Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 122

Thread: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

  1. #26
    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,917
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Capo? Wat iz dis capo? Iz dis a noodle?
    Breedlove Quartz FF with K&K Twin - Weber Big Horn - Fender FM62SCE

    Wall Hangers - 1970's Stella A and 60's Kay Kraft

  2. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,037

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Some of the best advice I ever got was from Dean Stoneman of the famous Stoneman family, he said when you learn a new song learn to play it with out striking any open strings and then you will be able to move anywhere on the neck you have to in order to play in a different key, While I don`t learn every song not playing any open strings I do learn most of them that way, learn each song in E, F or Bb and you will be able to play without a capo...

    The first band I ever played in did an instrumental in B that I always played in A so I slapped on a capo and played it and caught h--- from the band leader because "mandolin players don`t use capos", I told him to play that song in B on his guitar with out a capo and I would take mine off, From then on we did the song in A....UNTIL HE FIRED ME....

  3. #28
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    All that interests me in a player are the sonic results of what he or she is doing. How they achieve those results, and whatever they may or may not be unable to do in unrelated circumstances don't matter to me.
    Steve

  4. #29
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York and Washington DC area
    Posts
    15,840
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    The main problem I find with a capo is that with the capo all the position markers are in the wrong place. So I have trouble improvising with it.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
    We cannot put off living until we are ready. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset

    The entire staff
    funny....

  5. #30
    Registered Loser
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    left turn at alberquirky
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    My opinion (that may not be shared by everyone)is that notes just sound better when fingered instead of on open strings.
    So if you can learn full chords instead of open chords, they just sound better. Being able to improvise up and down the neck and in any key is difficult but very helpful. Using a capo allows you to cheat somewhat, but you become a better sounding and more confident player when you can play without a capo. Tone is just better most of the time.
    If you plan to play much bluegrass...Learn everything you can about the key of B. Banjo players love it...usually guitars players too since they both capo and shorten the scale. Thus lowering the guitar action and making it easier to play. They don't usually consider the difficulties of the fiddle, bass or mandolin, so just learn it and you'll fit in anywhere.

  6. #31
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    14,202

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    The now late Professor John McGann's capo comment in message 80 of this thread pretty much says it all in my opinion.

  7. #32
    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,917
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Although my knee jerk reaction is to make a joke about using a capo I re-read John's post the Mike referred to and couldn't help but laugh a little and smile. I always loved reading his responses and that one was no different. The guy was right on the money, as usual. God bless you, John.
    Breedlove Quartz FF with K&K Twin - Weber Big Horn - Fender FM62SCE

    Wall Hangers - 1970's Stella A and 60's Kay Kraft

  8. #33
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    There are perfectly valid reasons for using a capo on a mandolin. To use a capo to avoid learning to play the mandolin to its fullest extent is not one of them.
    Agreed. Use a capo if you want it, not because you need it.

  9. #34
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    ontario canada
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    A strange tune in the key of A, and I'll capo the 2nd fret and play G. Find the notation and learn it later. Capos are helpful and have their place, but solidly in agreement with "why make a short neck shorter."

  10. #35
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suburb of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,161

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    There seems to be a lot of comparison between Mandolin and other instruments.

    If a violin has a sound post, why does a mandolin not have one?

    If a guitar has a pin bridge, why is it not found on most mandolins? Some mandolins do, most do not.

    Why not a Capo on a Mandolin? It works on a guitar. etc.

    All these questions have been the subject of posts on this forum.


    Guitars are not the same as mandolins.

  11. #36
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    14,202

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by greg_tsam View Post
    Although my knee jerk reaction is to make a joke about using a capo I re-read John's post the Mike referred to and couldn't help but laugh a little and smile. I always loved reading his responses and that one was no different. The guy was right on the money, as usual. God bless you, John.
    Without a doubt John's take on the whole thing was the logical take. I think we average 2 or 3 of these threads a year. In all of them over the years, that comment stuck with me.

  12. #37
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    My current reason for wanting to use a capo is that I friend gave me a tab for a real nice version of the Festival Waltz. It is in the key of C. The practice track is in the key of C and when the fiddle takes a break, the band switches to the key of D. When I look for versions of it on youtube, it seems that all the fiddles play it in D. So if I put a capo on, I can play the version I so studiously learned, in the key of D, instead of trying to get my pickin buddies to switch keys so I can take my break. I guess I could try to work up a version in D, but why if I can just put a capo on the second fret and play it.

