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

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


  1. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Oh, and I use a .120 "E" :p
     
    Honch likes this.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't bother me with your personal problems :D

    I still stand behind what I said regardless of string gauge.
     
  3. White Beard

    White Beard

    Feb 12, 2013
    I play a lot of acoustic bass guitar solo; I've developed a very basic finger picking technique and I'll sometimes use an odd tuning and need to slap a capo on to get the open strings I need. I also like to tune D-A-D-G and put the capo on the third fret to give me F-C-F-Bb, which is perfect for "Street Fighting Man."
     
  4. BAG

    BAG

    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    You are more than entitled to your opinion. However there are many, many bass players out there, who know their instrument inside and out and use capos, and particularly partial capos, to enable them to do even more than what was once thought possible on a bass guitar.

    Your opinion is basically the same as people who have the opinion that if you play with a pick you're not a real bass player. They are wrong too. ;)
     
    Honch likes this.
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Kinda funny, I read here about plenty of 5 string players that play them because they can't learn to play the open strings and/or so they can play up the neck instead of learning 1-2-4 fingering or switching to a short scale :roflmao:. Yep, them guys don't need no stinkin' capos LOL.
     
    Honch likes this.
  6. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    You have just said that players that don't share your opinion on the use of picks are wrong. See how opinions cause people to get their panties in a bunch. I don't care if anyone uses a capo or not. I don't for the reason I stated. That is my opinion and mine alone. If it upsets you, move along. Nothing to see here.
     
  7. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I've used a capo to access harmonic chords and scales that are not otherwise available. Whilst the note positions don't change wrt the position dots, the available harmonics do shift, so for example, with capo at 2, the third harmonic on the A string (open B) is now D#, which is otherwise unavailable in that register. All perfectly legit in my book, and nothing to do with not knowing the fingerboard. If anything, quite the opposite.
     
    gebass6 and Honch like this.
  8. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yes, exactly, and if push comes to shove, all things to a head, I find it peculiar that people thinks capo is a crutch BUT alternate or re-tuning not!:nailbiting:

    This beats me big time. Because actually it should be the reverse. People who downtunes (or anything else from regular) can actually still use side dots and fretboard markers as the guide when looking down, but with the capo on, everything "dots" is thrown askew. So, you really have to be on your toes a bit better with a capo, since you have to rely on hearing and feel of the fingering ONLY and not look down at the frets or fret markers.

    So I would say that capo users knows their fretboard/instruments a tad more, than downtuners.... it's even a stretch that I think any excessive downtuning is for beginners.... well it is, but it's out of this topic. Most people I know downtuning their basses to inaudible frequencies (F#0 and even E0) are really those who doesn't know their instruments at all. Young showoffs who think they're on to something. You know, these "this one goes to eleven" kind of people. Like "Hey, we tune lower than your band", but it's way OT for this thread. After some decade or two they're coming back to their senses again. ;)

    - - - -

    I do have let others that downtune borrow my bass with capo to check if they felt the difference to their openstrunged without capo downtuned bass. When my bass had a capo on second fret, the C sharp open string tuning, it threw them completely off, and went back and said "I prefer having it downtuned that way instead of a capo" because they played too many clunkers when looking down at the markers. The actual sound, timbre and harmonic didn't differ that much.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  9. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Hands to your hearts: Isn't that what it is all about with any fretted/plucked instrument? That you actually CAN use a capo and/or retune it? and BOTH if you like! And none if you like! It's its most treasured asset. Guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, you name it.

    - - - - - - -

    So a classical harp player using his/her pedals/levers to change pitch of the string is a crutch too? Or a pedal steel guitar player?

    I've always - even on guitar - looked at a capo as a "re-tuning" device, since it is impossible to turn up the strings to the pitch of 5th fret or above. They will just break and snap, or takes ages to retune. No matter that it actually transposes. It does, but so does retuning without a capo too. No matter of you retune down or up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
    BAG likes this.
  10. BAG

    BAG

    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    No, I said that people who makes statements like "pick players aren't real bass players" or " bass players who use a capo don't know their instrument" or similar broad generalisations are wrong. And they are!

    There are many excellent pick players. There are many bass players who use a capo for certain sounds and effects that know their instrument and fretboard inside out. Hence, a general statement such as those are wrong.

    Just like saying "all guitarists are stupid" is wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
    Honch and Mushroo like this.
  11. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Keep it civil please, gents.
    Thank you.
     
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  12. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    "Capo Wars!" LOL :facepalm:. Gotta love this place, lots of guys with too much time on their hands. OTOH potential band #6 cancelled for tonight - singer has a sore throat :( . Guess I'll have to practice for bands #1-5 instead - or hang out here (rabble, rabble) ;) .
     
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  13. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Then we'd all like to know what's the difference between playing in an alternate tuning, from using a capo?

