Generally, bassists don’t use cheat-bars… I’m sorry, I mean capos.
(that was a little guitar player dig there… gotta get 'em in when you can!)
Truly though, bass players won’t capo.
You’ll be expected to transpose on the spot. It is tricky at first, particularly if you’re new to the instrument and playing.
It gets easier over time, and will allow you to build up a nice and well-earned condescension for capo users. *
In an ideal musical world, instead of thinking fret numbers, you’d know what key things were moving to, and think about chord relationships.
Meaning, if you’re used to a blues progression that uses the 1,4, and 5 chords in G… (making the chords G, C and D respectively) you’d be savvy enough with your keys and your chord relationships to adjust to the same song moved to the key of Bb (where the chords would then be Bb, Eb, and F).
If any of this sound like music-jargon-nonsense, I’d check out some of Josh’s BassBuzz intro theory or his intro to Blues videos. There are some good places to start to learn how to adjust on the fly to a different key.
*Using a capo isn’t really cheating, and it can sound great on guitar. Doing it on bass is a bummer because we lose that low register that is our bread and butter.
Guitarists will use it to easily move to keys where they can sing more comfortably, or just to get the chords to sound a certain way in certain shapes due to the chord fingerings and use of the guitar’s open strings.
Asking us bass (or mandolin, or fiddle) folk to adjust on the fly (when all them banjo/guitar folks have to do is move that damn capo) can be real frustrating. It’s not easy, and please don’t take any of my ideas or suggestions as things that you should be able to do. It takes a lot of comfort and confidence with the fretboard and the song material to transpose on the fly.
It’s not easy, and