Exploring New Sounds with the Short-Cut Capo

Over the years, I’ve heard so many encouraging stories from many of you regarding playing the guitar using the cut capo. It’s really exciting to find out that it’s been a key part of someone learning to play guitar. For instance, last summer, I finally had the chance to meet Jon Guerra of Vertical Church Band. Jon’s music has been a blessing to me in my ministry for several years now. To hear him tell me that the Short-Cut capo was integral to his learning guitar is humbling. It’s amazing how the Lord works!

I’ve been writing about this capo for many years now. I’m sure there are new players out there that have yet to try it out…just like Jon.

Over the years, I’ve covered the general use of the cut capo… placing it on the 2nd fret and playing songs in the key of “E” or “A” then using a 6-string capo to move the cut capo up the fretboard and play in different keys. As a worship leader, this is how I find the Short-Cut capo the most useful. However, this capo is not limited to this basic use. We’re going to take a step back and look at it in a different way. Let’s review first what a capo (6-string) is made for.

A full capo placed on the first fret will move the string notes UP ½ step. In this position, you can finger an “E” chord and you will hear an “F” chord… play a “G” chord and you’ll hear a “G#” chord. Place the full capo on the 2nd fret and the string notes move UP another ½ step (1 full step total)… now that “G” chord is an “A”.

The 6-string capo is used to allow you to use the chord voicing you prefer in the correct key for a specific song. For instance, if the vocalist prefers to sing in the key of “A”, the guitar player can easily place the full capo on the 2nd fret and play in the key of “G”. Notice that “G” is LOWER on the scale than “A”… when the capo moves UP the fretboard, the chord moves DOWN the scale. That means that we can move the full capo UP 3 more frets (fret 5) and play in the key of “E” for the same song (key of A). This can also be helpful when you have 2 guitars playing together – using 2 different voicings.

Now, let’s apply this principle to the Short-Cut capo. Remember, move the capo UP the fretboard and move your chord shapes DOWN the scale. Our chord shapes are modified to make use of the design of the Short-Cut capo – allowing strings 1, 2, and 6 to ring open.  However, you may choose to finger strings 1, 2, and/or 6 to add color in your chord voicing. Also remember, we’re playing in the key of “E.”

Place the Short-Cut capo on fret 2 and use the shapes from the key of “D,” this is DOWN one step from “E” (chords would be D, A, G, Em). Place the Short-Capo on the 4th fret and use the shapes from the key of “C” (C, F, G). You can also place it on the 7th fret and use the shapes from the key of “A” (A, D, E). Or, place the capo on the 9th fret and use the shapes from the key of “G” (G, C, D). NOTE: in these positions, we’re changing the voicing of the chord but we’re still playing in the key of “E.”

All of these voicings can be applied to different keys with the use of 2 capos.  However, you’re limited by the length of the neck of you’re guitar. So, take your Short-Cut capo, move it into these fret positions and give it a try. Play a couple of the chords in that voicing and see what you hear. You’ll be surprised to see what God can show you once you put your fingers to the strings!

Keep worshiping Him!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.