Capos are used on the guitar to change the key of the music, and not only are they used on guitars but on many other string instruments as well. This includes ukuleles, mandolins, and many others. In fact, nearly any fretted string instrument can use a capo. The word capo is short for capodastro or capotasto, and it is basically a derivative of the Italian term “head of the neck.”
While you can certainly buy a capo in most music stores, many musicians choose instead to make their own capo. And while this may sound difficult to some people, the truth is that it’s a lot easier than you think.
How to Make a Capo for a Guitar
The good news is that you can make your own capo with only a few items, which include a rubber band and a device such as a pencil, marker, or even a fork. In fact, as long as that item is something that won’t break, you can use it as a capo on your guitar or other string instruments. All you really have to do is tie the device onto the neck of the guitar with the rubber band, and you’re all set.
The exact location of the capo depends on the result you’re after, but a capo essentially shortens the length of the strengths and makes it easier to play certain notes in another key.
First Things First: What Is a Capo?
To understand what a capo is, you have to be familiar with the nut on the guitar. The nut is a thin strip that is usually made of plastic and is found where the fretboard meets the headstock. There are grooves in the nut to keep the strings in place, which are then placed around the tuning keys. In some ways, you can think of a capo as a movable nut, but it doesn’t have string grooves on it.
When you use a capo on your guitar, it eliminates the vibrations of the strings, and it does this by pressing down on the strings. There are many different sizes and shapes of capos, in part because they are made to fit all types of string instruments and fretboard curvatures. Most capos are covered in rubber and are fastened to the neck of the guitar with a strap, screw, or clamp.
You can place the capo on your guitar’s fretboard at any point, and you can change its location at any time if you need to. All you have to do is open it up, move it to the desired fret (just behind the fret bar, not on top of the fret), then reapply the string or other device that attaches the capo. Capos are generally easy to use, especially once you get used to playing with one.
The Different Types of Capos
Most people choose a trigger capo, which uses a spring system. Once you open up the capo with the trigger, place it where it needs to go, then release your grip, the pressure from the spring keeps the capo in place. It is both simple and fast, which is why this type of capo is so popular. A screw capo is another choice, and it works similar to the trigger capo except that it uses screws to keep it in place.
There is also something called a Shubb capo, which isn’t super easy to use but tends to be a little more precise than many other types of capos. With a Shubb capo, you simply use the lever attached to the capo to keep it in place. Finally, there are super-cheap capos that have a strap that wraps around the guitar’s neck and is set in place with a notch. These, however, can easily slip and be difficult to get into the right place.
Keep in mind that few capos are actually expensive; in fact, you can get a high-quality trigger capo for around $15 and many others are even cheaper.
Using Your Capo Effectively
When you decide to make your own capo, you should wrap the rubber band around each end a total of two times. Remember, you want it to press down evenly and firmly on the strings, and you don’t want it to move around as you play. Also, the best time to install your capo is right after the guitar has been properly tuned.
If you apply your capo and the strings have a “twang” sound or a dull sound, this means that the capo hasn’t been applied correctly. When you release the capo’s hand, you have to be careful because if you apply the wrong amount of pressure, your guitar strings could bend. Bending, of course, makes the guitar sound out of tune, which is the last thing you want.
When you use a capo, you can play songs in different keys without having to adjust the tuning keys. This means you can change the pitch of certain notes and open-string chord forms without changing the sound of the fretted notes.
Conclusion – How to Make a Capo for a Guitar
At one time, some musicians considered using a capo a form of cheating, but nowadays people realize that this isn’t the case. Capos make changing keys a lot easier and even help beginners who might be having a hard time stretching out their fingers with their left hand in order to play the right notes. In short, using a capo simply makes a guitarist’s life much easier in many ways.
Making your own capo can be done with many different devices, and some forms of music utilize capos more than others, including blues, folk music, traditional Irish guitar music, and flamenco. There is also a partial capo that is applied on two to five strings and allows for several different tonal variations. If you want to make your own capo, it’s very easy to decide how to do so and it’s a much cheaper way to start using this device.
Capos can be bought or made, and whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced guitarist, it’s good to know how to use and make capos because you never know when you might need one.
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