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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Capo in banjo tablature


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/370761

TablEdit - Posted - 12/07/2020:  02:38:23


Hi,

I would like to ask a question about the representation of capoes in a banjo tablature.

Indeed I have not yet found a satisfactory system that takes into account the 5th string.

When the capoes are "aligned", for example 2 on the first 4 strings and 7 on the 5th string, we can apply more or less the same system as for the guitar: the fret numbers don't change but the notes are increased by the value of both capoes (2 semi-tones).

On the other hand, if the capoes are not aligned, the tablature representation does not correspond to what is played on the neck.

We can see this with a complete barre at the 6th fret with a capo on fret 2 on the first 4 strings. TablEdit will display:

4
4
4
4
6

Recently, I tried to get TablEdit to display:

4
4
4
4
4

But it doesn't make sense. The 4 is just impossible of the 5th string.

So I wonder if the following presentation would not be preferable in all cases:

6
6
6
6
6

In other words, in a banjo tablature, TablEdit would always display the physical fret number and there would be no need to take into account the capo value to calculate the note to be played or displayed.

This would be a huge simplification.

What do you think?

Matthieu

stanleytone - Posted - 12/07/2020:  03:20:35


Man i need coffee before tackle this!

dbrooks - Posted - 12/07/2020:  04:22:31


Your examples are difficult to follow, but I think I understand your question. I think numbering the frets treating the capo as the nut is the best approach. When the 5th string is adjusted differently than the lower 4 strings, showing the tuning seems to address the issue. For example, the alternate G tuning, gEADE, tells the user to leave the 5th string alone and either tune the lower 4 strings up to EADE or place a capo on the lower 4 strings raising them from DGBD to EADE. This is a simple example, but I think other tunings would use this approach effectively.



While there are no doubt quite a few people who fret the 5th string, their skill level also lets them navigate the various capo and tuning arrangements with little trouble. Less experienced players would likely struggle to use the approach you suggest.



I will be interessted to read what others say.



David

Texasbanjo - Posted - 12/07/2020:  04:53:04


I'd leave it as it is. People are used to the fact that the 5th string fret isn't correctly noted when the rest are capoed and beginners will figure that out fairly quickly. So...... if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I think it would actually confuse people.

Just my 2cents, for what it's worth.

banjoy - Posted - 12/07/2020:  06:19:43


(If I understand the questions posed...) I tend to agree that the assigned tuning and treating the capo as the nut is probably the best approach and takes care of itself....?

I would ask Matthieu, how is this same issue addressed on guitars when using a split capo? Does that present the same issue?

RB3 - Posted - 12/07/2020:  07:43:02


The purposes for which I use tablature (Tabledit v3.0 a2f) don't involve the specification of a capo, so, never having used it, I had to search through the menu system to find the capo feature. The current system seems to me to be rather peculiar. I've been playing banjo and using both hand written and computer based tablature for a long time. I think that if I were a beginner with no tablature or musical experience, I would find the current capo feature to be rather confusing.

Since I had never used the capo feature, I experimented with it to see how it worked. I used it to change the key from G to A for one of my arrangements in open G tuning (Capo = 2, Capo 5=7). I discovered that the fret number designations for the 5th string changed, but the fret number designations for strings 1,2, 3 and 4 did not change. If I were a beginning tablature user, I think I might be very confused by that inconsistency. When I made the change using the capo feature, I noticed that an additional screen display appeared that indicated the use of a capo. However, when I looked at the "print preview" there was nothing to indicate that a capo was to be used, but the fret number designations on the 5th string had changed. That seems confusing.

I think that it would make more sense to have a system that would specify the "absolute" fret number designations that would result from the use of a capo. If capoed at the 2nd fret (Capo=2), an open 1, 2, 3 or 4 string would have a fret number designation of 2 instead of 0. If the 5th string was capoed at the 7th fret (Capo 5=7), the fret number designation for the open 5th string would be 7 instead of -2.

It might also be helpful to include in the "Instrument" menu drop down window an additional display that would identify the actual note value of each capoed string that results from the use of the capo feature.

janolov - Posted - 12/07/2020:  09:50:34


I have had some problems when opening old tabs where I have used the capo function: the fifth string often show a "-2". I don't know why?



I use the capo a lot for the top four strings. The capo is usually on the second fret to play in D, A or A modal when tuned to double C, "standard" G and G modal / sawmill. Sometimes I use a fifth string capo, sometimes I use a spike and sometimes I tune the fifth string up the high A. In each of these cases I want the fifth string, unfretted, be shown as a 0 in the tab.



I usually don't fret the fifth string, but I have a few licks, where I fret it with the thumb, and then I prefer that TablEdit show the real position, counted from the real nut (of the four strings). A "7" on the fifth string should mean the equivalent position as the rest of the strings, independent how the fifth string is capoed or spiked or how the fifth string is tuned.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 12/07/2020:  11:34:44


Actually, if you figure the 5th string pip is the beginning nut, if you will, of that string, then capo 2 fits just fine for the key of A . You'd write capo 2 for A, capo 5th string up 2. And it still works for capoing on up to B, Bb and C. It would also work if you're capoing up and using the C, F, G chords or capoing up and using the D, G, A chords. That's the way I've always done it and thought about it. Maybe others don't think that way.

