1

If I have a song in the key of Eb and I want to play it in the key of G, where would I put the capo? Also, would I then use the fignering for the G chord? So I have to transpose to the key of G, right?

So, if I have to transpose to the key of G. Why not just play the G chords in open (first) position and forget the capo?

Thanks

  • 2
    If your song is in Eb and you want to play in in the key of G - by all means, transpose to the key of G and play all those easy 1st position chords with open strings and forget the capo. If for some strange reason you like the Eb chord shapes and can actually play them there is still no need for a capo since all the Eb chord shapes are barre chords anyway - you would just move all your shapes up 4 frets. You could use a capo but it would sound the same with or without the capo because all the chords in Eb are barre chords anyway. Far easier to transpose and skip capo. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 18 '15 at 0:01
2

There are two different things: one is transposing a song, i.e. play it in a different key. If you transposed a song which is in Eb to the key of G, you don't need a capo if you know how to play in the key of G without a capo. The other thing is to make a song in Eb easier to play on the guitar, i.e. without using barre chords. In this case you don't transpose the song, but you just make the chords easier to play. In order to play an Eb major chord using the common G shape, you would need to put the capo on the eighth fret. Now you could play a normal G shape but the chord you hear would be an Eb major chord.

2

There are options.You can play 'in G' in different places on a guitar (which I presume is where the capo comes in).I say 'in G', but mean using an open G chord. This then facilitates the use of an open C and open D as well. To keep at the same PITCH as Eb, the capo needs to be on fret 8. Quite high, but managable.

"G chords on the first fret" is confusing. I guess you mean 'open G'. In which case, Use open G instead of Eb; open C instead of Ab; open D instead of Bb. The song will be in a key a fair bit higher than it was in Eb, so singing it may be problematic.

If the object of the exercise is to play with easier chords than Eb, which cannot be played open on normal tuning, then another option arises. Put the capo on fret 6, and use A, D and E as the I,IV and V chords.

I've used certain premises in my answer, as the question is a little open-ended .

  • 1
    D, A, G with capo on 1 works just as well and preserves most of the bassy-ness. – Erich Feb 17 '15 at 0:15
  • @erich - don't know why I missed that! Put it as an answer! – Tim Feb 17 '15 at 8:08
1

If you need to be playing in Eb and using common chord shapes then use a capo at the 8th or 1st fret.

Eight fret can be used to finger standard G shape chord.

On the first fret, you can use a D shape chord for the Eb, G shape chord for Ab, and A shape chord for Bb. That would I IV V in that key.

The OP doesn't say what the chord progression is, so I'm guessing that the progression would have those chords.

1

I cannot think of any logical reason why you would want to use a capo to transpose a song from the key of Eb to the key of G.

If your song is in Eb and you want to play in in the key of G - by all means, transpose to the key of G and play all those easy 1st position chords with open strings and forget the capo.

If for some strange reason you like the Eb chord shapes and can actually play them - there is still no need for a capo since all the Eb chord shapes are barre chords anyway - you would just move all your shapes up 4 frets.

Now if you mean you want to play the song in Eb (key it's written in) but are like most guitarist and prefer not to have to play some of the chord shapes that Eb demands, then a capo is definitely in order. Because with a capo, instead of having to try to play all those difficult Eb chord shapes, you just put a capo on the 1st fret and transpose the chords to D (just to determine which chord shapes to play) and play the chord shapes that you would play if the song were transposed to D. Only with a capo on the 1st fret, the chords you play will sound as if you are playing in Eb (also known as D#). So you will be using a much easier set of chords but the music will manifest in Eb.

Alternatively, you could tune your guitar a half step flat as many musicians and bands do, and play the chords you would play if you transposed the song to E.

But to your question "If I have a song in the key of Eb and I want to play it in the key of G, where would I put the capo?" - the answer is - in your pocket! But I think you already knew that. Good luck.

0

My answer is don't use a capo, just transpose the song into the key of G.

The key of Eb: Eb Fm G Ab Bb C D The key of G: G Am Bm C D Em F#

Just transpose, so if your progression was: Eb Eb Fm G Ab change it to G G Am C D

Capo's just complicate things when trying to change the key, just stick to transposing :-)

  • The idea is to keep it simple. Use a capo. Transposing the song like that is too time consuming and confusing for most players. She is better off using a capo. Only if the song needs to be played in Eb , which isn't clear by the question. – r lo Feb 16 '15 at 20:35
  • I think this is a possibly correct answer. The OP was a little unclear, and all 3 answers so far address at least one possible interpretation of the question. – amalgamate Feb 16 '15 at 20:47
  • The comment about a capo complimenting things when trying to change key is a problem. Guitarists do it all the time to play the chords they know in the right key. – r lo Feb 16 '15 at 20:47
  • 1
    At first I over reacted, sorry, deleted that, however while I'll agree that capos do not deserve any dishonor, (Love capos.) I wont agree transposing is not worth considering as an alternative. – amalgamate Feb 16 '15 at 20:53
  • I play guitar and despise the capo, and every song you come across that uses one can be transposed with ease. Play bar chords. E.g. if the capo is on 5th and you play a G, play 3 frets away from the 5th fret (8th fret) which then becomes C, and then play C normally. – SomeAmbigiousUserName Feb 17 '15 at 13:13
0

The trick is to find the nearest "easy" key to play in below the original key. Count the difference in semitones and place the capo on that fret.

Easy keys, at least for me (I-IV-V-vi):

  • G-C-D-Em
  • D-G-A-Bm
  • A-D-E-F#m
  • C-F-G-Am
  • E-A-B-C#m

For example, you mentioned playing in Eb. The key of D (with its IV and V chords G and A respectively) is one semitone below, so put the capo on the 1st fret and play in D.

Here's a table if you like a quasi-rule to follow. Some keys can be played in multiple capo settings; my preferences are listed in order. And this is not exhaustive - you can certainly capo much higher if you prefer, but you will lose any bassy-ness of the guitar in the process, if that's your thing.

Concert Key     Capo Keys-Fret #s
A               G-2, A-0
A#/Bb           G-3, A-1
B               A-2, G-4
C               C-0, G-5
C#/Db           C-1
D               D-0, C-2
D#/Eb           D-1, C-3
E               D-2, E-0
F               D-3, E-1
F#/Gb           E-2, D-4
G               G-0, D-5
G#/Ab           G-1
0

To play a song in the key of Eb using first position chords from the key of G, you would have to raise the tone of those chords from G up to Eb, which is G-Ab-A-Bb-B-C-Db-D-Eb = 8 half-steps. So, to play this song in G, you'd need to capo the 8th fret.

A much better option for this scenario is to Capo 1 and play the song as if it were in the key of D. That should be almost as familiar a key as G, even to a novice guitarist.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.