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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Octave challenges (Wes style...)

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by matrix, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. matrix

    matrix TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    89
    Apr 13, 2016
    Vancouver, BC
    So I have been trying to add some Wes inspired octave lines to my playing. I know he played with his thumb and that is the traditional way of going about it it.

    But I am finding the thumb technique is not coming to me rapidly, and I kind of resist it...I would like to mix the sound in with picked lines. I am finding it easier - but still a challenge - to hybrid pick the octaves.

    Anyone gotten comfortable playing these types of lines with hybrid picking? Or am I holding myself back, and should just bite the bullet and try to do like Wes?
     

  2. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    Players do it different ways. Lots of guys do a hybrid octave thing, many use just a pick, some use 1st and 3rd finger and some do it the Wes way.

    Whatever feels most comfortable and allows you to hit the notes you want. Go with that and work at it until it sounds the way you want it too. No real 'rules'.
     
    brookdalebill and matrix like this.

  3. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    I am trying to get the octave technique thing down... Got it fine on the same strings, but jumping strings is where I am struggling to get it clean all the time. It's been a big focus for me in the last month specifically.

    I don't do the thumb thing, that makes little sense to me. I mean, I get the Wes thing, but it doesn't physically make sense in my brain. Mostly because I play standing up at most gigs, probably. I tend to pick it, to get it to sound correct to my ear. Hybrid picking seems more mechanically correct, or maybe more efficient? Not sure how to put it... It appeals to the OCD in me? But, I don't approach it that way because I come at it from a Hendrix/SRV influence... Not the Montgomery influence.

    I do fingerpick stuff on acoustic though and use octaves a lot there, but it's not the same feel and usually just doubling something up on the way to something else (if that makes sense) not running octave lines.
     
    matrix likes this.

  4. matrix

    matrix TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    89
    Apr 13, 2016
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the replies. I have been working on hybrid picking a lot in the last two years, which might be why my fingers "want" to play octaves that way. Encouraged by KLasaine's post, I will keep on working it.

    Know what you mean about switching string sets...especially going from the 2 fret to 3-fret span is very challenging to keep clean, even at slow tempos.
     
    Axis29 likes this.

  5. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    Something I noticed about Wes is that the only time he uses his pinky finger on the fretting hand is when he plays (chords or) octaves on strings 4 & 2 and 3 & 1. all the single line stuff he does is just with the index, middle and ring fingers.
     
    matrix and Axis29 like this.

  6. matrix

    matrix TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    89
    Apr 13, 2016
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks sooo much for mentioning that. Based on this comment I spent a couple of nights trying that approach for octaves (instead of doing all with fingers 1 and 3) and it helped clean up immensely the problems I was having when switching those string sets. Needs more work, but that is clearly the mechanics that are going to work for me.

    Really, so glad you took the time to share that!
     
    klasaine likes this.

  7. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

    227
    Mar 3, 2016
    Portland, OR
    The way I do Wes style octaves is ALWAYS with left hand fingers 1 and 4, strings 6-4, 5-3, 4-2, 3-1. Always downstrokes with the pick or thumb, never picking the strings simultaneously.
     

  8. stringslinger

    stringslinger Tele-Holic

    565
    Mar 22, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    As far as fretting hand, I tend it keep my pinky for the higher octave, whatever string set. If its on the lower strings, I'll use middle and pinky. Then, index and pinky for strings 4-2 and 3-1.

    You definitely get a "sound" with just the thumb. More of a fleshy/woody tone. It takes time though. And almost NO upstrokes, unless it's a quick triplet or 16th-note rhythmic thing.
     

  9. kennl

    kennl Tele-Holic

    978
    Feb 6, 2007
    Moon Township, PA
    I learned my octave technique from the guy that Wes called his "destiny"



    Hell yeah it's hard to learn, but has a level of control a pick cannot match.
    And I find that a wound 3rd string provides a better string-to-string balance for octave playing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017 at 7:41 PM

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