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josie

Bass with capo?

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Has anyone here used - or seen a bass player using - a capo?

There's a fairly naff trio local to me whose bass player uses a capo for almost every song. Often on a different fret to the two guitarists, which makes it even more peculiar.

I understand that, on a standard 6-string guitar, there's an offset from the G to B string, which makes it hard to transpose, so the capo effectively shifts the nut. And that that's why a 5-string bass player who wants to go higher rather than lower tunes to high C rather than to B.

But on a standard 4-string bass, why not just learn where the notes are on the fret board and play them?

Or am I missing something???

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maybe something to do with having to use open strings for a certain riff to make it work for example Living on a prayer in any key other than Em doesn't flow properly to me as theres always a small jump between the first two notes of the line

but i've always done it in EM or Ebm (tuned half step down) so never been an issue


but for simply transposing there shouldn't be any excuse really but hey if it works for people then who am I to judge

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Don't do but seen it done , It wouldn't suit me but I definitely in the there should be no rules camp these days , to many players think there are right and wrong ways to make nice noises

As for key changes , most changes I come across want to take you down the board into D tuning or 5 strings , so I can't think of a situation where a capo would help me without the line sounding to high

Edited by lojo

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Maybe he really wants a short scale bass but can't be bothered/can't afford to buy one.

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I remember seeing some band a few years back on the tv & the bass player was using a capo. IIRC, there was no need for him to use a capo & he just looked like a twonk.
Pretty sure there was a thread on here about it.

Unless it's really needed, capo on bass makes it look like the bass player is still learning bass.

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[quote name='josie' timestamp='1495149644' post='3301728']
Has anyone here used - or seen a bass player using - a capo?

There's a fairly naff trio local to me whose bass player uses a capo for almost every song. Often on a different fret to the two guitarists, which makes it even more peculiar.

I understand that, on a standard 6-string guitar, there's an offset from the G to B string, which makes it hard to transpose, so the capo effectively shifts the nut. And that that's why a 5-string bass player who wants to go higher rather than lower tunes to high C rather than to B.

But on a standard 4-string bass, why not just learn where the notes are on the fret board and play them?

Or am I missing something???
[/quote]

Good question. I'd hate to have to use one myself but it's simply because it reminds me of nuns with guitars trying to be "down with the youth".

[attachment=245577:NunGuitarCapo.png]

Edited by SpondonBassed

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I saw a covers band years ago who played a couple of System of a Down (who tune CGCF) songs on a 5-string with a capo on the first fret.

Also, I believe Mark Hoppus (blink 182) plays one song live with a capo on the third fret as the studio version is played on an upright tuned to G.

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Here's me back in the day using one. I used to tune EAEG then put a capo across the top two strings so I could get a drone thing going on. It worked well in the intro and quieter bits of this song which aren't really shown In this vid!

https://youtu.be/lWMl9ItXb8E

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If you search the web you'll find a couple of pics of Paul McCartney in the 60's with a capo so it's not a new thing by any means.

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I'll use a capo on guitar (mostly acoustic) without problem; as said above, for certain things involving open strings it's needed.
On bass it confuses the heck out of me.. what's that about? I capoed a 35" scale fretless at '1st fret', which gave the effect of 33" scale for an experiment. I was all over the place! :blink:
Back to the original question.. each to their own.

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I never had the need to use one for the songs i've been playing as i use a 5 string bass (heck, i've even learned how to play Killing In The Name without drop-D) but i've read some interesting replies here that bring up some valid points for using it:

- having songs on the set list that need lines with open strings (SOAD example)

- tunning the bass a step back in D and use capo on the 2nd fret to make it short scale for someone struggling with back issues or has dificulty to reach the first fret.

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So... you don't actually need to dress as a nun to get good use from one? Much relieved. I'll have a crate of those then please.

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I'm more likely to dress up as a nun than ever use a capo on a bass again. Tried it once but i cant see the point. For me capos are only for fingerstyle on 6 string acoustics

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There's a solo bassist I know uses one when he's tapping, I guess it's for when he's playing open strings.

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i shamelessly use a capo when I'm feeling too tired to think about moving a pattern to another key

I've not troubled what anyone else thinks

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I used to use one on one song. It enabled me to tap on a particular song that sounded far better with an open C. It would have been impossible to play without a capo.

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If you have to tune down for one song and can't be bothered to do it during a set, then the capo could be used to play in normal EADG then when you remove the capo...Abracadabra....you're in drop down tuning.

Replace the capo and you're back to normal tuning.

I've never done it but it sounds very feasible.

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Martin Mendez of Opeth uses one for the song Windowpane

http://youtu.be/3LMxLIcRWy8

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[quote name='Chrismanbass' timestamp='1495151652' post='3301744']
maybe something to do with having to use open strings for a certain riff to make it work for example Living on a prayer in any key other than Em doesn't flow properly to me
[/quote]

You don't do the key change into Cm then?

I sometime use 2 capos, when I want one on the first fret a second on the 14th fret in order to measure the clearance at the 7th fret to work out whether the bow in the neck is right.

Other than that, no.

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I used one at my graduation concert, on a 5-string with high C in an alternate tuning (can't remember what it was :mellow:) to play a James Vincent McMorrow song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtmYzr4pcD0

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On acoustic guitar I use a capo all the time, because I like to involve a lot of open strings, and I'd like to be able to do so in several keys. Also, open chords with a capo somewhere up high like the seventh fret have a very sweet and unique timbre.

As for bass, sometimes you'll find yourself playing bits that really wouldn't be particularly playable if you'd have to fret every note, and if you have to transpose it a capo would certainly be handy, but I've never had to use one myself for that reason. I have used one for another reason, though. A lot of Andy Rourke's parts with The Smiths were played on a bass tuned to F#, to match Johnny Marr's guitars of the same tuning. Out of curiosity, I've sometimes placed a capo on the second fret to get a feel for how he originally fingered those songs. None of them really needs it to be playable, but a tune like Barbarism Begins at Home did feel a bit more fluid that way.

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[quote name='Geek99' timestamp='1495208447' post='3302187']
i shamelessly use a capo when I'm feeling too tired to think about moving a pattern to another key

I've not troubled what anyone else thinks
[/quote]

I like the idea as a "get out of jail free" option to have in the bag when jamming but I'd want to relearn, in my own time, the tune on an open fretboard later. I don't have any tunes in my rep that require special tunings other than drop D for which I have a five. I like to keep things simple.

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