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How to Play Country Guitar with a Capo

Learn how to play country guitar with a capo from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.


All right. We're going to take a look at the capo and how to use in on the guitar, especially in country music. This is a capo that I use. There's all different types out there. Some are just a clamp style that you just grip. Squeeze it, put it into place, and let go of it, and it just clamps onto the strings. Some might have a screw in the back. You slide it up and down and screw it down. This is one that kind of has a popping action, where I just press this latch down like this. And so I use different ones, depending on what might be handy.

Anyway, here is a common place to put the capo. The second fret is a place where we can be playing a C chord and a G chord. And another guitar perhaps could be playing a D chord and an A chord. And it just separates the sound of the two guitars a little bit by putting this guitar up in register, just barely. You could also move it up to here and play an A-shaped chord that would be still sounding out a D chord, if you were playing a piano or some other instrument that you could not use a capo on.

And so experimenting with the capo actually can open up the fingerboard for you in a really fun way. I know when I was starting out as a kid, playing in a lot of bluegrass situations, moving the capo around the guitar or the banjo really kind of illuminated how different chord shapes can be interchangeable dependent on what key you're in. Anyway, so here's a C chord, but I'm actually sounding out a D chord.

So the other good thing about a capo is, say the strings are a little high on the guitar, your action's a little high. If you put a capo on, it'll bring the action down to a more manageable level. It also brings the frets a little bit closer together. You're shortening the scale of the instrument. And that's one of the reasons it gives you that slightly brighter sparkle. You get a little bit of a natural compression from the instrument which is also kind of handy. And like I say, you can play some pieces maybe a little easier with the benefit of the capo just because of the action being a little more manageable.

So that's just the quick look at the capo. There's a lot more fun you can have with this, so enjoy.

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