Sept. 3, 2021

041 - Is Using A Capo Cheating?

This question pops up a lot online and can be confusing for beginners.

In this weeks episode, I will answer this question as well as others such as what a capo does, the different types, why you would use one and what songs use a capo.

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What Is A Capo?

A capo short for Capotasto Italian for "head" is a small device that clamps onto the guitar neck and raises the pitch.

The earliest known use of a capo is by Giovanni Battista Doni in 1640. The first patented capo was designed by James Ashborn of Connecticut in 1850.

Most commercial capos consist of a rubber-covered bar that clamps to the instrument's neck to hold down the strings. Capos come in different sizes and shapes for different instruments and fretboard curvatures.

Different Types Of Capo

There are primarily three different types of capo, wrap-around/strap, adjustable screw and trigger.

wrap-around/strap by Jim Dunlop 

adjustable screw by Shubb


Different Bands


In 1980 Milton Kyser establishes an East Texas guitar accessory company known as Kyser Musical Products.

In 1985 Milton invented a trigger mechanism for guitar capos that eventually became Kyser's signature Quick-Change functionality and remains remarkably unchanged to this day.


founded in 2004 by Nick Campling G7th released Their first "Performance" capo in April 2004. The capos have won numerous awards for the design of the capo such as the Players' Award by Acoustic Guitar magazine and many other accolades. In 2009, the Company won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise and the founders were invited to Buckingham Palace, London, to meet the Queen.


The concept of thalia was thought up in 2010 by 8-year old Thalia Bradley who was playing the guitar, and after gazing up at the poster of Taylor Swift on her bedroom wall thought that Taylor should have a beautiful capo that fits her beautiful Koa Taylor guitar.

Luckily Thalia's dad Chris was an inventor and guitar player and he loved Thalia's idea. Fast forward four years and 70 prototypes later Thalia launched on Kickstarter and gained 4,252 backers.

How To Put One On

A capo should be applied after tuning the guitar by laying the rubber covered bar across the strings directly behind the fret so that all of the strings have a uniform position and pressure. Make sure the strings are not bent or mispositioned, as this will make the guitar sound out of tune.

Why You Would Use A Capo?

  1. They help turn barre chords into open chords
  2. They allow you to play things that would otherwise be impossible
  3. Allow you to change the key to suit your voice
  4. Using a capo helps with songwriting and composition


Choose the chords for any song you want to play and the capo calculator will show you where to place your Capo. Click the link below to use the Capo Calculator.

Famous Songs That Use A Capo

Fast Car by Tracy Chapmen

Wonderwall by Oasis

Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles

Let Here Go by Passenger

Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths

Perfect by Ed Sheeran



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