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Thread: capo on an octave

  1. #1
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default capo on an octave

    Hi all. I recently bought (rather impulsively) a used Gold Tone octave. It's about 22.5 scale. I'm finding it easier to play than I'd expected but I'm also wondering about capoing it at the second fret and then tuning it gdae. It seems to me that since there are 20" octaves this ought to work ok. The strings on it are old and flabby and don't work well capoed so I'm going to get new ones. But just wondered if anyone had any thoughts.
    Cary Fagan

  2. #2
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: capo on an octave

    Yes, I’ve done exactly that; my previous OM has a similar scale length to yours and I found it a stretch so capped at the second fret. My current one has a 20” scale and the manufacturer recommends 014/.022w/.032w/.045w which work well. I’m guessing if you tuned FCGD and capoed at the second fret they would seem similar - or use a string calculator for a more precise result.

  3. #3
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: capo on an octave

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    ... don't work well capoed so I'm going to get new ones.
    Strings are like tires: you WILL need new ones. With benign finger chemistry, I get maybe 10,000 miles of driving for each set of strings. Heck, many pros change strings for each show, and some of us hackers change strings more often than we fill the tank

    The side benefit is that (most) strings are cheap, so it's not overly expensive to experiment w/ different gauges. Juststrings.com and/or Stringsandbeyond.com should make it easy to mix & match.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  4. #4
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: capo on an octave

    I play a 22.5" scale Weber OM, and I've thought about doing this. Maybe not now, but I'm not getting any younger, and my hands get sore after playing enough faster tunes. It's an idea I'm sort of keeping in reserve for the future.

    My current strings are a D'Addario EJ80 set with a heavier string on top -- .013, .022w, .032w, .046w. Tuning down to FCGD, I would probably start with something like .014, .024w, .036w, .048w and adjust as needed. Maybe a little heavier on the bottom, because the .046 at full scale could use some beefing up.

    Keep in mind that you may lose a little sustain with a capo at the second fret, compared to open strings at the same pitch. Heavier strings will help compensate, but there is still a relationship between scale length and sustain. The effect may or may not be noticeable, depending on how your instrument is built. This is why I'm putting off the idea as long as possible, until my hands really can't handle the stretch. I love the sustain on this OM.

  5. #5
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: capo on an octave

    Thanks all for the quick responses. I found some EJ80s in my string box so I'll try them first. I'm not sure if I want to stay with the capo, but figure I'll try it. And this octave has more than enough resonance to spare some.

  6. #6
    Registered User jonny250's Avatar
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    Default Re: capo on an octave

    i would recommend the John Pearce strings, imo much much better than D'Addario, but try what you have and see...
    Have you found a good capo?

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