How to use a capo on guitar

(Image credit: Kyser)

To minimize the pitch-sharpening effect that can occur when deploying a spring-loaded capo, especially on an electric guitar and/or at higher fretboard positions, firmly press down the “blade” side of your pick hand across the strings over your guitar’s pickups or sound hole as you deploy the capo on the neck with your fret hand. 

Doing this “isometric karate chop” while placing the capo will help take up any slack in the strings and even out the tension in front of and behind the capo as it clamps onto and grips the strings, resulting in truer intonation and less “capo weirdness.”

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.