Transposition chart for capo
A capo, or capo tasto in full length, is a device used for change the key without changing the tuning. You just attach the capo around the guitar neck on a fret that you choose and the pitch is raised (place the capo over the fretboard as you would do with your index finger playing a barre chord). Sometimes you see notes like "Capo 3" or "Capo 5". This mean that you should attach the capo around the guitar neck on these frets.
The capo is especially a splendid solution if you find it difficult to play barre chords. With the assistance of a capo you can rearrange the barre chords to open chords in new positions – see the chart below. The capo is furthermore a great tool for those who want to find new ways in their guitar playing.
Transpose with help of the capo
The chart below is a guide that helps you find the right chord using a capo.
|No capo||Capo 1||Capo 2||Capo 3||Capo 4||Capo 5||Capo 6|
To the left you see diagrams with chord shapes and next to them the chord names. The numbers on the top indicates on which fret the capo is placed. If you place the capo on the third fret and play the Am chord shape, we find out by the chart that the result is a Cm chord. You can of course go further than the sixth fret, but it will soon be very short of room for your fingers. See a picture of fretboard with notes or see capo chord chart.
Examples of how the chord changes
C Capo 2 = D | C Capo 4 = E | C Capo 5 = F
D Capo 2 = E | D Capo 3 = F | D Capo 5 = G
E Capo 1 = F | E Capo 3 = G | E Capo 5 = A
G Capo 2 = A | G Capo 4 = B | G Capo 5 = C
A Capo 2 = B | A Capo 3 = C | A Capo 5 = D
Dm Capo 2 = Em | Dm Capo 3 = Fm | Dm Capo 5 = Gm
Em Capo 1 = Fm | Em Capo 3 = Gm | Em Capo 5 = Am
Am Capo 2 = Bm | Am Capo 3 = Cm | Am Capo 5 = Dm
See also The Capo Chart ebook with over 300 chord diagrams including partial capo.
Examples of how the key changes
If you play with a capo on the 2nd fret a song with chords like G, C and D will sound like A major.
If you play with a capo on the 4th fret a song with chords like C, F and G will sound like E major.
You probably get it now ...
So, if you have music written in the key of C# and I want to play it in A? In this case you could put the capo on fret 8, but it wouldn't be very practical. In this case you should probably not use a capo at all but transpose the whole music piece to another key. There are programs for that, for example Guitar Pro for guitar.
The capo changes the effective tuning of the guitar. If the capo is placed on the first fret, for instance, it will emulate the following tuning:
1st string (the thinnest) = F
2nd string = C
3rd string = G# / Ab
4th string = D# / Eb
5th string = A# / Bb
6th string (the thickest) = F
Capo with open strings
The capo must not be put over all strings. It can for instance be put over the 2-6 strings leaving the high E-string open, or, over the 1-5 strings leaving the low E-string open. In both cases new interesting sounds is the result.
A capo on second fret on 2-6 strings will result in the emulated tuning F#-B-E-A-C#-E. Playing the open shapes G6 - D5 - C will now result in A - E5 - Dadd9, but with a different timbre because of the open highest string. More partial capo tunings with open strings and chord charts can be find in other articles: Capo with open high E string and Capo with open low E string.
Choose the right capo
There are many models of a capo nowadays and accordingly the price fluctuates a bit. The cheapest with just an elastic band can be bought for a few dollars. But it is recommended that you use capos that are specially made to fit an arched or a plain guitar neck. The price for these capos varies between 20 and 40 dollars.
Three popular models seen on images below:
Donner DC-2 One Handed Trigger Guitar Capo for Electric and Acoustic (left)
Shubb Deluxe Series GC-30 (S1) Acoustic Guitar Capo (middle)
G7th Performance 2 Silver Capo 6-String (right)