What is a Capo?

Author: Lachlan Bush  Date Posted:30 December 2020 

A Capo (short for capotasto, meaning "head of the neck") is a small device that clamps to the neck of your guitar to allow you to quickly and easily change the key of the guitar. For example, by clamping a capo onto the 2nd fret of the fretboard, you can raise the key of the guitar by a whole tone. It effectively moves the nut up the fretboard.

There are a few different types of capo to suit different types of guitar, but they all do essentially the same thing - clamping a piece of firm rubber down over the fretboard.

Guitarists use a capo to play in a different key without changing the chord shapes or re-tuning the guitar, just using the same fingering as with standard tuning, further up the neck. This is particularly useful as a singer. If the song you're playing doesn't suit your vocal range you can shift the key up to a scale that suits, without having to re-learn the song with different chord shapes. You can also use the capo creatively to get some interesting sounding, or differently voiced, chords. 

There are many famous songs that are played with capos, which when played without them is very difficult, or just sounds wrong. Check out:

  • Hotel California - The Eagles (Capo on 7th)
  • Aqualung - Jethro Tull (Capo on 3rd)
  • Wonderwall - Oasis (Capo on 2nd)
  • Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles (Capo on 7th)
  • The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Capo on 2nd)
  • Don't Think Twice, It's All Right - Bob Dylan (Capo on 4th)
  • Exit Music For A Film - Radiohead (Capo on 2nd)
  • Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Capo on 5th)
  • The Cave - Mumford and Sons - (Capo on 2nd)

If you've never used a capo before you can give it a try today for a very reasonable price. We stock excellent quality, inexpensive capos to suit Steel string acoustics, electrics and classical guitars.


Artist Guitars CCP20 Acoustic/Electric Guitar CapoArtist Guitars CFP20 Classical Guitar Capo

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