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Sep 28, 2021 - 2:33:05 PM
85 posts since 1/17/2019

I was told do a C capo on fret 2 and that will be a key of D for a particular song.
And I was told G capo on fret 2 becomes an A for another song.

Someone told me this and I don’t get it. Or I misunderstood.

Sep 28, 2021 - 2:36:38 PM

KevinV

USA

28 posts since 10/15/2014

In both cases you're placing the capo up a whole step (2 frets), so it's just as you said. Using the capo as the nut, your same chord shapes will all be a whole step up from the original.

Sep 28, 2021 - 2:50:19 PM

Owen

Canada

9535 posts since 6/5/2011

quote:
Originally posted by stevebsq

I was told do a C capo on fret 2 and that will be a key of D for a particular song.
And I was told G capo on fret 2 becomes an A for another song.
 

As a [perpetual] beginner, given enough time I can grind my way though ^^ this. To me the terms "a C capo," and ""a G capo" are unnecessarily confusing... I only have one capo.   However, I'm hopeful that those terms are simply a form of abbreviated instructions.

Edited by - Owen on 09/28/2021 14:52:02

Sep 28, 2021 - 2:50:30 PM

85 posts since 1/17/2019

I understand that since the banjo is an open G and you put the capo up two frets it is now an A, but how can that same fret placement start as a C ?

My mind is mush.

Sep 28, 2021 - 2:57:21 PM
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KevinV

USA

28 posts since 10/15/2014

It could either be they were referring to open C tuning would then be open D with a capo at the 2nd fret, or that a C chord would be a D chord in open G tuning when you capo at the 2nd fret.

Sep 28, 2021 - 3:03:50 PM

6264 posts since 10/13/2007

Capo at 2 and act like you are playing in the key of C at the nut (1=C, 4=F, 5=G) and you will actually be playing the 1 ,4, 5 cords in the Key of D. Or you could capo at 7 and actually be playing in D.


ken

Edited by - From Greylock to Bean Blossom on 09/28/2021 15:04:35

Sep 28, 2021 - 3:06:37 PM

85 posts since 1/17/2019

Still no comprende

So if
No fret = open G
Capo on 2nd fret is now “open A”

So how can they call the same capo placement a C fret 2 the same as an open D.

Sep 28, 2021 - 3:14:43 PM

443 posts since 3/26/2009

I think maybe whatever you are looking at is notated for different tunings?

My favorite tuning is double C, so capo on the second fret would be D tuning.

Standard, or open G tuning, capo on 2 would be open A.

 

 

*edit.  Kevin said the same thing, sorry I missed that.

Edited by - steveh_2o on 09/28/2021 15:16:30

Sep 28, 2021 - 3:19:50 PM

KevinV

USA

28 posts since 10/15/2014

"So how can they call the same capo placement a C fret 2 the same as an open D."

This would be the case if you're in Open C tuning. Don't think about Open G tuning chords now, an open strum in Open C will be a C chord, so a capo at the second fret would produce a D chord when strummed open. The rest of the chord shapes will be different from that of Open G chord shapes as well.

Sep 28, 2021 - 3:48:49 PM

85 posts since 1/17/2019

I know I am belaboring this,

You say when the capo on 2 fret and strum it results in D chord.

So where does the the capo on fret 2 go from G to A come in?

I am missing the forest through the trees.

Sep 28, 2021 - 4:11:14 PM
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blazo

USA

312 posts since 5/16/2017

Steve -- if you are in G tuning (gDGBd) and capo at fret 2, you will change the tuning to A (aEAC#e). If you are in C (gCGCd) tuning and capo at 2, you change the tuning to D (aDADe).

Sep 28, 2021 - 4:22:02 PM

Owen

Canada

9535 posts since 6/5/2011

Can Steve's questions both apply to open G tuning?

Does "a C capo at the second fret" mean "put the capo at the second fret and fret in the key of C.... i.e. 1=C/4=F/5=G"?   The chords/sounds produced would be up a whole step... equivalent to the key of D.... 1=D/4=G/5=A. No?

Does  "a G capo at the second fret" mean "put the capo at the second fret and fret in the key of G... i.e. 1=open G/4=C/5=D"?  The chords/sounds produced would then be up a whole step.... equivalent to the key of A..... 1=A/4=D/5=E.  No?

....of course, my ^^ "guessing" could very well be w-a-y out in left field.... in which case I'm probably more confused than Steve is.

