Transpose THIS

Is it Tuesday already?


Last week you were asked to take "You Make Me Brave" and transpose it to C (essentially just removing the capo) and then capoing it on 3 to play A shapes and 5 to play G shapes.  The beauty of getting comfortable with transposing is that it opens up options for different voicings.  Even if a song is in the key of G, capoing up and playing C shapes adds a totally different sound and that makes you a more versatile player.  Versatility is awesome.  On to the answer:

We'll use the intro progression of  F2 Dm7 C/E C to illustrate.

To go from C to A shapes (Capo 3):



Your chord shape progression now becomes: D2 Bm7 A/C# A

And C to G shapes (Capo 5):



Your chord shape progression now becomes: C2 Am7 G/B G

Lead Guitar Answer

In this one I asked you to transpose the intro riff from Eb to G.  You run out of frets going higher so you have to drop the riff down an octave.  Personally I find it easiest to drop the Eb riff an octave and then count up 4 frets up to give me this:

I offered bonus points (which are worth only the knowledge that you are skilled since this isn't an actual test) for not using the high E string.  That should have given you this:

For next week - Your Grace Is Enough by Chris Tomlin:

Acoustic - The song is in the key of A.  This week you're going to keep it there but your going to capo somewhere and play it with G shapes.  You can test it by playing along with the recording.  It should match.

Lead Guitar - This one's going to be tricky.  The song utilizes a droning open string.  Lower the key to F and figure out how to keep that drone going over the intro.

Get to work

As always I've attached the relevant links below and will take questions in the comments section if you need help.

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

Transpose THIS

Login to post comments


Trying hard to understand

Hey Jason,

I love what your doing and I always look forward to learning more from you. I'm a bit confused by some statements above and I'm hoping you can help me out.

In my mind to transpose the lead from Eb to G I scoot everything up 4 frets. What does "You run out of frets going higher" mean. Can't I slide the first 9 up to 13 and play the same tab? (Granted the whole don't use the high E string concept goes out the window if I only slide up to the 13)

Second, I see the new tab an octave higher but in my mind there has been no transpostion to the new key of G. Am I missing something?

Thanks again,

I see the confusion

I've only posted the answer from last week. You are correct in saying you would simply move up 4 frets to get to Eb but the original riff from the recording starts on the 17th fret so in last weeks post I suggested dropping it an octave and then moving up from there. The two tabs in this post are the same exact notes (the riff in the key of G), they are just 2 different ways to play them. Does that make sense?

Droning Open String

Hey Jason-

LOVE the new posts on transposing and I have a question. We're playing God's Not Dead this Sunday and taking it from the original key of B down to A. Seems like a pretty easy transposition till you look at the "Opening Riff" which has that droning B string throughout.

My idea is this....tune the B string down a full step to A and then move the riff down two frets. Since for now I am not playing the arpeggiated chords during the last part of each verse, but instead just playing the low end of the barre chords, this should not affect any of the chords and give that all important drone to the opening riff. Later I figure I can come back and get after those arpeggios in the new key (and the alternate tuning) but for now, since I am brand new to electric guitar (just got one a couple of months ago), I am doing well just to get this far.

Do you think this is this a viable solution musically as well as workable during worship? How would you make such a transposition if you were doing this?

If you're going to tune one string

You might as well just tune the whole thing down. The beauty is you can simply capo up 2 frets to get back to standard. There is a long list of players that tune their guitars down and I did myself for an old band I played in. Because you've tuned your guitar down all the tabs would stay exactly the same. The other option is to capo on the second fret, use the open g as the drone and play the high octave of the riff in a. You would start your riff at the 17th fret of the b. All your chords would then be using g shapes. Does that make sense?

Makes Perfect Sense

Thanks for the suggestions Jason. I am going to experiment with each of them to find out what's going to work best for this particular worship set and the fact I only have a few days to practice.

God's Not Dead in A

Ok, so I wanted to give you an update and thanks again Jason for getting me thinking!

I tried out your suggestions and thought the tuning the whole guitar down would work if we had two guitars. Needless to say, my inexperience really showed today and I totally bombed rehearsal. Funny how God always has lessons for me every time I get the opportunity to play with the team. Today was definitely no exception.

I didn't like the opening riff played way up on the 17th fret with the open G as the drone. It sounded to shrill to my ear and just not right. I got it worked out to use another guitar to tune down a full step because we are going to open worship with God's Not Dead and I didn't want to complicate things more on the rest of the set with more capo stuff. I'd really rather not use a capo on electric. Regardless, the other guitar did not like the lower tuning and I struggled all through that part of rehearsal because I couldn't get or stay in tune. I felt like a total rookie, I guess because I am!

After rehearsal I came home and was determined to find another way and here it is.

I am going to play G shapes with capo 2 to get everything in A. For the opening riff, I prayed about it and here is what God brought me. The drone is on the A and to simplify this explanation, I will speak relative to the capo.

So the riff starts out middle finger on the D string 5th fret (drone), pinky on G string, 7th fret (melody), then leaving middle finger on the drone note, lift pinky to index on 4th fret, G string, then back to pinky on 7th fret, G string, keeping the drone under middle finger and on the D string...this is your tuning note for the G string. At this point the drone switches to the open G string and the melody note goes to the D string, 4th fret, index finger and finishes off middle finger on the 5th fret of the D string, again, with the drone note now on the open G.

Make sense?