What About Capo's

Hi, I have a lot of friends who play guitar and to change the key they use a capo on the neck. I have been getting tired of doing the math of how many frets up or down to go from natural key to change key. is a capo a good idea, when should I use a capo, and where can I find a cheap good quality capo.



Caleb -

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


Bass players don’t use capos


I found two good niche uses of capos. That said I don’t own one.

  • they are convenient when working on the bass for checking truss rod tension.
  • they are the cheapest way to get a short scale bass if you own a 34" bass - just start capoing off frets and retuning to EADG at the capo. This is what a bass of that scale will feel like if you buy one.

Blasphemy I tell you


oh not buying one ofc


I have a capo. I’ve never used it while playing, but as @howard mentioned, it is a useful tool for adjusting the truss rod.

The truss rod adjustment involves holding the e string at the first and last frets while at the same time measuring the gap at the 8th fret. This is difficult to do unless you happen to have three hands.

Slapping a capo on the first fret makes the measurement a snap.


I fret the last fret with my elbow :slight_smile:


I thought capos were meant to be used to tie your hair back​:rofl: :joy:. :rofl:
Cheers br


I’ve got one @TNKA36 so that can’t be true :joy::joy::joy:


They’re perfect for topping for fish , chicken or meat, and you can also use capers in a sauce, salad or on pizza. You can try a caper tapenade or pesto to serve on a crostini, or serve caper berries mixed with other brined and pickled vegetables for an antipasti platter. In a sauce, over chicken or fish …oh sorry did you say Capers? :rofl: sorry…couldn’t help myself


LOL nice that is one of the better jokes I have seen about my name


@Gio thank you man that makes a lot of sense I have only been playing for about a year so the transposing is still rather tricky for me but i will have to work on that


Ok that didn’t age well lol.

In my defense I didn’t buy it for my bass :slight_smile:


Idk why bass players have that kind of reaction about capos :roll_eyes:
Capos are extremely useful for setting up your instruments, and instruments need to be set up relatively often.
Fretting with your hand or something similar will make it harder to reproduce the exact position, tension, etc, hence the result of the setup will be different, not even mentioning that fretting 1st fret with one hand, the last fret with your elbow, and measuring the string with a gauge requires some flexibility :rofl:


I’m sure that reaction is directed at “playing” bass with a capo, not using it as a tool for setup. That’s how I feel about it anyway.


+1 to this.


Tbh, I’m not that sure…
…there seem to be some taboos between bass players about capos and picks

To each their own tho :stuck_out_tongue:


I pretty much only play with a pick right now :slight_smile:


Playing with a capo and playing with a pick are two different, totally unrelated things. They don’t even belong in the same conversation.

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