  13. #38
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    I think it might be unconstitutional.


    Tom

  14. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York and Washington DC area
    Posts
    15,840
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Triesch View Post
    I have found that there is a snoot factor when using a capo with a mandolin.
    The world is full of snoot factors. In my decision making they just don't weigh in. There are bound to be a few things snoots look down on that are legitimately to be avoided.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
    We cannot put off living until we are ready. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset

    The entire staff
    funny....

  15. #40
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Yes, guitars are not the same as mandolins...but, the same thing is going on here. Most bluegrass guitar and banjo players use a capo in bluegrass because it just makes playing in different keys easier. The same thing applies to mandolin in bluegrass and different other kinds of music. Sometimes when I am playing at my bluegrass meetings I pop on a capo so I can play along without all the transposing, just like the guitar player or banjo player. No difference. The band leader in the post above who told his mandolin player not to use a capo but it was OK for him to use the capo on his guitar was a snoot. I really do not like snoots. I hate it when players who do not play near as well as me tell me that I should use coated strings or a $35.00 pick or to not drag my pinky. Snoots I say!
    ntriesch

  16. #41
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    11,274

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    There's a guy at our Tuesday sing-arounds who always capos his guitar at the first fret when it's his turn to lead a song. No reason for it that I can see, except perhaps (1) he has a pretty inexpensive guitar, and the action may be a bit high, or (b) he doesn't want others playing along.

    So, being a bit of a smart-alec, I play along anyway. Sometimes I practice my back-up licks in C#, sometimes I slap a capo on the first fret myself, and play along using more open strings.

    Capo is a tool; shouldn't be a crutch, but also shouldn't be a source of disapproval-slash-condescension. Not a matter of morals or ethics, just a choice that some of us make and others don't.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  17. #42
    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,917
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Also in the other thread there is a comment saying how much fun it is to tell the guitar player that "Capos are for sissies." I love that one. It's just good fun to give the guitar and banjer players a hard time about their little cheater bars.
    Breedlove Quartz FF with K&K Twin - Weber Big Horn - Fender FM62SCE

    Wall Hangers - 1970's Stella A and 60's Kay Kraft

  18. #43
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    8,339

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    I've managed perfectly well without a capo on Mandolin. On Banjo i use one,mainly because in a lot of cases,i'll play only 'partial' chords. By that i mean,i won't play a complete 4 finger chord,i'll maybe fret 2 out of the 4 strings & leave the other 2 open to 'ring'.This creates varying the 'tonal textures' that i like to use. I've read that the great Don Reno played Banjo without a capo.No doubt a player of his expertise could,but it might explain why some of his playing flows less smoothly that that of say,Earl Scruggs.
    Capos are simply a tool to be used if you wish to use one & it's no more 'cheating' on Mandolin than it is on a Banjo or a Guitar,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.

  19. #44
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suburb of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,161

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    I am not saying that I object to Capos. I don't use one on my mandolin, but occasionally do on my Tenor banjo (or tenor guitar). I do not play these instruments so much and have been sticking to the simpler keys, but I was given a Capo by a band member.

    My comment is that threads often start out with "Guitars are so and so, why aren't Mandolins the same". As if the guitar is the diffinitive model for all stringed instruments.

  20. #45
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,037

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    It HAS been said that don Reno didn`t use a capo but I have seen Don use one, can`t remember the song or what key it was in....As far as his banjo playing he had a style all his own and has been copied by others, namely Eddie Adcock, but Reno told Eddie he should get a style of his own, which he did, but he still has a lot of Renos`s style in his picking....

  21. #46
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmando View Post
    My current reason for wanting to use a capo is that I friend gave me a tab for a real nice version of the Festival Waltz. It is in the key of C. The practice track is in the key of C and when the fiddle takes a break, the band switches to the key of D. When I look for versions of it on youtube, it seems that all the fiddles play it in D. So if I put a capo on, I can play the version I so studiously learned, in the key of D, instead of trying to get my pickin buddies to switch keys so I can take my break. I guess I could try to work up a version in D, but why if I can just put a capo on the second fret and play it.

    This is a really puzzling post. I checked a couple of YouTube versions with fiddle and all of them were in the key of A.

