Can You Use A Capo On An Electric Guitar? Everything You Need to Know

by John Sanderson
Can You Use A Capo On An Electric Guitar

A capo is a device that can be attached to the neck of a guitar to change the key of the instrument. It can be used on acoustic or electric guitars and can be helpful in transposing songs to a new key or for playing chords that would otherwise be difficult to reach. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about using a capo on an electric guitar!

Can You Use a Capo on an Electric Guitar?

Yes, you can use a capo on an electric guitar. A capo is a clamp-like device that is used to change the pitch of a stringed instrument. It is placed around the neck of the instrument, and then the strings are pressed against the fretboard using the capo’s clamps. This raises the pitch of the strings, which makes it possible to play songs in different keys without having to re-tune the strings.

What Is A Capo And What Does It Do?

A capo is a device that goes on the neck of a stringed instrument. It changes the notes that are being played by shortening the effective length of the strings.

There are different types available, but most have some form of the spring-loaded clamp to allow fast and easy changing between different keys.

The capo was originally used as an aid for old fretless instruments such as the lute. As today’s guitars have steel or bronze strings, they are usually fitted with more modern versions of this tool, which resemble a barre placed across several guitar frets. This allows you to play in virtually any key without having to use separate fingerings for chords or scales built on each individual note of that key. The result is similar to that obtained with a piano or keyboard, where all notes are ‘black’.

How Do You Use A Capo On An Electric Guitar?

1. Attach the Capo Onto Your Guitar

To attach your capo onto your guitar first find the 1st fret of your guitar’s neck and then place your capo there. Make sure that when you put it on, it holds all six strings down without muting them (the strings should not be able to move at all.) If your strings are muted or if they can still move around then adjust accordingly. You may need to readjust after every use depending on how much tension is in the strings.

2. Apply Pressure to Your Strings

Once you have your capo on and it is holding down all six strings then you’ll need to add the pressure of pushing down on each and every string (you can do this with either hand.) This will help remember the note that every fret represents since they are all in unison at this point. If using a specific chord shape is too difficult for you, try bending the notes instead by lightly pressing them against the fretboard (make sure not to break any strings.)

3. Find The Right Fret, To Begin With

Before you begin playing, find out what note or chord your guitar begins with when played open without pressing any frets. Once you find that note make a mental or physical image of which fret this is and start playing there (If you strum without pressing any frets and play the same note on every single string, your guitar will be in an open tuning.) This step is vital because if you press the wrong fret it will sound extremely off-key.

4. Visualize And Memorize Chord Shapes

After getting started at the correct starting point of where your chord begins then you’ll need to start memorizing chord shapes. To do this visualize each shape as you see them on sheet music for reference, not what they physically look like on your guitar neck. Try learning songs by memory instead of using tablature since most people can read sheet music better than tablature. Also, try to visualize all of your chord shapes as they move up and down the neck instead of just staying in one place.

5. Practice Makes Perfect

To become better at using a capo you must practice it day after day to improve your memorization skills with both chord shapes and fret locations. If you don’t use it then you will lose that skill over time so keep practicing! You can also apply this same method for other instruments by replacing the word guitar with whatever instrument you are trying to learn (e.g., trumpet, viola, etc.) Good luck with applying this method to other musical instruments!

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Capo On An Electric Guitar?

1. The first benefit of using a capo is to make your electric guitar more easily heard by other musicians/listeners. For example, if you are playing an open A chord (which would be played like this: X00232), and you place a capo on the 3rd fret, the chord will sound like this: X02100. This higher note will help distinguish itself from other low-sounding notes around it, for instance, it would be easier for another musician or listener to discern that particular chord from the rest.

If you are performing live, this benefit can ultimately save your butt if your band doesn’t have a bass player. The capo allows you to create the illusion of having a bass player (or other lower-pitched instruments) by changing the register of certain notes on your electric guitar.

2. The second benefit is that it makes changing key signatures much easier. Instead of playing all those low notes, one fret at a time, you can simply pop up the capo for each song that has a different key signature!

3. A third benefit to using a capo is that it encourages experimentation with note selection and rhythm. Instead of defaulting to open chords, try moving your capo around to see what happens when you play different chord shapes. Experiment with what notes sound best in your song, but keep in mind that you are limited to the pitches that are allowed at that particular fret.

4. The fourth benefit is that it can help you figure out which chords work well together. Let’s say you aren’t sure if using a B major chord would fit nicely with an A major chord or not. Because of the limitations of one capo, all you have to do is move the capo around until both chords sound good over top of each other!

5. The fifth and final benefit is related to number four but also involves knowing which scales/modes will work well with certain chords. All min 6-note modes are accessible through the use of the capo, so long as it is between fret 1-5. For example, if you place your capo in the 4th position (so that E is the lowest note), you can play all 6 notes in A harmonic minor because they will be in order from lowest to highest: A B C D E F# G.


While it’s not impossible to use a capo on an electric guitar, it can be difficult. If you want to try using a capo on your electric guitar, experiment with different positions and see what works best for you. With a little practice, you may find that using a capo can add some versatility to your playing. Have you ever used a capo on your electric guitar? What tips would you share with other players?


Does it change the sound of the instrument when you use a capo?

Yes, it definitely changes the sound of an instrument when you use a capo! The pitch of the instrument is raised by however many semitones the capo moves up the fretboard. For example, if you put a capo on the second fret, the pitch of the instrument will be raised by two semitones. This is because when you place a capo on a string, you are effectively shortening that string’s length.

How do you choose which key to play in when you’re using a capo?

You can use any key you want when you’re using a capo. For example, if you wanted to play a song in the key of D with a capo on the 2nd fret, you could use the keys of D, E, F#, or G. It just depends on what’s comfortable for you.

Can you still use distortion and other effects pedals when you have a capo on your guitar?

There is no definitive answer, as it depends on the pedal and the capo. Most pedals will be fine, but there may be some that are sensitive to the change in pitch caused by the capo and will not sound right. If you’re not sure, it’s best to experiment with a few different pedals to see which ones work and which ones don’t.

You may also like

Leave a Comment