How to Play Guitar Chords With Capo

Capo use can dramatically change the sound of a song and simplify chord progressions for bassists and keyboardists who do not utilize capos.

Train’s 2009 chart-topping single ‘Hey Soul Sister’ makes great use of capos on the 7th fret to enable guitarists to create unique chord voicings not possible without one.


Capo’s are an indispensable addition to a guitarist’s arsenal of sounds. By altering string scale length and thus altering sound resonance, guitarists can access new sounds simply by moving their capo up or down fretboard.

If, when playing an open A chord without any capo and hearing B notes, adding one on the second fret causes string length changes that result in C sounding chord. Vibration reduction reduces bass frequency while emphasizing treble frequencies on strings.

Once you become comfortable with how chord shapes sound when played through a capo, playing songs in their original key and finding new ways to voice favorite chords becomes much simpler and less time consuming compared to looking up charts or finding chord voicings; leading many guitarists to use one. A capo can help keep things fun!


As one might suspect, placing a capo on any fret raises the pitch of all strings by half-step – this allows chord shapes to stay the same but changes key easily, and is an effective way to switch keys without learning new fingering techniques.

Capoing can be especially helpful when playing minor guitar chords as it enables you to use the same fingers you normally use for major chords in order to form bar chords – for instance placing it on the second fret can change an Am chord into something closer to Dm as two semitones higher (a minor third) is added by simply moving up two frets.

Take care when playing some chords that require much focus from your left hand, as this could lead to tension in your fingers if you aren’t used to barring strings and leading to harsh sounds if it isn’t necessary for a particular song.


Blues guitar (especially in higher keys) requires the use of a capo, and especially important when playing higher keys. A capo makes transposing chords to new keys much simpler while adding depth and bassiness to them. Furthermore, its use makes fretting the strings much simpler, which can be especially helpful to beginners.

Capos are widely utilized in folk, country and acoustic music but can also be beneficial in any genre of guitar music. Singer-songwriters will find capo useful as it allows them to easily play songs that match their vocal range more quickly. Furthermore, their use near the bridge may aid with intonation issues due to shortening scale length and thus creating intonation issues that require practice to correct.


An effective use for a capo can be as a creative tool. Let’s say you need to play chord progression that has deep, bassy tones yet the song needs something lighter and jaggier; using a capo allows you to alter its quality without changing its shape or shape itself.

If you’re playing with a singer and trying to match their pitch, placing a capo at the second fret could help create a major sound without having to sing in it yourself – providing new life to an old song!

With a capo, it is possible to instantly play songs in multiple keys with just basic knowledge of open chords. This method may make improvising over jazz chords much simpler for novice players while broadening their understanding of how these chords function.