About Octaves (And Why You Should Care About Them)

28th June 2018

About Octaves

An octave is the range of pitches between two notes of the same sound. There are seven major notes in music, and the octave is so-called because it contains eight notes in total. If you play two Cs, each an octave apart, you will see that despite the difference in pitch, the notes sound the same.

This type of harmony is commonly known as a unison harmony.

Why You Should Learn How To Find Octaves On Guitar

One of the earliest and most important guitar lessons you should learn is finding octaves, and not just on a single string, but across strings too.

Everything you learn on guitar can be distilled in to geometric shapes and moved.  This mean every scale, lick, or chord you learn can be played in several different places opening up your musical pallets to different pitches and timbres that are unique to the instrument.

By understand octaves you’ll very quickly be able to take your existing skills and knowledge and explore more of the guitar by identifying the shapes of these things in different places on the fretboard.

Using octaves is a useful way of reinforcing melody lines.

When a melody is played simultaneously at different octaves; the ear interprets it as a single melodic voice. Octave lead playing stands out and is not that difficult to master.

Wes Montgomery was a jazz guitarist who made octaves his trademark and his influence is heard in the work of the guitarist George Benson.

Source: WIKI Books

Check out these interactive videos to see how octave masters like Wes Montgomery and George Benson use Octaves in their playing across many styles of music.

Octaves In Blues And Jazz

Octaves in Rock and Metal

Hopefully this has peaked your interest in Investing some time in learning about and understanding Octaves.


If they are a new topic for you start by checking out Finding Octaves on Single Strings.

If you are a little more advanced (or possible impatient ;)) check out Finding Octaves Across Strings.

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