Beginner’s Guide to Using a Guitar Capo Chart

Published Categorized as Guitar lessons, Other Lessons and Tips

When you first buy a guitar, you will likely get all of the tools you need. Most even come with a capo, a device that allows you to find the perfect pitch for the songs you play. Most experienced guitar players know the value of this product.

Beginners may not fully understand the value of using a capo, and that is where a guide can help. Charts can help any guitar player determine the capo placement they need to reach the right note. Consider the information below to learn more about this valuable resource.

What is a Capo Chart?

If you are new to using this product, a guitar capo chart can help with your guitar playing. The guide provides detailed information on the new pitches you can reach, each sound coming from the fret you clamp. Each root note has different chords with varying locations of the capo on the guitar neck.

A full capo chart describes how a guitar capo works if you want a more literal definition. It, as mentioned, lists the notes you will play and where you will place the device. It helps many songwriters develop a key change, and many cover artists change the pitch of a song.

There are alternative guides if you want to change the pitch uniquely. These include the Drop D chart, as is common in rock music. The half step is another popular option that allows musicians to perform in a lower key without completely changing their strings.

A guitar capo guide is available in digital and paper format. You can design it yourself, or download it from a trusted online expert on guitars. You can check out this alternate guitar tuning chart to start with if you are a beginner. You want to ensure that the information you will use is accurate.

How do You Read a Capo Chart?

When you first see a capo guide, you may feel overwhelmed. These letters and numbers may not make any sense to you in their organization.

As mentioned, the chart describes how standard pitches change after a capo is on a specific fret. The information on each row describes how single notes change. The vertical columns show the new notes created after you clamp your capo to any particular place on the neck.

If you choose to make your capo chart, you can rest assured that it will not need changes once perfected. Musical notes do not change over time. Plus, you will become better at recognizing pitches and memorizing where to put your capo for specific sounds.

Do not feel ashamed, however, if you need to reference your chart when learning. You cannot expect yourself to memorize every note and transposition, especially when you recently started learning guitar. Consider that you will continue to grow in your skills as you continue practicing with your capo guide.

How does a Capo Chart Work?

Start by strumming the strings that correlate to the notes that a song typically requires. Determine if the music would allow you to make slight changes and remember the original pitches. Reference these when you first look at your guitar chords capo chart.

Look for the original notes you played on the guide. Look to see the pitches you could reach by using a capo. Play any you may want to hear on your guitar to get an idea of the sound you enjoy and want to go after.

When you find a pitch you like, look back at your chart for the capo positions on guitar necks you need. Clamp down your device over the fret that the guide lists for the new note you want to create. Strum the original strings, seeing if you achieved the pitch you wanted.

If the notes are not quite right, make changes as necessary. Move your capo to other frets if you desire, seeing if another pitch sounds better. Continue making adjustments until you find the perfect sound you want for the song you want to create or cover.

Should a Beginner Use a Capo?

Beginner’s Guide to Using a Guitar Capo Chart_Six Strings Acoustics

If you are a beginner guitar player, you may wonder if you need to use one of these products. Capo chords have the potential of making your learning process less stressful, however. You will have fewer chords to memorize because you can move the clamp to the differing frets on the chart.

If your goal is to become a songwriter, a capo is a beneficial product for you too. The simple process of attaching a clamp to a fret can make any song sound completely different. It can make you, as a beginner, sound like an innovative and creative songwriter.

Capos also allow you, as a beginner, to write a song for a specific person’s voice. Many singers will need the music in a higher or lower key. This instance may occur more often if you and your band perform cover songs. A capo makes this task easier without having to rearrange and uproot the song.

Finally, a capo can make playing the guitar itself less painful. Some beginners give up learning the instrument after the pain their fingers may feel. There is less pressure associated with strumming, and your left hand will not have muscular strain. Some guitar players choose to use barre chords when a capo is on the neck.

Does a capo Transpose Up or Down?

If you do not understand the transpose chords chart, you will not realize that a capo pulls open notes up.

Capo Chart

The below information involves a standard tuning. It is best if you are a beginner who recently started to learn how to use a capo chart. As you move the capo, the key will become higher. It goes up a half-step in totality.

You can make songs lower with a capo, however. This process would make the new chords sharp or flat, however, in some instances. Do prepare yourself for that result. You will move the clamp down the neck for this type of change. Most changes in this regard lower your pitch by one whole step.

Again, do realize that open keys technically cannot go lower. You change the key to a different pitch, meaning the singer has the right to perform in an octave lower. It may be better, if you want to completely deepen the notes, to transpose the entire song into a different key.


