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Guitar tuning when using capo   You are logged in as Guest
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Schieper

 

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar. 29 2017
 

Guitar tuning when using capo 

Hi Girls and Boys,

I am only recently using a capo. Last weekend I realized that it effects the tuning of my guitar and that I need to re-tune when playing open stringed, or using capo on second or third string. There is even a difference between placing capo on second and third. In all cases, the higher the capo, the more the trebles are off and need to be tightened a tad.

Technically it is only a small adjustment but harmonically, it is relevant.

Is this normal? Is there anything I can do about this? Would that disappear with a more expensive guitar?

Thanks for the support (and for populating this form with relevant postst...)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 8:45:17
 
Piwin

Posts: 1489
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
From: the land of Piwins

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Welcome to the foro.

It's common. There are things that you can do to minimize the problem though, like just making sure you're putting the capo on right:

For starters you can make sure that when you put the capo on you aren't inadvertently pulling the strings sideways. Make sure you're clamping the capo straight down.
Another thing is the amount of pressure you're putting on the strings. Clamp the capo down not hard enough, the strings just buzz. Clamp it down too hard, and it will pull the strings sharp against the fret, detuning them. (you can do the same thing by pressing down too hard with your fretting hand fingers. It's usually pretty apparent on the higher frets, say, above 12th fret, i.e. you'll notice a difference in pitch if you press down too hard). So you might have to adjust the pressure on your capo or, if it isn't adjustable, get a new one.

The intonation of your guitar could also be off but you would notice that without a capo on.

In any event, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Retuning is part of the fun.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 10:02:43
 
Schieper

 

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar. 29 2017
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Thanks Piwin,

and if you mostly only have short moments to practice, returning is not real fun :-) Even more if your tuning device is only set for EADGBE and you need to figure out which is now which under the capo :-)

Anyways, if it would have been a guitar issue, you would have given me a good reason to upgrade my guitar. So now I just stick with my original plan of first learning to play at least half decent :-)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 11:48:21
 
Piwin

Posts: 1489
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
From: the land of Piwins

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Ha. I forget who said guitarists spend half of their time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. Or something to that effect.
I'll admit I usually just tune by ear after putting the capo on.
If the problem is intonation, you can try things like adjusting the bridge to lower the action. And if you mess up the guitar while doing that, then you'll have a good excuse to go buy a new one

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 12:53:11
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1439
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
From: Living in Guadeloupe

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Tugging on a string, could be on either side of the capo, can help.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 17:27:52
 
etta

 

Posts: 229
Joined: Jan. 20 2010
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Yep; I vote for "tugging". You might experiment with how close you put the capo to the back of the fret, and as already indicated, be sure it is square with the fret. About a 16th of an inch behind the fret seems to work for me most of the time. I have a guitar with a compensated nut, and that seems to really help in capo use.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 17:57:18
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1679
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Piwins recommendations in combination with (indeed left and right site) tugging solves most problems. If you know your guitar very well and know for instance that a certain string alters in relative pitch more as the others when a capo is added you can also try to anticipate to that when tuning the open strings, that particular string will sound off then a bit until the capo is added. With certain pieces i know that certain chords/intervals has to be tested/pitched (both with or without using a capo) to make sure they came out acceptable.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 20:11:43
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2211
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

You can also "rock" the capo a little. If the high e-string is flat relative to the low E-string, just push down on the capo a little over the high string--and vice versa. The capo will shift its pressure a little, bringing the the high and low strings closer to being in tune.

The middle strings probably will still need touching up. Watching the pros, you will see them tugging on the strings on either side of the capo, more than fiddling with pegs or tuners.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2017 23:41:22
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 6826
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Change the tension on the capo buckle if you are using the Flat Jim Dunlap brand cejilla that most people use.

Loosen the strap and try different tension until you arrive at tension that holds the tuning but is not excessively tight. Think about the lightest left hand finger pressure it takes to stop a string over a fret. The range of finger pressure is important. Ask Ricardo about finger pressure and intonation and treat that concept as part of your cejilla knowledge. * Piwin hinted at that, but when there is an opportunity to bother Ricardo, always take it.

After you check all that out you'll probably only have to nudge the G string a little longer to get in tune.

Really strapping the capo down pulls the guitar out of tune. Lightly applied capo usually disturbs the tuning very little- sometimes not at all.

People usually assume you have to capo up with 40 gillion kilotons of pressure. It takes very little pressure and after that its all string distorting over kill. Your strings will last longer too because your not pinching the crap out of them knocking them out of round.

