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A capo is a wonderful thing

A capo is a clamp with which you can change the pitch of the opening.

guitar strings, simply by placing the clamp behind different frets

on the fretboard. With a capo, you can change the key of any song.

very easily. I love wearing a bonnet, for a number of reasons.

What I do most with acoustic guitar is play the violin of yesteryear.

money. Many violin melodies are played by violinists in the keys of A

and D. However, when playing these melodies on a guitar, they sound

the best, and most easily played, on the G and C keys. Now

say you wanted to play with a violinist who wanted to play

“Black-eyed Susie” in the key of D. I would like to alternately

play backup for him while the protagonist played, and then play the protagonist

on the guitar while he backed me up on the violin. All I need

do to accommodate your key (D), but play with the same fingering

I am used to (in the key of C), is to place a capo behind the

second freight of the fretboard. Then we’d be playing on the key

of D, but I would use the fingering I always use when I play in

the key of C without the bonnet. If I was playing in the key of A, I

I could keep the capo on the second fret and play the tune like I had

I learned it in G.

By using the capo, you can more easily play with musicians who play in

keys that are different than what you are used to. However, I

I like to use the capo (usually behind the second fret and sometimes

behind the fourth fret) even when I play guitar alone.

One reason is that the higher pitch allows the separation of the

individual notes so they are heard more clearly. Every note seems to ring

a little sharper and more distinctive than it would on the bottom

pitch. Another virtue of using a capo is ease of playing. Tea

the higher the fretboard you use the capo, the shorter the distance between

each fret, so your fingers don’t have to stretch as much. And the

action becomes slightly lower, so strings are easier to press

down. And you don’t have to put the capo on the fretboard to

Feel the difference. Simply placing the capo behind the second fret

results in noticeably easier playback.

It is important to mention a caveat. Do not leave the capo in the

instrument when you are not playing it. The bonnet, when attached to the neck,

holds the strings on the fingerboard and creates additional tension

on the neck and top of the guitar. All acoustic guitars are

destined, at some point, to have problems due to the

string tension. Why rush the process by leaving a bonnet

stuck on your guitar?

As for the best nut to use, there are several different types.

I used to wear the type that is a barbell with an elastic belt that is

adjustable. In recent years, I have discovered that Shubb’s boss is the

better. It is easy to use and holds fast and tight behind any

transport. Check with your local guitar dealer and determine what it is

the best for you.

The capos make things much easier for the guitarist and provide

lots of benefits. If you’ve never used a bonnet, you owe it to

yourself to experiment with one!

Copyright © 2007 Lee Griffith. All rights reserved.

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