Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Playing around with a capo


I am stumbling around with a capo, experimenting without knowing anything about what I am doing really. :slight_smile:

Wondering is it possible to place a capo on the frets to play in the Key of ‘D’, I have learnt to re-tune strings to achieve D but is a bit of a pain to change the tuning of the strings for one tune.


You can capo to D on the the 7th fret but it doesn’t usually sound that great capoed so high. I will usually play out of D chord position and only tune 5th string to A or leave it at G depending on the song. I’ve been working on playing more out of D chord and am loving the sound.

C chord capoed at 2 will result in D also

'…I will usually play out of D chord position and only tune 5th string to A…"

Thank you, I am not quite sure what you by 'playing out of D position…or…C chord capoed at 2.

Sorry I am new to the capo thing.:slight_smile:


In the key of G the basic chords you will use are G, C, and D.
In the key of D the basic chords you will use are D, G, and A.
In the key of C the basic chords you will use are C, F, and G.

These are the I, IV, and V chords of each of these keys (the most often used)

You can play out of the keys of C and D without using your capo, just by playing the chord patterns that go to that key. If you know how to make each of these chords.

Hope this helps, if not ask and I’ll try and explain further or might write the chords out in tab. Is there a specific song you are trying to do in the key of D? This might help the decision of how to approach it as all 3 different ways to play out of D that I’ve mentioned have somewhat different sounds and lend themselves to different songs better or worse.

Thank you, that helps a lot.

I am in the process of learning the version of Waltzing Matilda (link below) which is in the Key of D but requires the strings tuned (I think?). I was just curious as to whether the Key of D could be done simply with a capo.

The arrangement is the one posted by Tom Nelson, says it is open G but in the key of D, a little confused by that??


Wow, I sure don’t like the way he wrote that tab. Makes it so much more difficult for me to read by substituting the note names for the frets. I tried to figure out how to change it to displaying the frets but haven’t yet.

Cool song, my Dad used to sing it to me (among others) when I was a wee one. He will have passed on 14 years ago today w/my brother. Reading The lyrics brought back so many great memories.

Yes, this is played with no capo and the banjo is tuned in standard tuning (open G). The notes he is playing make the song be in the key of D (The chords above the tab also tell us this).

I am sorry to hear that but I am glad the song revived some nice memories.

Everyone in Australia pretty much thinks that Waltzing Matilda should be the official national anthem however the government kind of thinks that we should not be singing about a petty sheep thief at national celebrations.:slight_smile:

Yes I see what you mean. I am making my thru it. I do remove all the strumming and replace with a single note as I do not like strumming the banjo, I like to pick notes.:slight_smile:

Thank you for your help, it is much appreciated.