Edited by - Owen on 09/28/2021 16:26:25

Sep 28, 2021 - 4:53:32 PM
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234 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by stevebsq

I know I am belaboring this,

You say when the capo on 2 fret and strum it results in D chord.

So where does the the capo on fret 2 go from G to A come in?

I am missing the forest through the trees.


Steve its really this simple...what ever chord shape your holding, if you capo 2 you just count up 2 half steps and thats the actual chord your holding. If capoed 3 and your holding a C chord shape what is the actual chord? Easy...just count up 3 half steps UP from C right? It's E flat. But if capoed at 3 still and you hold a G shape what is the actual chord? Remember..count 3 half steps UP from G. Bingo! B flat. Another way to say it is grab any chord SHAPE when capoed and the number of fret the capo is on count UP halfsteps from the SHAPE your holding and that gives you the ACTUAL chord and normally if thats your first chord of the song thats the key your in. No harder than that. Its musical alphabet and counting halfsteps. Good luck! And when i say SHAPE im not referring to the D and F shape movable chords necessarily so hopefully that doesnt confuse you. Concentrate on the C and G chord shapes first and it will start making sense.

Edited by - brententz on 09/28/2021 17:03:47

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:07:20 PM
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85 posts since 1/17/2019

Blazo wrote:
Steve -- if you are in G tuning (gDGBd) and capo at fret 2, you will change the tuning to A (aEAC#e). If you are in C (gCGCd) tuning and capo at 2, you change the tuning to D (aDADe).

So I think I see the missing link...To get to C tuning I must first manually tune the strings to
(gCGCd) then when I apply the capo on 2nd fret I’m at D.

The manually changing strings to C got me.

Am I correct?

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:23:43 PM
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805 posts since 10/4/2018

All of the shapes will be relative to the capo. In the open position you probably play some songs in the key of C which include the chords C, F and G7. When you play these songs the same way, but with a capo on, you are really playing in the key of D using the shapes you would in C if the capo were off. If you retune your 4th string to drop C you will be  in drop D tuning with a capo on. You don't need to retune to play in C or D (with capo) though.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 09/28/2021 17:31:36

Sep 28, 2021 - 5:29:09 PM
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1221 posts since 1/25/2017
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Anyone who intends to play the banjo, or any other instrument except cowbell, needs to learn the basics of how music works. Rather than thrashing around on here I would suggest locating a elementary school music text book, or head down to the library.

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:35:29 PM

85 posts since 1/17/2019

Well that was nice.

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:39 PM
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110 posts since 7/22/2012

I made this in a hurry when I saw the confusion on here. I did not say everything correctly but if you watch it a few times, it may help. I will remove the video one of these days.

(The bottom line is, from standard G tuning, capo at 2 and pretend you are playing in the key of C and you will be playing in the key of D.)

youtube.com/watch?v=irbz7tqDyVY

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:50:02 PM

Owen

Canada

9535 posts since 6/5/2011

Simon, an elementary text is all well and good, but when questions arise, and you can bet your farm they will, would I be better off getting answers/clarification from an in-person teacher or asking on BHO?  wink

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:53:07 PM
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12263 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by stevebsq

Blazo wrote:
Steve -- if you are in G tuning (gDGBd) and capo at fret 2, you will change the tuning to A (aEAC#e). If you are in C (gCGCd) tuning and capo at 2, you change the tuning to D (aDADe).

So I think I see the missing link...To get to C tuning I must first manually tune the strings to
(gCGCd) then when I apply the capo on 2nd fret I’m at D.

The manually changing strings to C got me.

Am I correct?


You are correct as far as how a capo alters the effective tuning of an instrument.

But changing from G tuning to C tuning is not the only way to play in the key of C. And, therefore, capoing C tuning at the second fret is not the only way to play in the key of D.

More important, I think you're confusing tuning with key. They are not the same thing. They are totally different.  You can play songs in any key in any tuning on the banjo.  Some tunings will make that difficult. But not impossible, because notes are notes. In practice, not all tunings make sense for all keys, but the point remains: tuning and key are not the same thing. More on that later.

But back to the issue at hand.

Your banjo is in G tuning:  gDGBD.  You already understand that. And you already understand that for some reason putting the capo at 2nd fret gives you A.

But let's talk about this a little to (try to) clarify what's going on -- and then relate that to capo at 2nd fret also being a pathway to D.

I apologize in advance if you know some of what follows. And I hope my attempt at explaining is taken in the spirit it's offered.

If you play a bluegrass song in the key of G, most of the time it will need only three chords:  G, C and D.  We assume you know how to make those shapes.

