Many worship leaders are increasingly using the “cut” capo to their guitar tool box. Unlike a full size capo which covers each of the six guitar strings, the cut capo just covers the A D and G strings leaving the others open. The result is a deep, open resonating sound that is also a great tool for beginners as it only requires one or two fingers to play most chords in the key of E. Its also very useful for create huge droning sounds if you are the only musician in a house group or small church and you need to create big sounds to fill up some space.
One of the first worship song written for the cut capo was Billy James Foote’s “You Are My King” (Amazing Love, How Can It Be). In this song the capo is put over the second fret leaving the strings E, B and E open. This effectively creates a new tuning without having to retune the guitar. You have to learn some new chord shapes to play, but the result is a lovely open ringing sound. In fact, many formally difficult chords and chord progressions become simpler with the cut capo.
You can see how the cut capo works by downloading Musicademy’s online lesson of . The new chord shapes for the song are below:
The cut capo was developed for songs in the key of E but you could also use it in F by placing a full capo on the first fret and the cut capo on fret three. Another idea is to turn the cut capo upside down and place it on the D G and B strings. If you then use shapes like you are playing in the key of G the open strings will give you some really interesting additional drone sounds. Try this on fret two and you’ll be in the key of A, fret five gives you C, Fret seven is D and fret nine for playing in E.