You might hear guitarists speak about using ‘a capo‘, this is not an essential accessory for a beginner but if you are want to try a song in different keys (maybe to better suit your singing) a capo helps you to transpose chords without altering the tune of each string. Check out the transposition chart below to see what each chord becomes thanks to having the capo on different frets.
You just attach the capo around the guitar neck on the fret of your choice, making sure every string is covered, and the pitch will change. On the cover picture you can see the capo on the first fret.
Once you get a bit more comfortable with several different easy chords you might want to try to play a barre chord, if you struggle here the capo helps you to rearrange the barre chord into an open chord.
By the way, we have a free step-by-step program that will teach you how to play the barre chord without hurting yourself or throwing your guitar out of the window. The program takes you through two iconic songs: Radiohead’s Creep as well as Pixies’ Where is My Mind.
You can see the different open chord diagrams at the top and then which chord it transposes to with help of the capo. As explained the capo helps you to rise a semitone per fret so a D chord becomes an E chord with capo on the second fret and an F chord on the third fret.
Play with or without a capo
Have a go at playing with your capo. Place it on the second fret to play Radioactive by Imagine Dragons; you only need to know Am, C, G & D.
If you don’t have a capo you can choose to either play this song with Am, C, G & D however it will not be the same key as the original song.
On Jellynote, users can use the transposition feature to transpose all of the chords on a score so they can play in the original key without a capo and without having to refer each time to the transposition chart. For example for this song the chords without a capo would be Bm, D, Ab & E.
If you’re new to guitar then make sure you check out our beginner guitar tutorials!