The capo is the diminutive for capodastro, the Italian word for the “head of fretboard”.
It retains the same name in various formats in several other European languages.
The capo is placed on the neck of stringed instruments such as guitars, banjos or mandolins (generally used in fretted instruments) for the purpose of transposing and shortening the strings’ playable length in order to raise the pitch of the instrument.
Apart from the above-mentioned instruments, it is also used in ukuleles, mandolas, and bouzoukis.
Its earliest recorded usage was in the mid-17th century and it was first patented in the mid-19th century.
Ever since then, capos have been used in varied designs for raising the pitch of fretted instruments to enable the player to play in different keys via the same fingerings they would use when playing without capo or playing open.
The capo basically leverages the instrument’s fret to generate a higher note in a nut than the instrument’s actual nut can allow.
It allows you to play open strings at a higher pitch than would have been possible.
Some musical genres such as country and flamenco extensively use the capo while others such as jazz don’t rely on it as much.
The capo may seem like an indispensable feature of the stringed instrument but it is actually possible to play songs that need a capo even if you don’t have one.
All the singer has to do is adjust the tone of their voices to match the chords.
Fortunately, there are lots of beginner guitar songs without a capo that you can try out so don’t miss out on trying a new favorite just because it needs a capo.
Here is a compilation of some of the easy guitar songs that you can play without a capo.
‘Tulsa Time’ by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton has always been an accomplished guitarist so you can always expect his compositions to pose some difficulty.
However, this is not necessarily the case with Tulsa Time.
This is a cover for a Danny Flowers’ song by the same name and he doesn’t complicate things too much in this piece.
In Tulsa Time, he uses the A and E7 chords.
The E7 chord can be played like an E with the guitarist’s finger removed from the G string.
This song is catchy and has a faster tempo.
‘Everyday People’ by Sly and The Family Stone
Everyday People provides a mixture of funk and some little soul.
To play this without capo, you can keep on shifting from the C to G.
For the best rendition, it is advisable to listen to it a few times to get a handle on the rhythm.
‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ by Bob Dylan
This song uses the chords G, D, Am, and C.
It is a simple and slick song with only a few chords.
You will also have fun playing it.
‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’
by Taylor Swift
This Taylor Swift hit song uses the chords Cadd9, G, D, and Em7.
What makes this a good no capo guitar song for beginners is its steady rhythm along with chords which aren’t too demanding.
The Cadd9 is a C whereby the finger from B string has been transposed to the third fret.
The Em7 on the other hand is an Em whereby the finger is not on the D string.
‘What I Got’ by Sublime
You will need the D and G chords for this song and it offers you one of the simplest chord progressions making it one of the top easy guitar songs that you can play with no capo.
It initially sounds like a ska punk band but from the second verse, you will be playing the D and G chords for each line.
After this, you will subsequently play the D on one line followed by the G chord on the other line.
The progression is fairly easy to master and should be a piece of cake.
The middle song includes a slightly challenging short break although you can skip this part until you gain the requisite experience to handle it.
‘Moves Like Jagger’ by Maroon 5
Moves Like Jagger has an intermediate difficulty level and requires a capo on the 7th fret.
You can still play this chord progression with no capo.
‘Jane Says’ by Jane’s Addiction
This will require the chords G and A. Yes, beginners can also have the rock repertoire among their list of easy to play guitar songs with no capo.
The beauty of this song is its simplicity.
It’s repetitive and uses the G and A chords with only some small changes in the order.
However, this song will need faster strumming.
‘Eleanor Rigby’ by The Beatles
The chords you need in this song are the C, Em, Em6, and Em7.
This is a song where you will mostly utilize the Em chord variations.
Some guitarists might be intimidated by the Em chord variations but these are also easy to play.
To play the Em6 chord, the finger on the A string should be moved to the fourth fret.
Besides, Eleanor Rigby isn’t a complicated song and doesn't need frequent changes in neither the rhythm nor the tempo.
‘What’s Up’ by Four Non-Blondes
This song features more than three chords and utilizes the E, Am, G, D, and B chords.
These are chords that you can easily pick up, however, even as a beginner guitar player.
This is also an easily recognizable song that will be a huge hit with your audiences.
‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley
If you want to do some easy and memorable reggae song on the guitar with no capo, then Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is a sweet choice.
The tune is not only well-known but it is also simple and easy to strum on the guitar.
The song utilizes just three major chords namely, A, D, and E.
Strum at it intentionally.
The D chord in this song will be an open chord.
The song is also continuous and makes for fun jamming.
‘Bad Moon Rising’
by Creedence Clearwater Revival
You will love this fun bluesy song for its simple chord progression.
The progression utilizes the three chords D, A, G which will go as D | A| G | D.
The beginning features a G major chord when you come to the part of this song that goes “Don’t go around tonight..”.
‘I Wanna Be There’ by Blessed Union of Souls
You will get simplicity with this song thanks to its three major chords G, C, and D.
This makes an ideal guitar song for beginners as these chords are also some of the simplest to learn on the guitar.
Once you have these three chords figured out, you will have no problem learning how to strum for the rest of this song.
The chord progression will follow G | C | D| G.
Once you learn to flawlessly switch to each of these chords, you will have the whole of this song figured out on the guitar.
This is a fairly simple and easy to learn guitar song with no capo.
‘Love Me Do’ by the Beatles
This guitar song is fairly simple as it requires only two initial chords for the chorus.
These are the G major and the C major.
This goes on until you reach the chorus part of the song which goes as “Someone to love…” in which you will add the D major chord.
But with only two chords to start, this is undoubtedly one of the easy guitar songs with no capo and also one that you can learn to play quite easily.
‘Achy Breaky Heart’ by Billy Ray Cyrus
If you would want to try something from the country genre on the guitar and without capo, then Achy Breaky Heart would be a fantastic choice.
The lyrics are simple and easy to pick up and you can easily learn to strum it on the guitar.
It features very simple strums on the C and G chords.
The song consists of just two chords which makes it very easy on the guitar.
The verse and the chorus in this song also follow a similar pattern which makes it easy to learn this guitar song with no capo.
‘Unknown Legend’ by Neil Young
With just two chords, G and C, Unknown Legend is an easy and simple guitar song without capo that you can easily play as a beginner.
The song starts with an intro riff but this shouldn’t be a problem.
You can also opt to skip this part and head to the verse which is much simpler and straightforward.
Besides, strumming this song doesn’t require too much concentration once you have caught on.
‘Jambalaya’ by Hank Williams
Jambalaya also features two chords making it easier on the guitar.
It is an easy country song to learn with no capo.
This 1952 classic was named after a Louisiana dish and has been covered in multiple genres.
However, the original 1952 version of this song is still the easiest to play.
You only need to strum the C and G7 chords in this order on every verse line in the whole song.
You can play the G7 as a G chord with your finger resting on the E string moved to the first fret.