Guitar Sheet Music — Read the Octaves in 5 Steps

The guitar is one of the most sought-after instruments people rush out to learn, and many find it too difficult to pick up. Even looking at the guitar sheet music will indicate its rich complexity. Many musical instruments simply require the musician to read one note at a time, but not so with the guitar — you may have to handle six at a time.

Of course you don't simply rush in and begin reading all six notes at once. This only leads to frustration and may cause you to lose interest. If you want to succeed, then go slowly and begin small, just one-two notes at any given time. You can learn to read two notes at once if you learn the octaves. What follows are five steps to read the octaves in guitar sheet music.

Before you start playing, you will need to go over a song and find two notes that are the same, stacked atop one another. That is called an octave. What you will do from there is to place the index finger from your opposite hand that you write with, and put it on the bottom note of the octave. Then you will need to put your ring finger on the top note.

Once you have positioned your fingers in this way, just strum the notes with your dominant hand. Don't let the remaining strings to be struck when you are strumming these octaves. If you want to do it correctly, then simply rest your middle finger of the hand holding the octaves across these remaining strings.

Next, what you will need to do is play 2 octaves in a row from the same string sets. Be sure that you are keeping your fingers on the non-dominant hand in place when you slide from this octave to that. This technique will take a little bit of practicing to get it right, but will pay off as you learn how to read the octaves in guitar sheet music.

You will notice that learning the guitar is done in baby steps. You begin with choosing the octaves on the guitar sheet music. Then you position your fingers properly on the octave. After that you will play two octaves, back to back, from the same sets of strings. Last, you will play two octaves back to back on different sets of strings. This is accomplished by keeping your non-dominant hand as close to the strings as you can manage, while you move your fingers to the octave on another set of strings. Again, practice makes perfect, but these are foundational to becoming a great guitar player.

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