A basic fretboard question

Discussion in 'Lessons & Techniques' started by living room rocker, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. living room rocker

    living room rocker Member

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    A most basic question here guys; actually embarrassed to ask. I'm 2 years into playing; own a capo but have never used it. I can play melodies along with Youtube videos in each of the 5 pentatonic positions (modes) and transition fluidly between all 5 positions. My chord playing is still up in the open position and am currently working on learning chord inversions up and down the neck. I can usually nail down the key of a song by ear in 30 seconds or less (one notable exception lol...Marshall Tucker's "Cant You See"....G or D?) I've been doodling along to Zac Brown's "My Old Man"; clearly a song in the key of E. I go to the Ultimate Guitar website to check myself along with chord progressions and it's showing a 5 star version with the chords C Am F G with a capo on fret #4. I'm not understanding this; are these actual chords being played under the capo or chord shapes? My logic says a capo only changes open string notes, not fretted notes yes/no? Appreciate any help.
     
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    The capo may be thought of as a movable nut. On fret 4 The C shape chord sounds as E.
     
  3. Worblehat

    Worblehat Active Member

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    Wow, not bad. I am one and a half years into my guitar journey now but haven't done any transcribing or "ear training" so far. I know I should...
    I am currently working on barre chords and the first position of the major scale. Also getting a bit into blues rhythm and improvisation which is a lot of fun. But I should definitely do more listening and figuring stuff out by ear like you do.

    But now to your question...
    Yes the chords mentioned in your tab sheet are probably the open chord shapes. You just play them 4 frets higher and with the capo. The capo indeed only affects the open strings. It allows you to use the open chord shapes higher on the neck, i.e. in different keys. An alternative is to use barre chords. Those have no open strings, therefore a capo is not needed and you can move those shapes up and down the neck without it.
     

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