A couple of guitar questions

  1. The fret boards on nylon string guitars are much wider than on steel string acoustics or electric guitars. Why?

  2. Capos are commonly used on acoustic guitars but rarely on electric ones. Why?


  1. Classical is played thumb on the back of the neck and a lot of intricate fingering where multiple melodic lines are being played at once; the extra width supports that dexterity.

  2. Capos are used on electrics - ask Keith Richards and Albert Collins. I dunno maybe because they are associated with certain genres - country and country blues are capo-friendly; hard rock, punk and metal, not so much. But those guys flail around a lot, so maybe capos would get knocked off :wink:

In answer to your second question I’d say it’s because acoustic players are more likely to play in a style that relies on the open strings - say a bluegrass player who primarily plays open G, C, and D shape chords with connecting bass runs - capoing up when playing in keys like Ab, Bb, B, etc. rather than trying to play out of a more closed position is a lot easier (and perhaps more “authentic” sounding).

People tend to use capos to do what are called “open chords” most electric styles use barre chords or the type of chord where you use a finger as a “capo”.

This is a bit easier due to the lower string tension, lighter strumming and lighter strings that can be used on an electric guitar.

I own a capo but I have only ever used it to set the “truss rod” which sets the curve of the neck.

Most rock style chords are power chords, meaning root, fifth, octave. Which can be played anywhere up and down the neck with equal ease. You don’t really need a capo if the only chords you play are power chords, they work just as well in every key.

Even if more strings are used, the third is usually muted, so you just get (with an A power chord, for example) A, E, A, e, a, with the higher strings represented by lower case letters.

Another reason: Anyone who switches from a steel string guitar to a classical guitar will notice how those nylon strings feel like rubber bands under calloused fingertips. They vibrate much more than steel, so they need more elbow room to keep from hitting the next string over.

Ah, that makes sense.

Also the string tension difference makes sense for why electric guitarists rarely use capos. It’s just much easier to finger those bar chords.

Exactly; again, though, there are plenty of exceptions.

**minor7flat5 **- fair point; I am aware of how “nylon illiterate” I am, in terms of how to hold my fretting hand to maximize the sonority of the tone and the sustain of the note. I grab classicals like I grab my steel strings…:frowning: