“Hello. My name is Shannon, & I use a capo.”
GROUP RESONSE: “Hello Shannon!”
I admit it – there was a time I looked down on “Capo Users”. I’ve gotten hand-cramps for the sake of my glorious anti-capo-dom. I’ve forced complex songs into simpler keys, far outside my sweet-spot vocally, to massage my ego & not use a capo. I’ve played chord-shapes that don’t ideally befit the riff/hook for the sake of being that guy who’s “better than the capo users.” Yes, on rare occasions I used a capo, but only on open tuned guitars – the fact that I once had 4 guitars on stage, 3 of which were in alternate tunings, gave me enough “cool points” to counteract the evil capo – sorta like buying “Carbon Credits”.
Then, back in ‘03, I saw Shane & Shane live. Those guys have MASTERED the guitar, and they’re capo maniacs: capos upon capos – cut capos inserted at odd angles into other cut capos. That is when I realize that a capo is just a tool. Just like any tool, it has it’s purpose, and can also be misused.
So here’s a theory of Capo: don’t use it as a crutch to hide the fact that you only know 3 chords – that’s sad. Granted, if you DO only know 3 chords, and you’re asked to lead worship somewhere, I’d rather you used a capo and play well than not use one and be a distraction. However, let your goal be to learn the real chords, & use them when it sounds good. However, some songs only sound ‘right’ with certain chord shapes on the guitar, & a capo is how you get those shapes. For instance, playing a B, E, G#m, F#, & etc. on an acoustic has ‘thump’ on the low-end, but capo to the 4th fret, and play a G-shape, C9, Em7, & etc – it creates a brightness, and a continuity in the changes (particularly on the high end) that can carry some songs well.
Therefore, I repent – or rather, I repented some time ago. Use a capo, but not as a crutch – use it as a tool. Use it to open up your guitar to tones that help you blend into an overall band setting, give brightness or weight to a progression, depending on the song’s ‘mood’, or even – as Shane & Shane do with cut capos – to significantly alter your guitar’s tuning in a flash (not just up a step, but from Standard, to open G, or drop D). Used this way a capo can really open up the breadth of what your guitar is capable of.
“Hello. My name is Shannon, and I use a capo.”
Shannon Lewis is “The Worship Community Guy“. Passionate about helping others respond to God, & training people who are passionate about the same, Shannon also blogs at SaintLewisMusic, where you can grab his free eBook, UNSEASONED: How to see Godly Growth in an Inexperienced Worship Team.