Thanks Mark. I can see how playing a tune in the closed positions can allow you to transpose and even modulate easily. That would be an advantage. I'm not sure how it changes the cramped conditions up the fretboard though. If I'm playing in second or third position for instance, the frets are closer than first position with or without a capo. I don't see the practical solution there.
But other than being able to modulate quickly, do you find that playing in closed positions without a capo offers you musical possibilities that you don't have with a capo? Can you do more or better in some way without it?
I'm looking for a practical answer that goes beyond some sense of tradition (such as Big Mon didn't use one, etc.) or some perception that unaccomplished players use them to compensate for their lack of training (for instance, that capos are cheating somehow).
If playing without a capo makes more or better music, then how?