TablEdit - Posted - 12/07/2020:  13:31:16


@RB3: I'm afraid you tried with the last version that was buggy. The capo of strings 1 to 4 changed the display of fretted notes on the 5th string
I just updated all programs to version 3.00 b0c.
The 5th string is handled again as before: Namely, the capo of strings 1 to 4 has no effect on the 5th string display. The capo of the 5th string has no effect except for the tab entry. It is the physical fret number that is displayed.
It is this system that I considered applying to the first 4 strings.

jojonas - Posted - 12/07/2020:  16:13:55


Hello there.
From France too, so, please, be nice with my accent...
I would prefer to read the real neck position of the finger to note that string. To me it would be really confusing to read a number 2 on the fifth string when fretted at the seventh fret. I'm not talking about using a capo or not, but it's just the same thing: if we fret that string at the seventh fret, we should be reading a 7 number no?
Thanks for being so patient with us.
Georges

Don Borchelt - Posted - 12/11/2020:  05:51:17


I am going to be 70 on Monday. I'm too old to learn something new, like recognizing that a 2 is actually a zero, so assuming Matthieu is going to listen to these youngsters like Clyburn, this boomer is going to stick to the version I'm using now (v2.78 b2e), and not upgrade before I die. Problem solved.



- Don


Edited by - Don Borchelt on 12/11/2020 05:53:32

jojonas - Posted - 12/11/2020:  08:26:40


Hi Don. Nice to hear from you. I'm Georges a French guy you met while I was in your country, back in the seventies. I still play some tunes I learned from your little yellow booklet.

RB3 - Posted - 12/11/2020:  08:30:44


Who are you calling a "youngster"? You were still just a gleam in your father's eye when I was graduating from kindergarten!

Bart Veerman - Posted - 12/11/2020:  22:15:06


I'm not sure about other players, but I never barre all five strings. In your example: 66666 then, of course, the 5th string will sound out of tune UNLESS the banjo is tuned in another tuning than the standard G tuning - it wouldn't be impossible that someone uses a non-standard tuning that makes it possible to play a fully barred 66666 chord.



To me, when I capo +2 then all strings will be +2, counted starting from the nuts, both the regular AND the 5th string one. In the case of the 5th string nut, it means the physical/actual 7th fret (counted from the nut) on the fretboard. Most tabs I've seen, and written myself, seem to be "standard" in that way. One notable exception is Jim Smoak's banjo book where he tells people to put the capo at the second, or whichever, fret and then tabs the notes on the physical/actual fret numbers. To me, that was hugely confusing.



If it helps, here are some common, and some far-out banjo tunings that may, or may not, give you some clues.



It's totally admirable that you take us banjoeys seriously and try to accommodate us - many thanks for that - but, to me, your question a moot point.

Don Borchelt - Posted - 12/12/2020:  08:28:37


jojonas wrote: "Hi Don. Nice to hear from you. I'm Georges a French guy you met while I was in your country, back in the seventies."



Oh, I remember you well, Georges, it's the people I met yesterday that I am having trouble remembering. Besides liking banjo, you also liked fast cars! I'm glad to see you're still picking the banjo.



RB3 wrote: "Who are you calling a "youngster"? You were still just a gleam in your father's eye when I was graduating from kindergarten!"



I remember you, too, Wayne, and I remember trying out that sweet all original flathead you shelled out 10K for a half century ago. You mean you're not 25 anymore?



I hope you are both well, and taking all the necessary precautions in these times of pandemic. Ponce De Leon was wasting his time, the banjo is the closest thing anyone will ever come to the Fountain of Youth. It may not make us young again, but when we are really in the groove, it will fool us for a brief moment into feeling like we are.



- Don


Edited by - Don Borchelt on 12/12/2020 08:29:28

jojonas - Posted - 12/12/2020:  09:42:56


@Don Borchelt
Glad to hear that you are still on the track. Well, here, on my boat that pandemic time doesn't make any difference. I go onshore once in a while, no change... Yes I still pick my banjo, since I have time, and I'm still learning new tunes. Mostly arrangements I make up out of piano(ragtime). This is a virus, a lot stronger than covid, and I am living with it since such a long time, that I forgot how it feels being "sane" I guess my son will bury me with my banjo... by the way, I don't play anymore with fast cars,i am to old now(72)
Happy birthday.
Take care.
Georges

Jack Baker - Posted - 12/12/2020:  12:50:34


Hi Matthieu,


Tabledit has always worked great for me. As long as I keep it updated, all goes well. How are you my friend....Jack




Originally posted by TablEdit

@RB3: I'm afraid you tried with the last version that was buggy. The capo of strings 1 to 4 changed the display of fretted notes on the 5th string

I just updated all programs to version 3.00 b0c.

The 5th string is handled again as before: Namely, the capo of strings 1 to 4 has no effect on the 5th string display. The capo of the 5th string has no effect except for the tab entry. It is the physical fret number that is displayed.

It is this system that I considered applying to the first 4 strings.






 

jojonas - Posted - 12/12/2020:  13:31:53


Good work Matthieu, thanks.

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