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

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

  1. Elfsocks


    May 13, 2018
    Sorry, a bit late to the party on this one (I think "the kidz" call it necroing, because giving it name makes it a thing).

    I've recently, started using one (or more) capos having never really bothered before in 20 years of playing. As a student, i had the "Any Tune, Any Key" principle drummed into us all the time, so on-the-fly transposition was standard, encouraged practice. And doing sessions, deps etc. made that skill even more essential. Now, when I teach, I fiercely advocate knowing your fretboard and knowing your scales (I usually start or end the lesson with pop quizzes like "two octave mixolydian in G#" etc etc). So using a capo as a mechanism of transposition, as many of my 6 string colleagues do, was never on the menu. Ditto detuning (apart for the occasional Drop D).
    Last year I embarked on a personal project of arranging songs for solo bass, which includes playing multiple parts simultaneously (after having my mind blown at a Luca Stricagnoli gig). For this, one or more capos became essential on some songs, and sometimes completely retuning. This is to allow certain drone notes to ring, or to make fingerings possible when holding a chord and playing a run at the same time.
    Some folks seem to automatically think it's lazy to use a capo, but that is probably a lack of imagination of what a capo can be used for. And to be honest, I never really thought about what they could be used for until I embarked on this project.
    I'm currently looking into spider capos to give me more flexibility, but also thinking it will make it easier to put the songs together into a set (as opposed to retuning/changing guitars etc).
    cheechi and gebass6 like this.
  2. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    You can lay a dowel/pencil/etc across the strings and then use a rubber band around each end to secure it tightly enough to stop the strings at whichever fret you set it to.

    Cheap, too!

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