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How to Play the Octave Position on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play the octave position on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Okay. Let's talk about the octave position.

There's a different position for each pair of strings with an octave. If I look at the sixth string and I play any note, say, G, I have an octave two frets higher and two strings away. I can play these together and I can dampen the string in the middle. That's the fifth string. That gives me an octave. I can move that anywhere on the neck.

If I go to the next set of strings, strings three and five, I can play an octave here and here. So, it looks just like strings four and six.

By the way, these were popularized in the fifties with the guitarist Wes Montgomery that would play them in a very jazzy manner. But they work great in rock music. They work great as a substitute for power chords, and I'll demonstrate that in a minute.

If I play an octave on the second string and fourth string there's a tuning difference. So, now the notes are two frets away. Here's my G, and here's my next G.

And if I play on the first and third string this is my octave position. Looks the same as on the second and fourth string.

What I want to be able to do is play these, play any melody with octaves. Sliding is a great thing. So, I have to change depending on the tuning.

As I said earlier, these make great substitutes for power chords, and you can use them in rips. I'm going to demonstrate that right now.

I can combine these with power chords.

Just remember that it's two frets on strings four and six, two frets on strings three and five, three frets on strings two through four, and three frets on strings one through three.

This is the octave position. Enjoy.

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