I want to play a fingerstyle guitar based on open-voiced chords in the key of D, capoed to be in D, Eb or E for performance. I'd love to have the low D from a drop-D tuning but this messes up some chords, primarily G.

I was thinking to capo on fret 2 (and potentially detune the guitar 1-2 semi-tones depending on the performance key) but only capo the top 5 strings A-E. Now I have the open tuning effect but any open chords which fret the bottom string will work, e.g. G.

It works great except that now the capo is blocking my finger when I try to reach the 2nd fret on low E... I can do it but it's difficult and prone to buzzing.

How might I overcome this? I'm open to different ideas whether they involve fingering technique, changing my approach, or some special bit of kit.

  • For reference it's a simple fingerstyle of The First Noel
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 13:33
  • 2
    Have you tried a Spider?
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 13:45
  • @tim I can't see how that doesn't make it worse... now the low E string is not just hard to reach but impossible as the capo is in the way. I get you can change it on the fly but that sounds like it would take a lot of practice and risk mishaps
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 14:19
  • I just thought if the end of my capo was flexible it could hover above the fret and then I just press the capo tip instead of trying to get my finger over and round it. I wonder if such a thing exists.
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


Normally for this type of capo you only have two options, work around the capo (which can be fiddly) or use your thumb to fret your bottom string.

Doing this annoyed me enough I now just practice with odd tunings - you'll find you will quickly get used to drop D, drop C or even lower.

  • 1
    Do you know a good open (or pleasant) voicing for G in drop-D? I can't reach the 5th fret on bottom E!
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 14:09
  • 1
    Your little finger should manage it if you use an E shape on strings 2-4
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 14:19
  • D is the fifth so leave it open and think of it as an inversion? Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 13:39
  • @Mr.Boy Is merely not playing or muting the low E string (or low D string, as the case may be) not a good option? Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 0:05

You aren't going to be able to work around the capo in the case you are talking about. Try an open tuning. Open tunings that would work for D on a guitar with standard strings EADGBE are:

  • D A D G A D (Irish music favourite)
  • D A D F# A D
  • F# A D F# A D
  • F# A D G B F#

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