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[b]Help with Octaves[/b]

alamon2alamon2 Calgary, Alberta, CanadaNew
edited January 2009 in Technique Posts: 7
A thread from one of the other gypsy guitar lists was on 'Tremelo' technique and it was great. A few contributors laid out their practice and development techniques and the combination provided a better treatise on the topic than has ever been covered in any books I've seen.

How about Octaves??

Robin Nolan had a Octaves page in one of his books but I'm looking for more help and more practice methods in developing clarity, smooth changes and good tone.

Any thoughts out there??
aldo
Al LaMonaca
«1

Comments

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,049
    not too much to say but here are a few things that could be useful...

    left hand fingerings : some use the 1st and 3rd fingers on the lower string sets and switch to 1 and 4 on the upper string sets (D and B ; G and E).... and others use only 1 and 4 to keep things consistent... with the remaining fingerings, it is a good idea to mute any unwanted strings, a good idea would be to find a way to block any unwanted strings with whatever possible/reasonable means

    position of octaves : should be fairly straightforward, if an octave passage is too hard try transposing one or some of the octaves to a different string set.... but in general try to go for a system of fingerings that will give the smoothest sound (usually the least amount of string switching will give that)

    right hand: if you follow the guidelines for the left hand fingerings, you're safe to whack all the strings (which is what most GJ players do) and if the other strings are properly muted, only the octave will come out and it will sound full and rich.... a lot of GJ players also like to precede each attack with a VERY quick upstroke (like a snap), it gives a bit of extra punch and swing to the attack
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    Thanks Dennis. Do you use your thumb for muting? Do you always play them with only one string in betweeen those fretted or sometimes with two?
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    mmaslan wrote:
    Thanks Dennis. Do you use your thumb for muting? Do you always play them with only one string in betweeen those fretted or sometimes with two?

    If it was two strings between surely they wouldn't be octaves anymore?
    Also--why so much talk about the left hand thumb--i hardly use mine at all because i have small hands--i don't think its really that important.
    Stu
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,049
    mmaslan wrote:
    Thanks Dennis. Do you use your thumb for muting? Do you always play them with only one string in betweeen those fretted or sometimes with two?

    so far i've never seen the 2 strings-in-between variation used in this style, that seems to be more suited for fingerpicking; stu i believe he meant the one where u play the upper octave with the index and the lower one with the ring finger

    i personally don't use my thumb for muting strings when playing octaves , and i dont think i've ever seen it anyone do it that way either
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    There is some talk of this in the Angelo Debarre book. If I remember right (I loaned my copy to a friend) It say to use the 1st and pinky use the meat of the other fingers to mute unwanted strings. watch some video's of players do it it really isn't a hard technique but difficult to do fast and Melodicaly.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • La GitaneLa Gitane Llanelli, UK✭✭✭
    Posts: 48
    Hi Denis

    I've just been watching Vol 2 of your excellent Jazz Manouche Technique & Improvisation DVD. Although I've seen various ways of playing octaves, I was really impressed by the minimal movement that you use in your octaving technique, and would like to learn exactly how you do this.

    2 questions:

    1) From repeatedly watching the DVD, my understanding of your technique is as follows:

    a) For root note on the D (4th) string - e.g. playing an octaved "A":

    E (6th) string damped by middle finger at 8th fret
    A (5th) string " " " " " " "
    D (4th) string fretted by index finger at 7th fret
    G (3rd) string damped by index finger at 7th fret
    B (2nd) fretted by little finger at 10th fret
    e (1st) damped by little finger at 10th fret

    b) For root note on the G (3rd) string - e.g. playing an octaved "D":

    E (6th) string not played / not damped by any finger (or ? damped by the tip of the middle finger)
    A (5th) string damped by middle finger at 8th fret
    D (4th) string " " " " "
    G (3rd) string fretted by index finger at 7th fret
    B (2nd) string damped by index finger at 7th fret
    e (1st) fretted by little finger at 10th fret

    - in both examples, the LH ring finger just seems to "float" above the strings throughout and is not involved in either fretting or damping.

    - is my understanding of your technique correct?

    2) How do you finger & damp the frets when you switch to playing octaves with roots on the A (5th) and E (6th) strings?

    Many thanks in anticipation.

    Best wishes
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,049
    wow this sure is an old thread!!! i basically finger the octave and with whatever remaining finger i mute the other strings... what you might miss is that I also use a bit of the fretted fingers to catch a few other strings as well..

    for example with my index, i will sometimes curl it in such a way that i catch the treble strings, or i might fret the fret more towards the pad of the index so the tip touches the adjacent lower string...

    so basically my fingers are all relatively flat, which in non-barre chord contexts, is a classical nono... but hey we're not playing classical guitar!!!

    the important thing is to brush all the strings with the right hand (pick or thumb) as if you were lighting a match, that's how wes does it, and we all know he's the king of octaves after this guy

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=28abpbNwZlU
  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    That video just gave me a seizure...
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    I notice he's disabled comments on that particular video. Probably couldn't stand all the criticism of his noisey & vulgar technique.
  • La GitaneLa Gitane Llanelli, UK✭✭✭
    Posts: 48
    Thanks Dennis!

    I know it's an old thread, but seeing as how the oldies are the best, I thought I'd resurrect it! :wink:

    Just to clarify - do you use index + ring finger or index + little finger when playing octaves with root notes on the low E (6th) and A (5th) strings?

    As for the shredding video, I was particularly impressed by the guy's subtle use of dynamics, melodic motifs, chord inversions and tritone substitution to create a beautiful solo - he sure could teach Django a thing or two... :)

    Best wishes
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