Cheating With Muse’s Matthew Bellamy

Sure, we can thank the capo for many a singer/songwriter never learning barre chords, but branding the handy string clamp a “cheater” is a bit like calling a handgun a peacemaker—it only describes one of the gizmo’s possible applications. Take it from great guitarists such as Matt Bellamy (leader of the British buzz band Muse)—capos are useful to players of all skill levels. Bellamy, for example, could have played his entrancing, Baroque-sounding guitar part on “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” (similar to the lick shown here) without a “cheater.” But that capo, in effect, magically transformed his instrument into a piccolo guitar by shifting the nut up to the 10th fret, where those upper-register notes act as open strings and chime for days. (Tip: For extra clang, play the phrase with distortion.)
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