Posted by: worshipguitarguy | August 25, 2006

That Funky “Half” Capo

Cut capos have become very popular with worship leaders in the past few years.  It originally began when artist Billy Foote wrote the song “You Are My King” for use with a cut capo.  Soon after, Chris Tomlin picked up on using a cut capo with many of his songs, and Mitch Bohannon of Bo’s Capo’s developed a design that was marketed by Kyser.  From there, the rest is history.  So, if you’ve wondered what in the world those little stubby capo things are, here’s the story…

The cut capo is one that’s been cut, (either through manufacturing or other means) to cover the A, D, and G strings on the second fret.  With the capo, your guitar is put in an E suspended tuning… which lets you play songs in the key of E much easier, since you can fret chords with one or two fingers. 


There are a couple of ways you can get a cut capo.  First, Kyser makes a cut capo that’s available for purchase online.  (  Second, you could take an old capo and simply cut out the rubber that would usually cover the low E, B, and high E strings.  Third, some guitarists just take a standard capo and turn it around backwards, since the back support is big enough to cover the three strings.  The only problem is on some guitars, it doesn’t apply even pressure across the fret, so you’ll have to retune your guitar to the capo.  (and retune it when you take the capo off.)


When putting the capo on, make sure to place it as close to the bar as possible… this will give you the best tuning.  (See above image) 

The following illustrates how to play popular chords in the key of E with a cut capo.


With a cut capo, you’re not just limited to the key of E.  (This is where the famous double capo comes into play.)  If you want to play in another key, all you have to do is use a full capo as your base, then place your cut capo two frets above it.  Playing in the key of G for example, you’d put your full capo on the third fret, and your cut capo on the fifth fret.   

The cut capo has obvious uses for acoustic worship leaders, but I also use one as an electric player.  Take a look at the E chord in the diagram above.  Notice how your finger is fretting a B note (on the G string).  You can create unique lead riffs by sliding up and down the E major scale on that string while letting the A and D strings. (Which capo’ed are B and E notes.) ring out. 


For more information on cut capo techniques, check out the tutorials, videos, etc. on Mitch Bohannon’s site.




  1. Gerry,

    Thanks for such a helpful post – guitar has always been something that I can play just well enough, but not nearly as well as other instruments. And here I’ve been trying to figure out how some recent worship songs sound like they’re being played on open strings!!

  2. Very Interesting. Why aren’t you french 😉 We need somes resources like that in french, made by christians.

    I knew this capo but I thought that it was about a gadget. Now, I think I will buy one of them.

    Thanks for your post !

  3. Gerry, Thanks for this writing about the cut capo.. I was actually just thinking about writing about the cut capo because I use mine a ton. I love it and I realized that not to many people use it.

    Personally, as I said before, I love the cut capo. I love the way my guitar sounds with it on. I especially love that I can use alot of bass notes with my chords and they are really easy to do.

    One thing I did want to note was with the F#m you actually have to reach behind the capo to hit that bottom F# note. It’s pretty cool but takes some getting used to… plus when else do you get to reach behind your capo? Gotta love that!

    – Vic

  4. I love this backward capo!! Also- I transpose frequently from EBC#A to GDEmC- – really helpful.

  5. great article, I use the cut capo fairly often when playing, it creates a really great drone since the high B and E strings are (usually) never fretted. Plus it’s so simple to learn and then when you switch keys and but out the double capo people will be like, wow he must be really good.

    Also, thanks for the tip on the lead guitar technique using the cut capo. You can also play a killer lead on the song ‘Come thou fount’ using this capo.

  6. Those that love the cut-capo should check out

    such a great product!!


  7. opps sorry, the link is


  8. Excellent article on using a “fret lobster” to play music for the Lord.

  9. Nicely written! I had a look around your blog…. Great stuff here. Keep up the good work. I’ll be adding you to my blogroll.


  10. what’s with your diagrams, dude? are you playing a left-handed guitar? the photo’s right, but the illustrations are completely backwards…

  11. Gerry, Nice post!

    Be sure to check us out at

    Take care!

  12. Man, this thing kicks but! Such a pretty sound. Thanks for finally telling me how to use this after having it for a few years =D Yes!

  13. How do you play a D?

  14. I think the diagram or pictures are either reversed or a left-handed guitar. Otherwise this is great!!!

  15. Here are a few tabs for “Cut capo guitar”.

  16. This is great tutorial.

    Here’s another simple guide I found:

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