Can You Use a Capo On An Electric Guitar?

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Guitar capos can be useful, as a tool to clamp down guitar strings, to make playing the guitar easier because you can play different strings in an open chord. That’s why many guitar players like to use a capo when they are playing guitar.

It is common to see capo being used with acoustic guitars, but what about electric ones? Can you use a capo on an electric guitar? In this article, we answer these questions and give you more information about the use of the capo, so continue reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Even though using a capo is more common on acoustic and classical guitars, it can also be used on electric guitars.
  • A capo is a small clamp-like guitar device that can shorten the strings and raise the pitch so it makes playing easier, but it can also be used to create brighter sounds.
  • Playing barre chords is already easy on an electric guitar so a capo is not so necessary, but it is recommended for beginners.
  • Using a capo on an electric guitar may be useful for creating new sounds.
  • A capo is easy to apply and remove, but there are some things you should pay attention to in order to avoid guitar damage.

Can you use a capo on an electric guitar?

Yes, even though capos are mostly used with acoustic and classical guitars, they can still be used with an electric guitar as well.

Acoustic guitars find more use in the capo to make playing chords easier and create new tones, but electric guitars might as well find creative use in the capo. A capo might not be so needed with an electric guitar because of the way electric guitars produce sound and their easy playability, but some guitar players still like to use it.

In the following paragraphs, we provide more details on the use of the capo and especially the way it is used on an electric guitar.

What is the use of a capo?

A capo is a small guitar piece of equipment that works like a clamp that you can put on the neck of your guitar. It is a device similar to the nut which is important for the playability and the tuning of the guitar strings.

The capo is able to, in a way, shorten the strings so it changes the pitch. Basically, it makes the space you play shorter, while the pitch is raised. This is useful if you want to change the key, hence the sound of a chord progression you have already learned.

Another use of the capo when playing guitar is to achieve brighter tones. When certain chords are played in a higher pitch with a capo on the fretboard they can sound shinier and at times better.

Because of what the capo does, it makes guitar playing easier so usually, beginners are fond of it, as also guitar players who have a hard time learning barre chords.

Using a capo on an electric guitar

As we mentioned, using a capo on your guitar makes playing easier and is especially useful for the barre chords. But these chords are not so hard to play on an electric guitar, as they might be on an acoustic one.

Electric guitars have long and narrow necks which are great because it makes playing the barre chords easy. The longer fretboard and more frets make it easy for you to access higher pitches, so you won’t really need a capo here.

But still, you can find use in a capo for your electric guitar. It can be useful to explore new and different sounds. When you use a capo on your electric guitar you might discover some unique tones which you can adjust with an amp later.

The capo may be useful for a lot of great riffs and chord progressions that are produced through an electric guitar. So you shouldn’t hesitate to try it out and then see if you like the sound of your electric guitar with a capo on.

Benefits For Beginners

For beginners, a capo might be good to help you learn about finger placement so it is recommended while you are learning. You could put the capo on the first fret to lower the string action. But perhaps you shouldn’t make permanent use of the capo so it doesn’t stop you from learning new techniques.

As a guitar player, you always want to improve and even though a capo might be very helpful, it is also important to try learning to play barre chords higher up the neck so you can make more progress.

Also because of the fact that acoustic guitars have heavier strings, when you put a capo on with enough tension, this can help the guitar stay in tune. But on the other hand, electric guitars have lighter strings so the guitar might go a bit out of tune when a capo is used.

However, there are still guitar players who use a capo on their electric guitars. Famous guitar players who used a capo when playing an electric guitar include George Harrison who formed part of the Beatles, and Eric Clapton, a famous rock and blues guitarist.

How to use a capo?

There are capos specifically designed for both electric and acoustic guitars to accommodate different fretboards, number of strings, and so on. But all of them are relatively easy to apply on your guitar and later on remove.

Once you know which fret you want to put your capo on, you should press the ends of the capo and simply clamp the strings. Once you have applied the capo, it is important to check if it is pressing all the strings from the fret evenly. Because if the capo is placed unevenly then it may cause the chords to sound wrong and untuned.

You should also check the strings by strumming them to see if all of them sound clear and there isn’t fret buzz. In case you need to readjust the capo, you shouldn’t slide it up and down the fretboard because this will harm the strings. Instead, what you should do is remove it and then put it on again.

Something you should pay attention to when using a capo is to not leave it on after you are finished playing. This is because the capo applies pressure on the guitar and if it’s left on for longer it might cause fret wear.

Also, you should never tune your guitar with the capo on. If you do this, it is likely that the guitar strings will break or your guitar won’t be tuned properly.

Final thoughts

Even though it is not as common and not so necessary, a capo can be definitely used on an electric guitar. You should consider using a capo on your electric guitar to be creative and produce new unique sounds. And if you are a beginner, it is a great choice to make playing easier for your fingers until you improve and learn more techniques and chords.

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