A capo (short for capotasto) is used to change the pitch of open strings.[28] Capos are clipped onto the fretboard with the aid of spring tension, or in some models, elastic tension. To raise the guitar's pitch by one semitone, the player would clip the capo onto the fretboard just below the first fret. Its use allows players to play in different keys without having to change the chord formations they use. For example, if a folk guitar player wanted to play a song in the key of B Major, they could put a capo on the second fret of the instrument, and then play the song as if it were in the key of A Major, but with the capo the instrument would make the sounds of B Major. This is because with the capo barring the entire second fret, open chords would all sound two semitones (aka one tone) higher in pitch. For example, if a guitarist played an open A Major chord (a very common open chord), it would sound like a B Major chord. All of the other open chords would be similarly modified in pitch. Because of the ease with which they allow guitar players to change keys, they are sometimes referred to with pejorative names, such as "cheaters" or the "hillbilly crutch". Despite this negative viewpoint, another benefit of the capo is that it enables guitarists to obtain the ringing, resonant sound of the common keys (C, G, A, etc.) in "harder" and less-commonly used keys. Classical performers are known to use them to enable modern instruments to match the pitch of historical instruments such as the Renaissance music lute.
The horizontal lines represent the frets on the guitar and the vertical lines represent the strings. The numbers listed let you know what fret number it is referring too. If there is an X it means don't play that string and if there is a 0 it means to play that string but do not press down on it anywhere. The black circles show you where to press down.
The black dots found on the chord diagrams tell you which fret to press down, and on which string and with which numbered finger. Additionally, you will sometimes see circles above the nut. These circles tell you to play that open string without pressing any fret. So using what we know so far about strings, finger numbers, and dots, let’s check out that same chord diagram again:
I use this book in my Music Therapy sessions with Geriatric clients--and they love it! The songs are well-known and fun--mostly folk tunes like I've Been Working on the Railroad and My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. Chords are SO simple--no bar chords (so you may need a capo to adjust the key). If you're looking for the most basic way to play favorite songs...this is the way to go!

One of our goals at CCM is to instill in students a great appreciation for guitar and music that will last them a lifetime. Students at CCM have won numerous international guitar competitions, performed outreach concerts all over the world, and have gotten into the best colleges in the United States. Recent CCM graduates have gone on to Harvard, Stanford, Brown, and USC. Visit our Yelp pages to see what families have to say about our program.
When you get right down to it, Guitar Center's friendly instructors will do everything they can to help you reach your highest level of musical potential. And remember, guitar lessons are available for both newcomers to the instrument, as well as experienced players who want to push the limits of their performance to even greater heights. If you would like to learn more about any upcoming workshops at a Guitar Center near you, feel free to give us a shout via phone or email. Any info you need can be found on our Guitar Center Lessons homepage and we'll gladly answer any questions you may have.

Ask any veteran musician, and they'll tell you that the early stages of learning a musical instrument go by a lot smoother when you're having fun. For this reason, Guitar Center strives their hardest to ensure every guitar lesson they offer is fully-engaging and an absolute blast for everyone involved. Whether you're into the warm, natural sound of an acoustic guitar or have aspirations of blowing out ear drums on the biggest stages in town, GC's guitar lessons are designed so that players of all ages, skill levels and tastes learn the chords and scales they need to know (and want to know) in a comfortable environment.


The hardest thing about playing chords when you get started is changing between them. To effectively change between chords, you need to be economical with your movements. Spend a bit of time thinking about where your fingers need to be for each chord, and work out the most efficient way to move from one to the other. For example, from a C major, you can flatten your index finger so it covers the first string too and move your middle and ring fingers both down a string to switch to an F. Easy changes to start with are between C major and A minor and G major and E minor.


Students can earn a Certificate in MI’s Performance Studies program for Guitar. With an innovative 360-degree approach to music education, MI Certificates are centered on Harmony, Theory and Ear Training, with core subjects in Reading, Technique and Performance. This Certificate program provides students with a broad foundation of knowledge and practical experience, encouraging the rapid development of skills in preparation for a range of professional music performance situations.
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