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Paper Plate Education
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Activity: Capo Dial

Capo 186.jpg (104583 bytes)

Construct a dial to determine on which fret to place a capo for various musical transpositions.

Capo 162.jpg (99807 bytes) Capo 163.jpg (99252 bytes) Capo 165.jpg (96811 bytes) Capo 166.jpg (110873 bytes)
Capo 167.jpg (122423 bytes) Capo 169.jpg (115416 bytes) Capo 170.jpg (92437 bytes) Capo 171.jpg (96411 bytes) Capo 172.jpg (101116 bytes)

A capo is basically a moving nut.  The nut of your guitar is the
plastic piece that the strings run through at the top of your guitar.  It
could be thought of as fret "zero."  For example, if someone were to play a
note on the fourth fret of a string, it actually means four frets away from
the nut.  

What the capo enables a player to do is essentially move the "nut"
to any fret they like.  This allows players to transpose music.  A capo
becomes very useful in situations where you may know an entire song in one
key, but no one you are playing with can sing it that low.  Using a capo you
could raise the key without having to play any different chord progressions.

Capo dial.jpg (277058 bytes) Capo 06 (Matt).jpg (369922 bytes) Capo_dial_zoom.jpg (14643 bytes)

The capo dial is a quick way to figure out which fret to place your capo
at for various transpositions.  The chords and numbers are color coded and it
is very easy to use.  The outside letters represent the starting key or
chord.  The inside circle of letters represent the key or chord to which you

There is then a set of the numbers 1-12 beneath each one of
these letters.  They represent the frets where you place your capo. Simply
match up the color of your starting key with the color of the number under
the key you wish to transpose to and that will be the fret at which you place
the capo.  

Capo 08.jpg (372598 bytes)1a For example, in picture 1a, a C chord is being played, but suppose
using the same chord shape I wanted it to be an F chord instead.  
Capo 09.jpg (337137 bytes)1b Picture 1b shows the original chord, C, being lined up with the new chord, F.  The color
of the original chord, C, is black and the number that is also black is 5. 
Capo 07.jpg (369432 bytes)1c Therefore, one could place the capo at the 5th fret, play the C chord shape,
and have it now be an F chord. (picture 1c)

Contributed by Matthew Rumley.


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