FOR GUITAR / MANDOLIN / UKULELE / BANJO
Grades: 3 - 12
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Many guitarists (and other instrumentalists) use a “capo” on their fretboard, either to enhance their sound by facilitating “open” chords at higher frets (particularly on acoustic guitars), or even just to make it easier to play a song in a particular key. This “Capo Wheel” helps you to decide where to place your capo to obtain the sound / chord / key you want.
SOME EXAMPLES OF USING THE CAPO WHEEL:-
A singer needs a song in the key of Eb, but you’re not very familiar with the chords in that key. If you locate “Eb” in the outer ring of the wheel, and scan down the coloured inner rings directly below it, you’ll see that you can play the song in, say, “D” if you place your capo on the 1st fret, or in “C” on the 3rd fret, or in “A” on the 6th fret — all of which are probably easier to play than the chords for the Eb key, but which will still give your singer exactly the pitch he/she wants!
You’re playing a song with your capo on the 5th fret, in “C”, because, hey, it sounds good! Your bass player asks, “What key are you in?” You can’t tell him, “Just put a capo on your 5th fret and play in C, like me”, because bass players typically don’t use capos! So, how do you determine what key you’re ACTUALLY in? Well, scan around the “5th fret” ring (the grey one) until you find “C”. Then, just check the key in the outer ring directly opposite that, which is “F” — that’s the key your bass player needs.
[Incidentally, the Capo Wheel stops at the 7th fret because, realistically, the typical capo/guitar combination doesn’t work well much higher than that, and few guitarists would place capos beyond the 7th fret — most stick to the first 4 or 5.]