  • Fret 1: C#/Db
  • Fret 2: D
  • Fret 3: D#/Eb
  • Fret 4: E
  • Fret 5: F
  • Fret 6: F#/Gb
  • Fret 7: G


  • Fret 1: D#/Eb
  • Fret 2: E
  • Fret 3: F
  • Fret 4: F#/Gb
  • Fret 5: G
  • Fret 6: G#/Ab
  • Fret 7: A


  • Fret 1: F
  • Fret 2: F#/Gb
  • Fret 3: G
  • Fret 4: G#/Ab
  • Fret 5: A
  • Fret 6: A#/Bb
  • Fret 7: B


  • Fret 1: F#/Gb
  • Fret 2: G
  • Fret 3: G#/Ab
  • Fret 4: A
  • Fret 5: A#/Bb
  • Fret 6: B
  • Fret 7: C


  • Fret 1: G#/Ab
  • Fret 2: A
  • Fret 3: A#/Bb
  • Fret 4: B
  • Fret 5: C
  • Fret 6: C#/Db
  • Fret 7: D


  • Fret 1: A#/Bb
  • Fret 2: B
  • Fret 3: C
  • Fret 4: C#/Db
  • Fret 5: D
  • Fret 6: D#/Eb
  • Fret 7: E


  • Fret 1: C
  • Fret 2: C#/Db
  • Fret 3: D
  • Fret 4: D#/Eb
  • Fret 5: E
  • Fret 6: F
  • Fret 7: F#/Gb

Transpose with Help of the Capo

Beginner’s Guide to Using a Guitar Capo Chart_Six Strings Acoustics

As mentioned, the purpose behind a guitar chord transposition chart and capo is to change the notes used in a song with ease. Ultimately, you want to stay in pitch, ensuring that you match the sound that the rest of the band uses. There are some basic rules regarding the transposition process.

First, you have to match the number of frets you moved the capo up. After, transpose your guitar chords with capo devices still on the neck down. You will want to cover the same number of semitones as you moved down frets.

If your capo is on the first fret, for instance, it should move down one semitone. If it is on the third, move down three semitones.

You also will need to transpose every other chord that exists in your song in the same manner. This process ensures that they are all on the same pitch. Again, move each alternative chord to the same number of semitones as the original.

Though this process seems complicated right now, especially if you are a beginner, it will become simpler with more practice. When you use a capo and transpose your chords, the information will become as commonplace to you as strumming the strings. Plus, these steps will help you create beautiful pieces of music.


A capo is a beneficial tool whether you are a beginner or an expert guitar player. A capo chord chart can help you more easily recognize the fret you need to clamp for the sound you want to create.

The goal of using a capo, therefore, is to change the pitch. It is to match the key to a singer’s voice or the tone you want to create. You can also transpose a song utilizing this tool, however.

Create a chart that makes sense for you when learning to use a capo for your guitar. If you do not feel comfortable making one, look for a high-quality option that is simple to understand when you are a beginner.

FAQs Capo Chart

What key is capo’s 3rd fret?

Though a capo on the 3rd fret can be used for almost any key, it is typically used to raise the base pitches of standard tuning up 3 frets. In this way, the 5 chords in the CAGED system are ascended by 3 degrees, theoretically making the guitarist’s work a little easier and allowing them to use open chords to accompany themselves rather than having to fiddle around finding the right barre chord. On the 3rd fret, this would turn an E chord into a G chord, an A chord into a C chord, a D chord into an F chord, a C chord into an Eb chord, and a G chord into a Bb chord.

What key is capo’s 1st fret?

You can still play any key when the capo is on the 1st fret, though placing a capo in this position will typically be of use to guitarists wanting to make their work easier by allowing them to transpose their guitar up so that they can easily accompany themselves with open chords rather than fiddling around for the right barre chord. In the instance of placing a capo on the 1st fret, a C chord will become a C# chord, an A chord will become a Bb chord, a G chord will become an Ab chord, an E chord will become an F chord, and a D chord will become an Eb chord.

What key is a capo on 4th fret?

Though you can still easily play in any key when you place the capo on the 4th fret, such a maneuver is more often associated with a guitarist who is seeking to make the navigation of a song easier by transposing the instrument in such a way that it allows them to easily play it in open chords without needing to fiddle around finding the right barre chord and such. In the instance of placing the capo on the 4th fret, a C chord will become an E chord, an A chord will become a C# chord, a G chord will become a B chord, an E chord will become an Ab chord, and a D chord will become an F# chord.

What capo is C to G?

If you are wanting to transpose the open chord of C into a G via the modulational magic of a capo, then you are going to want to place the capo on the 7th fret. In this way, when you play a C chord using the capo as the new lowest point of the neck, then you will be playing all of the notes of a G chord while still using the same shape that would have sounded out a C chord in standard tuning without the capo.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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