Partial capoing is very good for getting new textures and new inspirations. Using partially capoed strings will give you new ‘rubs’ of small intervals: like 2nds, that sound so good on a guitar, and can inspire new songs.
This is not to demean more traditional musical tools. If you’ve listened to some of the more sophisticated pop tunes, you’ll hear the beauty and power of transposing. [ex: the transition to the last chorus of ‘New York, New York’ ]
How can a songwriter reap the benefits of open string rubs, AND, be able to move to different key centers? Answer: the partial capo.
We study the guitar to learn to play in different keys so that we can transpose within a song. This is an example of when the partial capo, as opposed to open tunings [actually turning the tuning pegs of the instrument], pays off. The reason is that your study of the instrument is not lost when you use a partial capo. This is because the intervals between the strings has not been changed, so the formations, chords, and voice leading techniques you’ve acquired can still be used.
As a result, over time,:
- you can build a singular body of musical knowledge that is ever progressing, as opposed to specific shapes that only work in a certain open tunings.
- you can use many different partial tunings without undo confusion-because the instrument remains the same.
- because the interval shapes on the guitar are consistent per tuning, you foster the ability to improvise -which is the starting point of music composition and allows consistent transfer of musical ideas from the ear….to the guitar.
Yours in music;