Using a capo to play guitar in awkward keys

Using a capo to play guitar in awkward keys

Substitute Chords – part 10 (the last part!)

We’ve now looked at 9 ideas for using substitute chords as an acoustic guitarist to add interest, strength and beauty to your sound.

In this last post let’s bring it all together and use those shapes for playing in awkward, non guitar friendly keys. So far we’ve looked at playing in the open keys of G C D A and E but what about combining those with a capo to play in keys like F#, Bb, A#, Eb etc? Most of the time people know one capo position for each weird key but if you work it through there are 4 or even sometimes 5 usable capo positions for use in conjunction with in substitute chord shapes we’ve explored.



Take a look at the table above. It gives you recommended, (green), not so recommended (black) and downright difficult (red) capo positions for playing in any key whilst using the G C D and E based shapes we’ve looked at over the last set of posts. If you put it to memory you’ll start to be able to play in awkward keys with a variety of shapes. As to how to work it out for your yourselves, some of you mathematical type will pick up the patterns straight away. Otherwise there is a whole section on the Intermediate Acoustic Worship Guitar course that outlines a logical and straightforward way to work out any capo position in any key, with lots of tests and exercises.

As I’ve mentioned before we’ve also packed the Acoustic DVDs with 7 hours of video lessons especially for acoustic guitarists involved in worship. So as well as the capo positions you’ll learn over 60 new substitute chord shapes, some included here in this set of posts, how to find the right strumming pattern for any groove, right hand and strumming arm technique ideas, finger style techniques, acoustic licks in the style of James Taylor, John Martyn and John Mayer, Travis picking for finger dexterity and use in hymns, how to use a high strung and baritone guitar in worship, an acoustic guitar buyers guide plus loads of other hints and tips from some of the best known worship leaders like Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Tim Hughes, Brenton Brown, Stu G, Vicky Beeching, Leeland and others.

Obviously this is a bit of an advert for the DVDs but do check out the info and the sample video lessons because we’ve invested a lot to making it the best resource we can to help build the skills of acoustic guitarists and worship leaders as they seek to worship the Lord and invest in their craft.

[Addition in April 2015] We have a great new Capo Positioning & Transposing for Guitar Course which goes into all this in much more detail.



See links below to previous posts in this series:

Substitute chords in G

Substitute chords in C

Substitute chords in D

Substitute chords in E

Substitute chords in A

Substitute chords in B

Substitute chords in B with a detuned E