First question: In open G tuning, how do you play an A Major chord?  One way is to bar or fret all 4 long strings at 2nd fret, so the notes you're playing are E-A-C#-E (a second inversion A Major chord).

NOW -- what happens if you put a capo on the second fret? How do you play an A Major chord?  You just strum all the full length strings OPEN because the capo is already fretting them at the 2nd fret for you. (From your previous posts, this is something I think you already understand)

And what happens if you play a key of G song you know?  You make the G, C and D chord shapes as you always do, except the capo at 2nd fret has become the new nut, raising all your chords two frets (one whole step) and makes the G, C and D chords SOUND as A, D and E: the one, four, five chords of the key of A.  We're assuming you've also capoed the 5th string up 2 frets to 7 so that the tuning is consistent.

Again, not only does your open G chord become an A chord (two frets higher), but the C shape chord you make at 2-0-1-2 (relative to the capo) becomes an actual D chord, because the actual frets being played are 4-2-3-4. Count up from the real nut and see for yourself.  Likewise, the D chord shape moves up two frets to become an E. But I said that already.

This means that with the capo at 2 (and 5th string capoed at 7) you can play songs in the key of A as if you're playing in G.

OK. So where does second fret = D come from? 

To get there, take the capo off again.  

Remember, I said above you can play in any key in any tuning? How do you play a song in the key of C in open G tuning?  If it's a standard/simple bluegrass song, most of the time you'll play it using C, F and G chords.   If you play a song using those chords and you treat C as the one, F as the four and G as the five, you're in the key of C.  But your banjo is still in G tuning, because tuning and key are not the same thing.

NOW -- put the capo back on the second fret and spike or capo the 5th string at 7 and play that same C-F-G key of C song.  The same thing that happened to your key of G song capoed two is going to happen to your key of C song capoed 2.  Treating the capo as the new nut, you're playing that song as if you're in the key of C -- with its C, F and G chord shapes -- but the capo is making it SOUND two frets higher:  Which is D.  Your chords are sounding as D, G and A.

You're still in G tuning. All you've done is put on a capo.

This is not the only way to play in the key of D. Just as it's possible to play in the key of C in G tuning, it's also possible, and done all the time, to play in the key of D in standard G tuning with no capo. 

There are valid musical reasons to play in the key of D by changing to C tuning and capoing 2 -- having the low D note on 4th string, for example. But I hope I've helped you see why capo at 2 giving you D does not require first tuning the banjo to C.

Or have I confused you even more?

Sep 28, 2021 - 6:56:04 PM
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12263 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Banjfoot

I made this in a hurry when I saw the confusion on here. I did not say everything correctly but if you watch it a few times, it may help. I will remove the video one of these days.

(The bottom line is, from standard G tuning, capo at 2 and pretend you are playing in the key of C and you will be playing in the key of D.)

youtube.com/watch?v=irbz7tqDyVY


Excellent.

While I was offline writing my lecture, you posted your simple video demonstrating what I used a lot of words to describe.

Good job.

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:11:56 PM
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85 posts since 1/17/2019

Thank you for kindly taking the time to explain this and demonstrate via video. Responses were on point and better than an elementary music book!

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:13:23 PM
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110 posts since 7/22/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Banjfoot

I made this in a hurry when I saw the confusion on here. I did not say everything correctly but if you watch it a few times, it may help. I will remove the video one of these days.

(The bottom line is, from standard G tuning, capo at 2 and pretend you are playing in the key of C and you will be playing in the key of D.)

youtube.com/watch?v=irbz7tqDyVY


Excellent.

While I was offline writing my lecture, you posted your simple video demonstrating what I used a lot of words to describe.

Good job.


Maybe with the combination of your written post and the quick video, we will have helped. Hope so!

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:16:45 PM
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72 posts since 5/8/2021

quote:
Originally posted by stevebsq

Well that was nice.


Maybe SimonSlick could have been a little less blunt, but he is 100 percent correct in what he said. It doesn't take more than a week to get an understanding of basic music theory. 

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:39:55 PM
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banjoy

USA

9849 posts since 7/1/2006

I too made a video when this topic came up before, again and again and again. My video is permanent.

Relationship of Capo to Key

I hope this helps.

Edited by - banjoy on 09/28/2021 19:41:31

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:01:16 PM
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12263 posts since 6/2/2008

And John Boulding's 3-part lesson on Understanding the Capo  from his Lick of the Week videos.

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