Author Topic: Guitar out of tune when using a capo  (Read 232 times)

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Offline Fresher

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Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« on: October 09, 2019, 06:05:54 pm »
So I bought my acoustic guitar for about 85 dollars, and NOW that I'm playing for a while I'm starting to see what's a 85 bucks guitar. I bought a capo yesterday and I was trying to play "What's Up" with the capo on the second fret. Am and C is fine but G hurts my ears, it's out of tune (even my guitar in-tune), it's nothing compared to the Justin video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7wsYYY1o98.

And even before this capo thing, as I watch guitar videos, the sound of the acoustic of the people from internet is way beautiful than my acoustic. So I don't think there's a way around this, what you guys think?

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 08:14:02 pm »
Have you re-tuned your guitar after you put the capo on? Capos will often push notes out of tune.

You'll need a chromatic tuner and tune to the notes on the fret where the capo is placed.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
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Offline Fresher

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 08:23:09 pm »

tune to the notes on the fret where the capo is placed.


How I do that?

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 08:50:48 pm »
Well, you would normally tune the open strings: E A D G B E

If you put the capo on the 2nd fret, you tune to F# B E A C# F# instead.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Fresher

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 09:03:45 pm »
Well, you would normally tune the open strings: E A D G B E

If you put the capo on the 2nd fret, you tune to F# B E A C# F# instead.

Cheers,

Keith

That's awesome I'll try that.

What's this tune called?

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 09:17:05 pm »
What's this tune called?

Err, it's not a tune... it's just the notes on the 2nd fret. Look at a fret board diagram and you'll see.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Fresher

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 09:55:01 pm »
Err, it's not a tune... it's just the notes on the 2nd fret. Look at a fret board diagram and you'll see.

Cheers,

Keith

Hmmm, well I'm not into individual notes yet, just chords (I'm in stage 3). Maybe this is a lesson for later stages.

Offline Fresher

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2019, 10:08:41 pm »
Well sounds complicated, I was reading and it can damage the guitar.

And I'm not sure if I understand what you said, I don't want to change my guitar tuning to sound like if it has a capo on the second fret, I already have the capo.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 10:56:01 pm by Fresher »

Offline Majik

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2019, 12:46:18 am »
No, it's really not complicated.

You know the notes of the open strings, right?

Starting from the thickest string they are:
E A D G B and E

This is what you tune each string to.

Look at the following fretboard diagram. You can see the open string notes at the top

E A D G B E



As you go down each fret, the notes change. If you look at the second fret the first note is blank. That's because this diagram only shows the "natural" notes (the ones which aren't sharps/flats). You can work those out by taking the note above and making it sharp or the note below and making it flat.

Look at the diagram and you will see that the first string on the second fret where it is blank has an F above it and a G below it. That means this note is either F sharp (F#) or G flat (G♭). These are two different names for the same note. Which one you use depends on context. In this context it doesn't matter which we use, so we will call it F#.

If you work along the 2nd row, you will see the notes are:
F# B E A C# F#

When you put a capo on the second fret, these are the notes that become the new "open" strings.

The problem is, putting a capo on can bend these notes so they are out of tune. So F# might not actually be F#, it might be F# plus a bit.

So the idea is to tweak the tuning so that the tuner reads F# when this string is played. Of course you do this for all six strings using the corresponding notes.

It's not complicated, and it's not dangerous, and it will not damage your guitar.

Note that I am NOT telling you to tune this string back to E. That would be silly and would defeat the point of using a capo. I'm telling you to tune it to F# which it should already be close to. You should only have to make small adjustments.

If you put the capo onto a different fret, you will need to tune to different notes. For example, if you out the capo on the 5th fret, you tune to A D G C E A. With the capo on, the strings will already be close to these notes, they just need fine tweaking. If you need to make big adjustments then you are doing something wrong.

I'm also not expecting you to know or remember what these notes are. Eventually it's a good idea to learn them, but for now you can look them up using a fretboard diagram.

Oh, and when you take the capo off, you should check the tuning to the standard open notes E A D G B and E.

Cheers,

Keith

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Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline close2u

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2019, 08:50:21 am »
A big round of applause and good vibes to Keith for taking such a time and effort to explain.
It really is super simple.
When you put a capo on the guitar neck, the strings sound out at a higher pitch / higher note.
Not
E
A
D
G
B
E anymore.
But something else.
All equally raised to a higher note.
Depending on which fret the capo is on.

At fret 1 all strings are one semitone above EADGBE.

At fret 2 all strings are two semitones  (one full tome) above EADGBE.

If you have a tuner that shows any note (called a chromatic tuner) including sharps and flats, then once the capo is on you just check the tuner against the open strings now they are higher.
The should be in tune but in reality many guitars with many capos go a tiny little bit out of tune when the capo is on so some micro adjustment fine tuning is needed.
Just like if you picked up your guitar after a few days and it was a tiny bit out of tune - you would tune it up using the tuner.
Well do the same when you put the capo on.
Tune it using the tuner.
But look on the tuner for what the correct notes should be at that fret.

Offline Fresher

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Re: Guitar out of tune when using a capo
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2019, 02:37:54 pm »
Awesome guys, thanks.

So the notes need to be this?

F#2

B 2

E 3

A 3

C# 4

F# 4

 

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