Strings start to play in poor intonation when they get out of round. Capo light as possible, wipe sweat off strings every time you put the the guitar away.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2017 1:52:44
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 568
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Really strapping the capo down pulls the guitar out of tune.


Yes and putting it too close to the fret stretches the strings by different amounts according to their thickness. You just need enough pressure to make sure that the thinner strings don't move around.

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2017 11:38:32
 
Leñador

Posts: 4731
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

When I first started someone told me to angle it just a hair so I've always done that. Who knows if it helps....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2017 20:12:37
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10242
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

quote:

ORIGINAL: Schieper

Hi Girls and Boys,

I am only recently using a capo. Last weekend I realized that it effects the tuning of my guitar and that I need to re-tune when playing open stringed, or using capo on second or third string. There is even a difference between placing capo on second and third. In all cases, the higher the capo, the more the trebles are off and need to be tightened a tad.

Technically it is only a small adjustment but harmonically, it is relevant.

Is this normal? Is there anything I can do about this? Would that disappear with a more expensive guitar?

Thanks for the support (and for populating this form with relevant postst...)


And so you have discovered why tuning the guitar with fingers on the fingerboard is no good. Only tune open strings, I find harmonics work best.

About capo tightness...if the capo is so loose the strings are NOT bent out of tune from where you started, the capo is NOT tight enough for me to play when I dig in with rasgueados. One strum or aggressive apoyando and you will hear the buzzing under the weak grip of the capo. So I always make it pretty tight (lower action guitars can be less tight) and then as others mentioned, wiggle it a touch so make sure it is gripping properly, AND FINALLY tune to OPEN (capo position) strings, (chromatic tuner) or harmonics (by ear). If playing with other musicians make sure at least one of your open strings matches the other instrument's tuning first.

After you are sure your open strings are in tune to each other (you can do the tugging for sharp notes, and bending behind the capo or nut for flat notes) you can test a couple chords for the song you are about to perform.

EDIT: don't do aggressive tugging of bass strings as they will saw into the upper part of your tie block, decreasing over time your break angle at the saddle. So tug them gently and if the pitch doesn't lower enough you can turn the machine or peg just a hair then tug gently again.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2017 21:06:38
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 568
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Leñador

quote:

When I first started someone told me to angle it just a hair so I've always done that. Who knows if it helps....


Tomatito is with you on this - anyone know why he does it? These pictures span about 30 years and are on at least 3 different guitars.

Rob



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2017 15:23:19
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 6826
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Tomatito is a maverick.

Angling the cejilla might give him a kind f intonation of loosen the bass strings so they don't need a lot of fiddling. It would be interesting to be able to actually ask him.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2017 16:40:53
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 6826
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

About capo tightness...if the capo is so loose the strings are NOT bent out of tune from where you started, the capo is NOT tight enough for me to play when I dig in with rasgueados. One strum or aggressive apoyando and you will hear the buzzing under the weak grip of the capo.


it's difficult to tell how much pressure you are talking about, but I sort of disagree with the ViceGrip school of capoing. But you have a different attack than I do. Figuring a person learning is not going to dig in as hard as you can, setting a lighter capo and distorting the strings less makes more sense to me.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2017 16:44:43
 
Schieper

 

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar. 29 2017
 

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to Schieper

Thanks for all the good advice. I will fiddle around with all your tips a bit to see what works for me :-) I have lightened the capo pressure but I tend to believe that it gives me to much buzz and the occasional notes start to sound "odd". I need some more time to experiment.


I have a chubb c2 capo which was needed as the Fazly capo just could not give enough pressure for the HT strings.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 21 2017 10:00:58
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10242
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Guitar tuning when using capo (in reply to RobJe

quote:

ORIGINAL: RobJe

quote:

When I first started someone told me to angle it just a hair so I've always done that. Who knows if it helps....


Tomatito is with you on this - anyone know why he does it? These pictures span about 30 years and are on at least 3 different guitars.

Rob




He is doing that so the basses don't buzz from hard attack, as I described early. If you put capo right up to the fret like that, it grips the strings better, and his concern is more with the bass strings than trebles. Whenever I get a loose capo over the trebles, they also can make a bad sound. I personally keep the capo up tight to the fret all across, but as I said, I also have to adjust tuning after. The trebs inevitably go sharp from bending against the fret wire when you capo close to it, so maybe tomatito does this so less adjustment is needed after first putting it on....

Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 21 2017 16:00:57
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