    Of course, what you really illustrate is the drawbacks (in many cases) of learning a song from tab, instead of by ear (or sheet music). If you really know the song, if you have internalized it, know what the notes are, and why they're there, all you have to do is listen inwards and find the notes in the desired key. If the notated version really is in C, and the desired key is A, a capo certainly won't do much good.

  22. #47
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmando View Post
    Being a guitar player I could not function doing bluegrass without a capo. I have played some banjo in the past and a capo was essential. All the licks used are then identical with the capo. It is accepted in the bluegrass world to use a capo. I went to a mandolin seminar and the guy had a capo on his mandolin. He said his teeth were cut on a banjo, his main keys are G, C, D, A. But for B, Bb, E...he uses a capo. How many here use a capo?
    The difference in practice obviously reveals the difference in character between the three instruments. On guitar, e.g., you have the cowboy G chord with three open strings forming a complete triad. It doesn't transpose well to higher positions except for very large hands. This is part of the motive for capoing in certain genres where you want the full ring and splash of 6-string chords.

    In my own playing I use mainly closed-form 3- or 4-note chords, hence a capo on the guitar would only get in the way. The banjo, of course, is mainly tuned in open tunings like G or D and, e.g., Scruggs style exploits this by various open string effects, e.g., playing one note open and sliding into that same note on the next lower string. These effects translate to the keys of A, Bb, B, and C by means of a capo. The price for this is sameness - BG banjo has to be one of the most cliché-ridden instrumental styles there is. Of course, good players also play keys like C, D, E, and F in open G,
    (possibly retunng the fifth string) hence creating more variety.

    By contrast, the mandolin, with its symmetric tuning, favors no particular key. All this talk of "strange", "odd", etc. keys is completely arbitrary. In open position each key offers its particular possibilities, with F and Bb being the most versatile. If I work up an ordinary fiddle tune, like The GOld Rush, or St Anne's Reel, I like to try it out in various keys, the most obvious being a half-step up from the original. Sometimes you get much more natural string crossings and phrasings in the suppossedly strange keys!
    Try The Gold Rush in Bb!

  23. #48
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    Not to sound off-putting, but this is a well defined topic. The general consensus currently maintains that a capo is OK but for the possible exception of the hard-core Bluegrass traditionalists and a few others. Nevertheless, we usually manage about two or three pages whenever it comes up, so that's cool too.
    Musicians don't think in terms of "OK" at all. There are plenty of musical reasons why most BG mandolin players don't use a capo,
    except for very special effects - in fact, these reasons are so natural that it's not even a decision. Anyone familiar with the idiom will understand this. A few others? What about jazz? What about "New Acoustic"? Classic? - given the enormous range of many classical compositions there is no compelling motive for shortening the range of the instrument.

  24. #49
    man about town Markus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,766
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    So much of this is based on the fact that most chord accompaniment in bluegrass mandolin avoids open chords. A capo doesn't help playing closed chords..

    I have been considering a capo with my rock/blues group, as I find myself using more and more open strings in chords. That said, the capo reduces the fretboard and moves the whole register of the mandolin further up - and in a `bottom heavy' genre like rock/blues I tend to use my lowest notes quite a bit.

    Ralph makes a good point about trying different keys. I've found that over the course of a few hours of tunes I really need to play in different positions and with different scale patterns to avoid sounding the same or recycling riffs. If I use a capo to use the same scale patterns everywhere - it's going to be hard to avoid that. But if I use the capo to play in different places on the fretboard on songs with the same key or similar progressions - it's going to be easier to avoid using the same riffs/patterns on every song.

    A tool can be used well or misused.
    Just be sure you're not a tool in how you use a capo, and all is well.
    Last edited by Markus; Apr-10-2012 at 8:56am.
    Breedlove OF
    Schmergl Devastator

  25. #50
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Capo is fine for banjo and guitar...why not mandolin?

    Ooops Ralph is right. I just tried playing with the fiddle and it is indeed in A. I assumed it was shifting up to D on my practice track, I would just fast forward thru it and get to the mandolin break. On youtube, I just tried to play in C and they were all in what I thought was D, but it is A. When I put the capo on the second fret (after it arrived in the mail) I still didn't match the fiddle key. Oh well...there goes my need for a capo...maybe...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •