.