How the heck do you form a B minor chord? What is a G# major look like? Do I REALLY have to play that G minor chord there? I CAN’T SING THAT LOW! I’m sure we’ve all come across some of these situations, but there are many solutions. You can transpose the music for easier playing, but then you compromise the key. You could use bar chords but then you compromise the quality of sound between chords. Changing the key can affect the way someone who is extremely familiar with the song reacts or responds to the song. So the solution: CAPOS!
Capos are inexpensive. They are easy to find (any music place, instrument store, etc. will carry probably TOO many of them). They are easy to use (most have a simple squeeze application while some have a strap lock). For easy use for independent students, I suggest the squeeze application capos because of their easy use. For a therapist working with a special abilities population/children, I suggest the strapped capos because they are more difficult to remove. Either way, a capo is a capo, so use what you can find!
I specifically enjoy using capos with my students because they make a fantastic introduction to exploring the fretboard of a guitar. I open tune my guitars to E and capo on the 3rd fret to make it in the key of G (this allows for a somewhat tight sound but also a rich sound; the higher you capo on the fretboard the tighter and mute the sound). I then tape the fretboard red at the IV chord (5th fret from the capo) and orange at the V chord (7th fret from the capo). You can then chose to use a slider or teach barring with the index finger, depending on level of capability. Watch our video about capos and sliders and a simple activity to go along with it!
Well, there ya go! A few good uses for capos and even a visual activity to go along with it! If you have any fun activities or uses for capos, let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear what you’re doing with capos in sessions or lessons!
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