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A Capo On A Bass Guitar...What Gives?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by witness66, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    One 45° Dingwall/LTD capo, please.
    Honch likes this.
  2. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Let it be known, that not any time have I've been not be able to play in any key, any tune without a capo or re-tuning. But I do think it sounds like sh*te when having to do SRV or Hendrix numbers in Eb, in regular tuning, where the original recording had a lot of open Eb bass tones ringing, as the rest of the fingers went high up. To have that low pedal "drone", when doing other chordal things way up.

    I mean if the gtrds guitar is tuned to Eb.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  3. Yup hair band mute
  4. kopio


    May 8, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Lol....taken to school by the indomitable JimmyM! I figured I'd get more than a bit of guff for the pick comment! I get it if others like to use one. I truly should learn how to use one as it can be a valuable tool in the toolbox....but I just can't bring myself to do it! To be a more well rounded player I should know how to use a pick though

    Lol...yes, I was being snobby. It was all said with tongue firmly in cheek though....the bottom line is, what works for you is good for you!
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. MCF


    Sep 1, 2014
    I used one when I was a kid and the guitarist/singer would use one to change keys so he could sing better that night. When he did that, and it was pretty rare, I'd use one too so I could play like I practiced/rehearsed the song when there were open strings in the pattern. It was just more comfotable that way. As I got better, I learned how to change keys on the fly. I cant imagine using one anymore.
  6. Why use a capo when you obviously need another bass for playing Sabbath?:D
  7. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    this is where a well slotted nut comes into play; you'll appreciate it when you're playing in F.
  8. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    I definitely try to be able to play songs without depending on open strings. In fact, I prefer my BEAD tunes bass to facilitate that when possible. So a capo doesn't make sense for me except in the rare occasions where the song was clearly written depending heavily on open strings. For instance, a lot of Geddy's parts really need standard tuning for the riffs to play correctly. But I also keep a bass in standard tuning. So no need to capo up to E.

    With that being said...

    Some songs really do need an open Eb or D string. i use my BEAD bass and deploy the capo as needed. It's a rare thing for me. But I'm not concerned with people thinking I don't know my fretboard or need a crutch. I know my fretboard quite well, thank you. And I'd rather use a crutch than retune between songs.
    Honch likes this.
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    There is a school of thought that bass guitar is its own separate, unique instrument, and players "are supposed to" only use a narrow set of "proper" techniques that are specific to the bass guitar. I respect people who have that opinion.

    My opinion is that bass guitar is the bass-range instrument of the guitar family (just like upright bass is the bass instrument of the violin/gamba family) and therefore any and all guitar-family techniques, tones, and accessories are "fair game" for bass guitarists. That includes: capos, picks, effects, alternate tunings, soloing, tapping, harmonics, playing chords, etc.

    Mushroo's 2 cents. :)
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
    Clef_de_fa, Matthew_84 and gebass6 like this.
  10. There you go - one person's crutch is another one's tool of great creativity!
    Personally, I have more respect for guitarists that can play in any key without using a capo. If you're using it on bass (or guitar) to avoid learning the fingerboard, what's going to happen the day you forget to bring it?
  11. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010

    Zander Zon uses a spider capo pretty often, but like Manring he doesn't really play bass in a "normal" manner.

    Tools are tools, use 'em if you want to or need to. There's no right or wrong way.
    Rob22315, gebass6, Honch and 2 others like this.
  12. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Even better so with a) headless bass b) zero fret
  13. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    It seems that this thread took off, for some strange reason...;)

    I would never ever scold any 5 string player for using their 5 string bass as a crutch. You could just as well apply the same "capo-crutch" reasons onto there. I would scold a guitarist though, who put their capo on 11th fret and start playing SRV tunes in Eb.:thumbsup:

    Some songs, just don't fit that well when doing regular tuning on bass. Since there are a number of hits these days that's done on a 5 er on the original recording as well as alternate tunings. If you play in a top 40 cover band, the best to cover it if you own a (one only) 4 string is to tune BEAD, and make cunning use of the capo at times. To be relying on it at all times, is a sort of bad conduct. I have already "challenged" myself live, on the fly, on stage by moving the capo once though I didn't need to. When I wanted to play "open" C string and wanted to challenge myself in order for keeping me awake through a boring ballad...

    The thing is that I don't rely on the fifth fretted/capoed E-note. I can just as well take off the capo completely, and use the "3rd string" as the low E. In the BEAD tuning. When I discover that all notes on the "missing" g-string isn't needed anymore. I've played 50/50 of those E-tunes with the capo completely off, and half of them on. And when any tune shows up in G, it's all off. The thing with alternating bass notes from e to g is best carried out one way, with the open strings at the rest of the G major scale. Say, if you go from the standard-run-of-the-mill G major walking down to E minor there's only a few runs you can play. Would sound bad if that low E came one octave up.

    A lot of us haven't got the space, neither economics, to buy different basses for different purposes, and have them on stands on stages. I would refrain from using capo on a fretless bass though, as it would be impossible to nail the exact sweet spot in intonation. Even though Manring uses one. The reason for this is exactly what I told you earlier: Saving time on stage.

    My capo use on bass, is solely based on saving time from a) retune the bass b) saving to bring another one or c) having to buy a 5er.
    RickyWoo and gebass6 like this.
  14. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    A Spider capo can enable you to do harmonic notes that normal tuning can't give you.
  15. Funk³


    Apr 12, 2015
    1) That is quite obviously NOT a capo...
    2) Even if it was, people use them quite a bit, especially in solo bass guitar.
  16. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I don't understand the attitude people have about calling it a crutch or someone not knowing their instrument.

    You can't hear if someone is using a capo on a record, and no one is handing out trophies for how much you know or what kind of gear you use or don't use.

    So why should you care if people use crutches when they are walking around the fretboard and grooving just fine with it?
  17. There are all kinds of capos. With my rhythm guitar I have used the basic Kysor capo, a dropped D capo, a cut capo and at times with the cut capo I have used two capos at the same time. Get a lot of fish eyes when you do that.

    Capos are a tool that can be used. If you need them, help yourself. I do not need them on the bass, as I use Nashville numbers when playing my bass.
    lowplaces and hsech like this.
  18. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    What part of MY experience and opinion don't you understand. I said nothing about other people. I don't care who uses a capo. I stated my take on it. Not yours or anyone else. There is no hate other than what you are creating.
  19. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011

    start at 10:00

    you may change your mind after that vid
  20. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Yeah, I recently saw St. Paul Peterson using one--I asked the same question: "is that a capo!". "Nah, it's a mute".

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