As a guitarist, a capo is one of the most important things to have. With no change to tuning and without using bar chords. But, can you tune a guitar with a capo on?
Yes, it is possible to tune a guitar with a capo on. But, most guitarists refrain from tuning their guitar when the capo is on because tuning a guitar with a capo will affect the strings and also the tuning of open strings.
Now, if you are looking to know more about tuning your guitar while the capo is on, follow the article to the end.
What Is The Purpose Of Capo?
A capo is a small guitar accessory that allows you to clamp down your guitar strings. Due to this reason, a capo is also known as a clamping tool. A capo allows you to reduce the action and the vibration created by the strings of your guitar.
With the help of the capo, we guitarist enhances the pitch of our guitar without playing with the tune of the guitar. All in all, a capo is one of the most crucial elements of a guitar. Whether you want to avoid playing bar chords or you have to enhance the pitch of your guitar, a capo is there to help you out.
Should You Try Tuning Your Guitar With A Capo On?
Well, if you want to, no one will stop you from tuning your guitar with a capo on. However, tuning a guitar with a capo on is not recommended. Though most people try to do it and somehow succeed, this is not the right way to tune your guitar.
This way, you will badly affect the strings of your guitar, but also, you will end up with bad tuning habits, and this is something no guitarist would like.
Whether you know it or not, standard tuning relies on open strings, and tuning your guitar with a capo will never offer the results you get without a capo. Along with it, tuning your strings with a capo will put an extra stretch on the strings, eventually reducing their average life.
So, we will always suggest you tune your guitar without a capo. However, if you are continuously failing to get the right pitch with capo when you are tuning without a capo, then you are good to tune your guitar with a capo on. But, this only goes when you need to adjust the tune depending on the capo.
Tips To Tune In An Electric And Acoustic Guitar With A Capo On
Well, there are certain cases, when you are compelled to tune your guitar with a capo on. In such cases, there is a series of tips that you need to follow. This way, you will be able to tune your guitar perfectly with a capo on. So, follow the tips to tune an electric or an acoustic guitar with a capo-on.
Tune Your Guitar Without A Capo
To tune a guitar with a capo, you first need to tune your guitar with open strings. wIt might sound odd, but this is the best way you will be tuning your guitar with a capo.
When you tune your guitar on open strings, you get the standard tuning of your guitar. Now, you are good to place the capo on it, and you will get the sound you wanted. And, if that doesn’t happen, follow the next step.
Put On The Capo
Once you tune the guitar without a capo, you must first ensure that the guitar’s sound is good. If that’s the case, put on the capo and tune the guitar again with open strings if the sound is not even.
Check The Tuning Of Your Guitar
Once you have tuned your guitar with open strings and the capo has been placed, the next step is checking the pitch of your guitar. It will allow you to know that you need further tuning if you are good at playing. For this, you need to play all six of the strings separately and then play any random chord.
In most cases, the sound is good. But, when you have an old string or high-action guitar, the sound may vary when the capo is on. So, if the capo is on, you need to pull the string and leave it. It will create extra stretch and allow the guitar to produce the desired sound.
Adjust The Tuning As Per Your Needs
Now, if you feel you are not getting the desired sound with the capo on after all of your efforts, this is the time to use your tuning nuts. We guitarists try to avoid this, but when we do not get the desired sound, we use a tuning nut to adjust the pitch with a capo on.
With this method, you will surely be able to set your guitar on the right pitch. So, follow and acknowledge these tips if you want to tune a guitar with a capo without affecting the tuning habits or the life of your strings.
What Happens When You Tune In With A Capo On?
Well, there are certain things that will happen when you tune in with a capo on. First of all, when you tune in with a capo on, you simply destroy the open-string tuning of your guitar.
A guitar is meant to be tuned on open strings; tuning with capo will ruin the open-string tuning. Along with it, tuning in a guitar with a capo will make bad tuning habits that will haunt you in the long run.
Moreover, while tuning in with a capo, you put extra pressure and stretch on your guitar strings, which makes their average life less than ever. But, the best part about tuning a guitar with a capo is that with just a slight movement of the capo, you will be able to change the pitch of your guitar without even touching the tuning nuts.
So, it is clear that tuning a guitar with capo has some bad aspects and a few good ones. So, it’s up to you whether you desire to tune a guitar with or without a capo.
Is It Ok To Tune Your Guitar With A Capo On?
If you want to go higher or lower on your guitar pitch without touching the tuning nuts, surely tuning your guitar with a capo is ok. But, in general, it is never suggested to tune a guitar with a capo on. Guitar strings are not designed to be tuned with a capo on.
When you set a capo on a certain fret, it reduces the size of the string to that particular fret, and when you tune your guitar, the string receives dual pressure due to the pressing of the capo and the pull of tuning nuts. This is what ruins the strings of your guitar. And, when you remove the capo, the tuning is again out as the guitar was tuned for a certain fret with a capo.
Does A Capo Change The Tuning Of Your Guitar?
Yes, it does. A capo has the ability to change the tuning of your guitar without you even touching the tuning nuts. With the help of a capo, you will easily increase or reduce the pitch of your guitar. For one thing, what you need to do is just set the capo on a certain fret and nothing else.
When you affix the capo on a fret, it reduces the size of your bridge, eventually increasing the pitch of your guitar. Now, the closer you go to the bridge, the higher the pitch of the guitar will be. It happens as the capo reduces the size of the strings that will vibrate, eventually reducing the resonance and making the pitch higher.
All in all, a capo helps you to change the tuning of your guitar. But make sure never to use tuning nuts when the capo is on. This might affect your guitar strings badly.
Why Does My Guitar Sound Out Of Tune With A Capo?
If you use a capo and the guitar sounds out of tune, there can be certain reasons behind it. One of the main reasons why your guitar sounds out of tune with a capo is the open string tuning. Most of the time, beginners think that they are supposed to tune the guitar once they have applied the capo. And, things are not like that.
When you want to use a capo, you must tune your guitar on open strings first and then use the capo. This way, you will make your guitar sound good. Along with it, when you have old guitar strings, they might also cause a bad sound even after applying capo.
Old strings are fully stretched and may go out of tune even if you apply minimum pressure on them. So, it is suggested to change your guitar strings if you have not done it in time.
Lastly, high action can also be a reason for out-of-tune guitar with a capo. On a high-action guitar, the capo will have to press the string more than usual, and this might create an extra stretch, making your guitar out of tune. So, check these reasons if your guitar goes out of tune with a capo on.
Must You Use A Capo On An Electric Guitar?
Not necessarily, but if you want to use a capo on an electric guitar, no one will stop you from doing it. An electric guitar has slightly lower action than most acoustic guitars, and this is why most guitarists prefer to play bar chords on electric guitars rather than using a capo.
But, there are cases when you need to lick and bend the strings of your guitar, and this is something you can never do perfectly while playing bar chords. This is the time when we use capo even on our electric guitars.
So, if you have an electric guitar and are thinking of getting a capo, then go for it. You can surely use it. However, make sure never to tune your electric guitar with a capo on. This will affect the strings badly.
To summarize, it is sure that the article is a treasure for those looking to know whether you can tune a guitar with a capo or not. This article highlights every detail about tuning an electric and an acoustic guitar with and without a capo.
Along with it, we have tried to answer some of the highly asked questions about tuning an acoustic and electric guitar with a capo. Lastly, some tips were also shared to help you tune your guitar with a capo. Now, if you need any additional information about the topic, do let us know. We will be there to help you out.