Guitar Cheat Sheet Says Capo on the Fourth Fret

I heard a song that I’d like to learn so I looked up the guitar chord progression online and the one that I found said “Capo on the fourth fret” and then gave the chords D, A, G & Bm. Am I playing the same root notes or do I have to transpose something?

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Why use a capo on a bass? :thinking:

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As far as I know a guitarist would play the shape of the chords as if the fretboard starts at the 5th fret instead of 1st.
So if I’m not terribly wrong the whole thing is transposed 4 semitones higher. The fretnumber of the capo in semitones higher than the initial chord.

I would still like for someone else to confirm that.

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Disregard my comment. I thought you said you were using the capo on your bass.

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No transposition on your part. :+1:

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Are you sure?
My understanding here is that he just has the guitar chord progression, not any bass tabs or even sheet music. A D chord with capo 4 is not actually a D chord.

The graphic is about Am but it illustrates what I’m talking about:

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The capo is on the guitar part.

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Yes, I saw that after I posted my comment, which is why I said to disregard.

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Yes, sorry. I posted before I saw your retraction.

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Thanks everyone. As soon as I get a chance to try this, I’ll let you know how it sounds.

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Oh my bad. I think @juli0r might be right. I talked to my son and he said the D, A, G & Bm is reference to the chord shapes being played on the guitar but the chords change based on the 4th fret capo. As shown it the chart posted by @juli0r

I’m out of my depth here, since I don’t play guitar. If this is what the music you have means, then you would have to play root notes based on the new chords. However, this becomes problematic since the charts I’ve seen show playing a G with the capo on the 4th fret as either ‘blank’ or ‘not applicable’.

Maybe @Lanny @terb or one of our other former guitarists can offer up some experience.

Edit: Removed erroneous research I had posted that only served to confuse clarity.

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Ah yes, capo! The great guitar equalizer!

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My understanding is some people use a capo to more easily play chords on bass in certain keys (just like guitar), to put open strings on the correct note. I don’t do much chording myself though (only for one song really, and even then it’s basic.)

One interesting thing you can do with a capo is simulate what a short or medium scale bass feels like. Capo the first fret then pretend it’s the nut; you now have a 32" bass tuned a semitone sharp. Capo the second fret, you have a short scale bass tuned up a tone. Capo the third fret, it’s now an Ibanez Mikro tuned three semitones sharp :slight_smile:

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Using @juli0r 's chart, I’m thinking the root notes I should be playing are D=F#, A=C#, G=B, Bm=D#.
I haven’t tried it with the song yet as I’m in transition to start working again, hopefully this afternoon I can get some time to practice. Maybe our trusty bass teacher @JoshFossgreen can help.
By the way, the song is “Here For A Good Time” by George Strait.
Thanks everyone!

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That seems right.
I listened to the song to understand what you are dealing with. I think your transposition is right and since it’s originally a guitar only piece I agree with root notes. Maybe root/fifth but nothing fancier than that IMO.

So you are saying if I get a capo, tune my bass down a few semitones then I won’t need to buy a short scale? Why do they even exist :wink:

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Yeah, that’s what I was planning to try out.

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Another thing worth mentioning is that you don’t need to know about scales, music theory or transposition to play a song that’s played with capo on guitar. Just move the shape you would play without capo higher up the fretboard according to the capo number.
So if something is played with capo 2 you just move 2 frets higher on the fretboard.
In your case with capo 4 just move 4 frets higher from the initial root note.
Although with 4 frets it’s probably possible to find frets that are easier to play. With the octave and unison shape that should not be a problem.

Just wanted to add that for people who are less into music theory. The only thing you need to know is where your root notes on the fretboard are.

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@howard
The simulation of other scales is intriguing! I love my miKro.

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Oh man. That was awful. I ended up finding numerous capo charts that didn’t even match each other and I had so many tabs open, the one I ended up sharing wasn’t even the one I ended up using. :roll_eyes:

I edited my post to remove any confusion from the thread.

@JerryP can you post a link to the one you used.

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I don’t use a capo except for very rare occasions using my acoustic guitars - never used one on any of my electric’s. It is an easy way to change the tones as @juli0r stated above with each fret being a 1/2 step.

Playing guitar, I always just used Bar Chords because to me it was much simpler and easier to move up and down the fretboard with just an A or E bar chord and play just about anything easily - NOTE: guitar players are known to be lazy and will always find an easy way to do something yet make it look kinda hard…

Since I’m not strong on music “Theory”, I’m not one to give any advice on what specific notes would be used unless I looked at some sort of a cheat sheet. I never had problems playing guitar or bass with someone using a capo, but then again, I have always just jumped in on a song and started playing once my ear told my fingers where to go…

Keep on Thumpin’!
Lanny

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