There was a time I used to be obsessed with capos. I remember playing whole worship sets with at least two capos in use on my guitar. Cut capo, regular capo, and a spare just in case. My band used to make fun of me to no end. They told me real musicians learned how to play real chords.
Of course, I made the case that I liked the texture of the chords I could play with capos. That was partially true. But I also enjoyed the liberty of not having to think that much while I led worship. And that’s the case I make for using capos in worship (or using the ‘transpose’ button if you lead from keyboard).
Why I Use a Capo in Worship Leading
You see; I’m not a guitar player when I stand in front of a congregation. I’m not even really a singer. I’m a worship leader. Now, I use guitar and singing as a tool. But those tools shouldn’t take all my attention where I can’t focus on leading the congregation.
When it came to playing a song in Bb, I could either (1) focus on playing bar chords or (2) detune or use a capo. The first option made me focus on my guitar playing. The second option made playing my guitar easy, so I could focus on leading.
Great musicians often play below their skill level in concerts, because it allows them to focus on the crowd. It makes the song sound effortless. Capos allow me to play below my skill level.
Should You Use a Capo?
Not necessarily. You should use whatever tools you have that make your worship sets sound effortless. You should use anything you can that helps you focus on leading the congregation. If you’re trying to impress your congregation with your guitar skills, you probably aren’t focusing on leading them.
I encourage you to make your musicianship effortless, so you can devote your energy to leading.
You’re a worship leader first. Musician second.
What do you think? Do you use capos or transpose features? What’s your rationale?