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Partial Capo Notation

The partial capo presents a few new problems and challenges in notation that need to be worked out.

ISSUE #1- How to name and describe partial capo configurations

I believe the best way to quickly show a capo configuration is to use a 6-digit number, reading bass to treble, left to right. This handles multiples capos also, and as long as you are in standard tuning it is all you need. I made up names for configurations like "Drop E" and "E modal" and "Drop C" over the years, and I notice others have made up contradictory names, and I think this number system ends all the confusion instantly. It both names and describes it at once:

The Esus configuration thus would be 0 2 2 2 0 0. The Esus configuration with a full capo at the 3rd fret thus would be 3 5 5 5 3 3

If you use a different tuning, you would also need to use 6 letters to accompany the 6 numbers, but even for the most complex capo situations, you would never need more than the 6 letters and 6 numbers.

ISSUE #2- How to write TAB for the partial capo

I believe you should draw a diagram of the partial capo on each staff of TAB, almost like a key signature, and I have always done this with my arrangements. This example is in Drop E capo:

The other big and thorny issue is whether to count TAB from the nut or the capo, and thus whether or not to use negative numbers in the TAB to indicate playing behind the capo. Read a careful discussion of this.