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Using the CAPO in Guitar Playing

By: ian Williamson

Despite the similarity of the words, the capo is not your regular trigger-happy Mafia leader although it does come from the Italian word "capo tasto" which means head of finger board. Instead, the capo is a harmless gadget or device attached to a stringed instrument like a guitar, to raise its pitch.

Capos come in different brands but the common kinds are the elastic capos - which are the least expensive and most commonly used by guitar players, the nylon capos, and the steel string capos.

While it may look a bit strange and highly technical for non-guitar players, the capo can be easily attached to a guitar. It is placed on any of the frets of a guitar neck. A fret is a small ridge on the finger board of a stringed instrument. Or in layman's terms, it looks like equal divisions located in a guitar's neck or handle - the one attached to the guitar's semi-elliptical body.

To use the capo, just attach the device to any of the frets and make sure the clamp can hold all the strings down. Inspect for any kind of pulling of the guitar strings as it may cause the guitar to sound out of tune.

A special kind of capo, the third hand capo, is a gadget that can easily clamp all the strings of the guitar in place. Like the ordinary capos, it allows the guitar player to play tunes that may be difficult to play using the bare guitar strings.

If you have tried singing accompanied by a guitar, or just playing the guitar, you may be familiar with songs that are either too low or too high in pitch and you just can't reach the right pitch. This is where the capo comes to the rescue, by making the pitch right.

The capo is not only used by guitar experts but it also allows beginners to enjoy different kinds of tunes without difficulty. Using the capo can sometimes be frustrating for guitar players as they can hinder the proper playing or proper hand reaching.

While capos are used with stringed instruments, they are also commonly used with guitars. Guitars can either be acoustic or electric, but the basic method of playing the instrument remains the same.

Most guitars have a total of six strings but there are 12-stringed guitars so no matter how many guitar strings there are, they are most generally played by strumming or plucking the strings with a person's right hand. Sometimes, though, a pick is used to do the plucking or strumming. The left hand is used to hold the guitar in order to play a note or chord.

A guitarist must possess the following essentials:
1. Extra Strings - guitar strings usually break when you least expect them to so do yourself a favor by keeping extra strings for emergency purposes. Guitar strings should be changed every two months even if they do not break. But if you use your guitar more often than the regular guitar player you should try changing strings more than once every two months to keep your guitar in shape.

2. Picks - stock up on these little things because they are easy to lose. Guitar players who only have one pick and lose it use alternatives like carving a pick from a hard plastic but the professional pick is always better.

3. Capo - the capo is a very important device for guitar players because it can help them strum a higher pitch if a song proves to be too high or too low. You do not want to be frustrated if you cannot get the right pitch so invest in a good capo.

Guitar teachers advise their students, especially beginners, to use an electronic guitar tuner so they can focus on learning how to play the guitar. Like the basic tuner, the capo is one of the essential accessories a guitar player should have because it can easily change keys that sound awkward, with ordinary strumming.

If possible purchase the most durable and reliable capo, even if they are more expensive than the ordinary ones. But before buying a capo, you must first have a guitar on which it can be attached.

For More Information on Guitar Playing by Ian Williamson please visit

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