As you play new songs and sing along with your favorite tunes, your voice may not match up nicely with the open position chords used. A guitar capo is a great way to shift the pitch of chords you play. The beauty of the capo is that you can still use the same open position chords you are learning. If you have a higher singing voice, or just want to experiment with a different pitch, simply attach your capo to the desired fret. You can then play the open position chords directly below the capo. In the photo below, the capo is placed on the 2nd fret. Just pretend that the neck of the guitar starts on the 2nd fret and form your desired chord (such as G, C or D major). The chords will automatically be shifted to a higher pitch without you having to change anything! It's an inexpensive and fun way to get so much more out of your guitar.
Kyser guitar capo for the past few years and it's been terrific for me. This capo is well made and has a nice gold color to it, and it's very easy to press and clamp onto my guitar. What I like about this capo is that once it's on a particular fret, it's not going anywhere. Quality is important, so just like buying a good guitar, I recommend paying a little extra for a well built capo. They come in all sorts of variations including different colors, shapes and extras, including some that even include a tuner on top! I won't be covering the guitar theory of what actually happens to the notes on the guitar when you use a capo for this post since that is a little too advanced for beginners at this stage of playing. Just concentrate on the chord forms and see what happens to the sound when you use a capo on your guitar.
As you get better at playing, you will want to advance to barre chords, which essentially allow you to move up and down the neck of the guitar. Your left index finger goes across the strings and essentially acts as a capo. It's pretty tricky, but once you're able to barre chords, it will open a whole new world for what is possible on the guitar!
Bottom Line: I would definitely encourage beginning players to purchase a *quality* guitar capo. It can help you to be more creative and it's a fantastic way to open up more of the neck of the guitar, especially if you are not comfortable with barring chords.
What are your thoughts on capos? Do you have any recommendations for good ones that are out there?