Octaves- A Great Way To Find Your Way Around The Fretboard


Finding Your Way Using An Octave

An octave is a great way to find your way around the fretboard.

The Technical terminology for octave is: An Interval spanning seven diatonic degrees, eleven semitones. An Octave Definition is:

  • An octave above C is C. The frequency of a note one octave above another will have exactly twice as many Hertz as the frequency of the note an octave below it.

That sounds so complicated but actually the octave is one method in finding the same notes on the fretboard.

In fact once you learn the forms to use and practice using them it will make finding the notes easy.


How do Octaves work on a Guitar 

There are forms to find an Octave

  • One thing that you must know is all the notes on the 6th and 5th strings because the root note will be on those strings.
  • You can get a free resource guide to help you learn the notes on the fretboard. Just click the Link.

For this example we will use an A note on the 6th string. Which is on the 5th fret.

  • Your First finger will be at the A . Go two strings down, towards the ground and two frets across. Plant your third finger there. The note your 3rd finger will be on is an A note. With this form it will be on the 4th string.
Making an A octave
A Octave

Take the same form and start on the 5th string.

  • Using the same example we are at the D note on the 5th string. Go down two strings, towards the ground and across two frets. Now your third finger is on the 3rd string and it is a D note.
2nd Octave Form
Second Octave Form

The next form is from the D note on the 5th fret.

  • Go back two frets and down three strings.(towards the ground). You will be at the D note on the second string. This is an octave.
Octave form 3
Octave Form 3

Another Octave is at the 12th fret.

  • All the notes are the same as from the nut to the 12th fret, but its an octave higher.

The notes on the first and 6th string are the same notes.

  • For example if you are at the 3rd fret at the 6th string you are at the G note. If you are at the 3rd fret on the first string you are at the G note.

This is actually two octaves, but it is a way of knowing where the notes are providing you know all the notes on the 6th string.

Another example is at the 7th fret 6th string it is a B so is the 7th fret 1st string. Get it?

How do you play octaves on guitar?

 How Many Notes Are in An Octave 

Another way to look at it is you have a musical interval of 8 notes from C – C or From A to A.

  • This is the C major Scale C D E F G A B C
  • From A -A  or A Major is A B C D E F G A.

The Octave is The C and the next C is an octave apart.

Remember this if you were to sing this in key “Do re me fa so la te do”! This is an Octave. The Number of notes in an Octave is 8.

Although there are 8 notes in an octave there is only 6 tones. Let me explain why. First there are 12 music notes as you will see below and there are only 6 tones. The notes are as follows.

octave definition and example
Octave Definition and example

Octave Music 


To Know where to play the Octave on guitar there are two things you need. First off you need to know what key you are in. Second thing is the notes on the fretboard.

In Reality they go hand in hand. In order to know what key you are in you need to learn the notes on the fretboard. Which no one remembers every single note.

There are different strategy’s or tricks you can use to remember where you are on the fretboard. Also what note is at that point of the finger board.

One thing you can do to learn where the notes are on the guitar Signup to get a resource guide to help you. You will also get email news with the latest guitar tips.

Another tip is this video Learn All the Notes on the Fretboard Beginner Lesson. 

 How many octaves are on a 6 string guitar?

One thing that makes the guitar great is the playing fluency of the fretboard. There are 12 semitones and then at the 12th fret it starts over at a higher octave.

With so many different combinations of notes it makes playing easy in every key. To determine how many octaves on a 6 string guitar depends on the length of the guitar neck.

On a 6 string guitar that is tuned to standard tuning, and has 24 frets there are four octaves. As aforementioned in this post.

Octaves on Guitar Fretboard

When you hear an Octave it sounds the same because of the harmonics of the notes. The octave gives a nice ringing sound that gives the music that you are playing life and energy.

To summarize, to really learn the guitar inside and out. First you need to learn the notes, and then you can learn how to find notes using the octave forms.

By learning the different forms,  you can know in an instance where the notes are that you need to play the song.

I recommend that you take the tools that are offered here. And learn how to get around the fretboard. Take your time to learn it.

It may seem daunting at first but you will find that learning the notes will improve your playing. Start to learn one string at a time.

Take and write out each note, from the open notes all the way to the 12th fret. Then take your guitar and pluck a string and say the note out loud.

After that work on the octave forms one form at a time. Then work your way down the fretboard. Practice that a little each day and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

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