A Question of Capo Use

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by DougWheeler74, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    405
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    There are times that I use a capo. I have a friend (retired pro) that feels that capos don't belong on an electric, but hey, if Keith can use one on a Tele who am I to say you can't. Anyway...

    I have a Yamaha Revstar RS820CR that goes flat whenever I put a capo on it. I can use either a Shubb or Kyser and the same thing happens. They both work just fine on my G2622. I can move it close to the fret or back from the fret and get the same result. Flat. I have to retune it with the capo in place and be careful not to bump it. Any suggestions to help with this? A different capo? Or???
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Andy Fortune

    Andy Fortune Gretschie

    376
    May 24, 2016
    Corning, NY
    Make sure your nut is cut properly and then pony up for a G7. I was skeptical but finally tried one and it is a huge difference over the Kyser I was using. With the Kyser, my strings didn't go flat, though. The strings would all change pitch slightly differently depending on their thickness so they were flat or sharp relative to the others, even when I set it right on top of the fret.
    The G7 uses a minimum of pressure so it's like a finger making a barre chord. I'm guessing the Revstar has different size frets than your Gretsch which, if your nut has no issues and your ntonation is set correctly, could account for the difference.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  3. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    I have the idea that, by shortening the scale, a capo should need to reset intonation at the bridge.
    That might explain you problem. (Is that all strings, or only a few ones?).

    (I scarcely use one, only on acoustic and only for 2 specific Serge Gainsbourg songs for which the sound is much better that way, only playing cowboy chords.)
     
  4. Scamp

    Scamp Gretschie

    195
    Feb 22, 2018
    SoCal
    Make sure the capo you're using is for an electric guitar and not an acoustic. Different shape necks.
     
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  5. Andy Fortune

    Andy Fortune Gretschie

    376
    May 24, 2016
    Corning, NY
    A capo is no different than fretting a barre chord. If the intonation is off with the barre chord, it was either off already or the nut is not cut correctly. Of course, a death grip barre chord is a different story.
     
  6. Andy Fortune

    Andy Fortune Gretschie

    376
    May 24, 2016
    Corning, NY
    That’s what makes the G7 so nice. It adjusts for different radii and thicknesses without extra clamping force.
     
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  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  8. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    405
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    Which one are you using? It appears that their Nashville model is aimed at electric guitars
     
  9. Andy Fortune

    Andy Fortune Gretschie

    376
    May 24, 2016
    Corning, NY
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  10. S.R.Cash

    S.R.Cash Gretschie

    355
    Aug 29, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a few good and off brands, but the Dunlop Capo seems to be the only one that doesn't throw out my B string. I don't know what the problem is, but the B always seems to go a tad higher than it should if I Capo past the 4th.
     
  11. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Country Gent

    You're probably right, I was wondering if what I had written makes sense or not, because of barre chords that works fine everywhere on the fingerboard.
     
  12. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Gretschie

    222
    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    Goes flat? You're defying physics here, if anything the capo should pull it sharp. Jeffrey's explanation is the only one that makes sense. I'm guessing that the bridge or saddles need to come closer to the neck to intonate in tune.

    Forget the Kyser, that spring is going to pull any guitar out of tune. Use the shubb and adjust the tension to the minimum amount necessary to fret cleanly. Set the capo right next to the fret (not in the middle).
     
    Flouswa likes this.
  13. knh555

    knh555 Gretschie

    109
    Apr 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    "capos don't belong on an electric"

    What does this even mean? It either helps you make the music you want or it doesn't. The capo allows you to hit open strings or chords in various keys, nothing more. No judgement required. I'll use a capo on any guitar if it helps me make the music I want to make. I might want to bounce off an open string as a drone when I'm way up the neck. Or I'm singing and moving the song up a semitone or three makes a significant vocal difference and the guitar fingerings benefit from open strings/chords. What does being on an electric have to do with any of that?

    Hell, my bass player will use a capo on bass so he can bounce off open strings. It sounds great.

    <end rant>

    I use both the Keyser and G7, usually opting for the G7 lately.

    And yes, I'll usually retune after putting the capo on, at least if I'm recording of course. The G7, as advertised, has less tuning impact in my experience.
     
  14. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    405
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    Hmm, never considered myself a defier of physics :) but that is what it does. Easily verified by the tuner. Capo on and every string is flat causing a need to retune. I tried adjusting the Shub tension without success. I've never really liked the Kyser for electric or acoustic. I only referenced the location for, well, reference. Capo is always right behind the fret, that leaves intonation to check. Bridge is fixe so just saddles. Something to do after I rake the yard today.
     
  15. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    405
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    Throwing intonation off makes sense but I can't see having to reset intonation fro every capo change. I'm not saying that isn't the case just maybe for this guitars (my others don't experience this.). It is time to check intonation in general anyway.
     
  16. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    I would say go over your setup. Nut slots, relief, saddle height, intonation. Check it, then check it again.

    -m
     
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  17. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    I rarely use a capo. I should use one more, but I usually opt for barre chords. I do use a capo to check for neck relief, so I keep one handy.
     
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  18. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Given that you're happy with the result on one guitar and not the other, I wouldn't be looking at the capo as the culprit.

    Problem with electric vs. acoustic is that acoustic strings stretch and maintain tension as you fret so they tend to hold pitch. Ever try to bend on an acoustic and notice how far you have to stretch? Electric strings actually don't stretch much and therefore go up in pitch as you bend. And ever put electric strings on an acoustic? Every chord sounds terrible. So capos can be less forgiving on an electric which is partially what your retired pro friend might be referring to. I generally put the capo at the fret to minimize pitch bend.

    As for the issue with it going flat - that might indicate frets are installed wrong? I can't think of any other reason it would go flat unless maybe intonation could cause this. I'd have to test intonation for that.

    But if you test your other guitar with a strobe tuner, you will notice that fretted notes closer to the nut pull a tad sharp on most guitars. But if your nut slots are too high, it won't be a tad sharp - it will be too sharp for comfort.
     
  19. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Yea...no. Not every time. If you always play with that capo in the same position, it might make sense. But it should be tolerable to your ear now. I'd be looking at intonation and nut height. If you test with a tuner, fretting the first few frets with your fingers should pull just a tiny bit sharp. See my other note for pulling flat.
     
  20. Andy Fortune

    Andy Fortune Gretschie

    376
    May 24, 2016
    Corning, NY
    The thing is, a capo that works without issue on one guitar often doesn't work well on a different guitar if it has a different radius, taller frets, thicker neck, etc.

    I agree there is likely a setup issue with the Yamaha. My money is on the bridge intonation, but a better capo only helps.
     
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