    This thread seems to turn out a show off of experience of people going "I've participated in two world wars, sailed around the globe 15 times, raised 145 kids, and acted in several movies..." sort off thing. That just because you're an expert in one area, all other areas applies too. An Ipse Dixitism of some sort. You'll have to look that one up. ;)

    I e the argument of authority. That one makes a claim and doesn't have anything to back it up. You seem, regardless of your vast experience - and I can tell you I am the same seasoned, aged as you - not being that elaborate on your claims, and tells us all that "it's just the way it is". FWIW, regarding the following posts and replies to yours, it seems that you're the one who's gotta move on, there's absolutely nothing for you to see here. I can put out statements like that too if I want and leave it at that. If you put out a statement like that, you better count on some flak. And if you're too lazy to explain the reasoning behind such a statement (we haven't seen one as of yet) well then, it's just bigottery and ipse dixitism. It seems that if you're a gold supporting member you can have a leeway to make any claims that you like, without having to explain them.

    My first reply was something that the OP really appreciated, and I listed all uses for it, in a nice list. Analytical, thorough, and not scolding anyone for using a capo, alternate tuning, or not. Elaborated. Took my time to write.

    Seems slightly narrow minded don't you think? Since I came from a guitar background and already had a capo laying around, I tried it after a couple of years. Laid it off again, and didn't find any use for it until 5 strings and low tuning came around in bundles. Other's have more creative mind of using it. I was open minded, and tried different things, even alternate tunings and capo combined. Even partial capos. I would never ever even once, scold anyone else for NOT trying out a capo, or alternate tuning on bass or any other instrument. Or claiming that they're not knowing their way around the fretboard. On the other hand, if push came to shove, I would rather think that a bass player who uses alternate tuning - in which the dot markers on the fretboards are the same relation - would rather be more of that kind who doesn't know their way around the fretboard, and a capo user is one who really knows their way around the fretboard, because then he'll not use the markers at all, since it all threws the relation off. But I don't. And following accordingly, I would never ever think that any bass players who doesn't use any capo at all is better at it, in any way, than others. But by and large, am I considered by regional colleagues to be somewhat "too open minded" about using alternate techniques on bass (Funky fingers and such), and can and will play with a pick if needed. It's the people like Manring et al that makes some forward thinking in bass playing in the end. Neither you nor me.

    See, this elaborate explanation (sorry folks, a lot of words are sometimes the only thing that's needed to get a point across) is an answer to yours:

    It's not bad or wrong as such. You simply didn't back it up, but just said "the color red is better than green, period" and "I've said so, and is right, and don't need to explain, because I've been around the world 15 times... and bla bla bla".

    - - - - - -

    EDIT: You sure have a similar nick to mine. Let's see if people can separate them, because I've taken a lot of similar flak in other threads. Social gadfly of the TB ya know. But that's all part and parcel. One has to be able to taste our own medicine. Otherwise TB and all forums becomes, sort of, snorefest.
     
    BAG likes this.
  14. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Here's my take on the differences...

    The capo is a transposition tool - play the same patterns in a different key. The notes wrt the fingerboard don't actually change, only wrt the new nut. All of your Cs are still where they used to be.

    Alternative tunings change the notes wrt fingerboard position. Open 4th string becomes D, for example, with octave whatever still at the double-dot.

    That's it. Each is, IMHO, a legitimate approach to extending/modifying the scope or capabilities of the instrument.
     
  15. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Well, my question was really the difference between a person who uses alternate tuning compared to a person using a capo. Like if there should be a difference in "knowing your fretboard". I would like to know.
     
  16. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    If a player can play all 12 major scales fluently, over the entire range of the instrument, then I'd say he or she is well on the path to "knowing the fretboard."

    Part of mastering the capo and/or alternate tunings is learning the 12 scales in the new tuning. For players looking to become expert capo players, I recommend the following exercise: play all 12 scales without the capo. Now put the capo on the 1st fret and again play all 12 scales. Move the capo to the 2nd fret and play all 12 scales. Repeat with the capo on each fret until you reach the 12th fret and the pattern repeats.

    It is said that a skill can be mastered in 10,000 hours. But I have found that as little as 100 hours of practice (say 1 hour/week for 2 years) will give a good basic understanding of how to use the capo musically.

    I'm guessing that many of the "capo is a crutch" crowd simply haven't put in 100+ hours exploring the musical possibilities.
     
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  17. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    I generally use it to simplify fingerings - NOT to transpose. Mine came in a package that said you can use it any way you want - dunno what your package said LOL.
     
    Honch likes this.
  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    OK, well there's another legitimate use - nice one. I think the essence of my posts in this thread is that IMHO the capo is just another tool to use as the user sees fit. If this is a true premise, then there can be no standards by which others can judge.
     
    Honch likes this.
  19. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    I do - too - use the capos when setting up instruments, like gauging relief and see if frets are too close to strings or not. I even use the third hand capo for this when setting up electric guitars. I e one string capoed and the rest not. Or 5 strings capoed and one not.
     
  20. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Retune!... ;) (sorry, couldn't help myself)
     

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