Is Guitar Easier To Play With Capo?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Technically, in terms of whether capos make playing easier is a matter of opinion. It depends on what you want to achieve and how you aim to use the capo.

In some ways, capos make the guitar easier to play, perhaps not really in terms of learning the guitar, but in a way, when you’re using a capo, it takes less effort to keep the strings down in place. This is because a capo tightens the strings. Hence, the string height is reduced from that position all the way down the neck, so holding them down in place won’t strain your fingers too much. 

For instance, when you’re holding a chord at the 5th fret instead of the 1st fret, the amount of pressure required is substantially less. Your hands won’t feel too sore because you’re not pressing the strings as hard.

Aside from that, when you use a capo, the gap between the fretboards gets closer. This allows your hand to easily reach the otherwise inaccessible frets due to the wider gap. So, a capo can make playing guitar easier for this reason because it narrows the gap between frets, thus allowing you to move from one fret to another in a swifter motion. 

It also makes it easier for people with smaller hands because the capo makes the frets a fraction closer together, making it easier to play and change the chord. For instance, you would notice the difference when you try playing a C chord in the 1st fret versus on the 4th fret. It is significantly easier to play a chord when the frets are narrower in length. The capo has very little to do with making guitar playing easier; it simply raises the pitch without requiring the guitar to be tuned.

However, there are also downsides to using the capo. If you use it too much, you end up relying on it instead of learning to thoroughly understand the guitar and how to play it “correctly.” This is a disadvantage for beginners, especially if you use the capo to avoid barre chords. 

When you wish to play in different keys, it’s simple to limit yourself by putting on a capo and using the same fundamental “open” chord forms. Hence, it’s up to whether or not the capo makes your playing experience easier.