Tuning your Guitar for a Capo

Okay, here’s the problem… I tune up my acoustic, put a capo on and it sounds out of tune. I check the tuning and each string is out by a different amount because the capo is pulling the strings out of tune.

What I really need is to tune the open strings so that each one is out of tune by exactly the right amount. That way when I put the capo on it’ll sound right!

This may sound fairly simple, BUT when you try it with a conventional tuner you have to remember how much to detune each string - and let's face it - it's not that intuitive to aim for 8 cents flat (for example).

Here's how to tune for a Capo with PitchSlap:

Step 1.

Start off by creating a new tuning.

I’m going to call mine 'Capo on Fret 1'.

Step 2.
  • Now tune your guitar pretty carefully to get every string within about a cent.
  • Then record each of these tunings using the intonator.
Step 3.
  1. Fit the capo to the guitar (in my example it’s right up behind the first fret).
  2. Record each string again - this time you should get readings for the fret where you placed the capo.
  3. Pause the recording and hit the ‘Simulate’ button.

Then, for each of the strings do the following:

Using the buttons on the left of the display adjust the tuning until the label aligns with the centre line of the scale and is as close to zero as you can get it.

Hit save.

Step 4.

Once that is done head back to the tuning tab, the offsets should appear with a black background beneath the note for each string.

Now you have your custom tuning ready, the next bit is what you’ll do each time before you put the capo on.

Make sure the capo has been removed and tune the guitar using your new tuning. PitchSlap will now tune to the offset notes so you can just tune up as usual.

When you’re done, put on the capo and check the result. You may need to go through the whole process a couple of times to get every string right, but once you’ve done that you can use the tuning again and again!

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