How To Use a Capo on an Acoustic Guitar

So you want to be the next top musician and be the best in playing an acoustic guitar. But before that, you need to learn how to play the guitar, and you need to also start learning how to use a capo.

A capo is a clamping tool that is attached to the neck of the guitar to raise the pitch since it shortens the actual string.

If you want to make use of a capo to play an acoustic guitar, here are some tips on how you should use it.

  • Know the different variations of capo. Depending on the tone you want and the string instrument you are using, you can choose from the different capo available in music equipment stores.
  • Two-roller capo. This capo has a roller over and under the neck of your guitar. This is particularly used when the song requires a quick shift in keys.
  • Spring clamp capo. Compared to other capos that encircle the neck of the guitar, a spring clamp capo is installed on just one side. This gives flexibility to the player when it comes to adjusting the strings without having to move the capo.
  • Partial capo. This is new to the capo family. The partial capo allows the player to control which specific string should be clamped.    
  • Know the parts of a capo. Regardless of the capo variant, the basic parts are the same for all. A capo has rollers that presses the string down and keeps the capo in place around the guitar’s neck.
  • Set up the capo. Hold your guitar such that the neck is straight and pointing upwards. Get a good grip of the capo and open the clamp as you start to glide it around the neck of your guitar. Adjust the capo by moving it up or down before letting go of the clamp completely. The capo will close itself and hold the guitar’s neck firmly. Better yet, bring your acoustic guitar as you purchase the capo. Ask the sales assistant to help you install the capo onto your guitar.
  • Change the keys. If you need your capo to raise the tone of several cords simultaneously, you will need a quick-release capo to be able to catch up with the music.

If you are unsure of what capo to purchase, you can go to the nearest music equipment store near you and ask the sales assistant if you can test the different capos. Get a feel of each before deciding which one to buy. And like in playing the acoustic guitar, it takes practice to use a capo when playing. Move the capo and experiment until you obtain the tone you are looking for.

If you do not like to purchase a capo, you can improvise. All you need is a pencil or pen and 2 pieces of rubber bands. Lay the pen or pencil flat across the neck of the guitar, on top of the strings. Using the rubber bands, tie each end of the pencil to the guitar’s neck.


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