7 Ways To Use Octaves In Your Solos

The octave is the most perfect musical harmony, because the second note is exactly the same as the first, only higher or lower in pitch. This means the two notes mesh perfectly together. This unique sound is one that deserves to be used in your playing, and the great news is that it isn’t super hard to do.

When I play bass, I use octaves all the time because it’s an easy way to add some extra spice to a bass line without influencing the character of the overall chord being produced by the band, as would happen for instance, if I played a 3rd or a 5th in that same place. Sometimes you’re looking for a bit more activity in your bass line, but you still have to play it safe, so… octaves!

But this lesson is about the guitar. We’re going to look at 3 octave patterns, 3 ways to play those, and 1 way to use octaves as an approach to moving around your fretboard.

All the examples in the video are from A pentatonic minor, which I perhaps should have made more clear.

Here’s a big takeaway: once you have the pattern locked in, practice by moving through your scale (any scale – doesn’t have to be pentatonic).

Some of the sounds you get from octaves immediately make you think of jazz music, but the reality is, you’ll find octaves used in all music, everywhere. So, learn the patterns and get to work applying them to your own music!

If you need help understanding your fretboard better, I recommend my Guitar Scale Patterns course.

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