How to Use a Capo Transition Chart

Many guitarists make use of a capo to change the key they are playing in. This is a quick and easy way to put the guitar into a higher key for a vocal part that is too low. You can also change the key to another one so that it is easy to play along with other instruments. You can however forget what key you are currently playing into. How many times have you transposed a piece of music but can’t quickly work out what key you are actually playing in.

Why transpose a song?

For instance if your chords are in the key of C but you have the capo just below the thirs fret, do you immediately know what key you are now in. Some guitarists can do this in a split second but for people who want to learn to play guitar this can take a few minutes to work out.

How a Capo Transition Chart Works

That is the value of having a Capo Transition Chart. You simply reference the key you are playing in with the fret position of the capo to find the transposed key. Simple. This is quite helpful to people who are learning the guitar and have only learnt a few chords. It means that you can transpose into a key signature where you can play the chords.

I recommend however that you learn at least one new chord a day to get rid of this limitation on your playing as soon as possible. In the meantime here is a small part of a capo transition chart for you to experiment with. The formatting on this page limits how pretty I can make it look but you will get the general idea.

Original Key Chords C E A D

Position 3 New Key Eb G C F

Position 5 New Key F A D G

This just gives you a quick example of the more common key changes you use a capo for. You can get a complete chart that shows all the start keys and the related new keys on a full capo transition chart.