Octave fingering

  1. DPrager

    I've only had my Octave (Austin Clark) for about 6 months and I love it. I knew from the start that 4 finger mandolin chop chords weren't going to work, so I have a new set of chord forms that I'm becoming comfortable with.

    My question is about fingering for playing single notes. One might just use the same fingering as on a mandolin: 1st finger, frets 1-2; 2nd finger, frets 3-4; 3rd finger, frets 4-5 and pinky on 7th fret. This is very doable (sp?), but requires hand movement that is similar to a position change on a mandolin.

    The other possibility is finger more like a guitar and assign a finger per fret. This means less stretching, but playing the 5th fret with the pinky instead of the third.

    How does everyone else approach this?

    And what's with the capos??

  2. GKWilson
    Both styles of fingering are common.
    If your octaves neck is short enough, or your hands are big enough, mandolin fingering is good.
    If your hands can't stretch across the frets, then many use guitar fingerings.
    I first started with mandolin fingering but with practice I now find guitar fingering more comfortable.
    I think many people capo up the neck so they can play mandolin fingering.
    I know I have done this before on my long neck Tenor guitar.
    Other people may know a song in the key of G. While there buddies play it in A.
    So they capo up to change keys but keep the same fingering.
    Still others use the capo to change keys for someone who is going to sing a song.
    Hope this helped.
  3. DPrager

    Thanks for the note. I started with mandolin fingering, then changed to guitar (more or less). After a while I started drifting back and forth. This in itself may be a problem. While I can reach the 5th fret with my third finger I find the angle a little steep and the tone suffers. When playing with my pinky, I have to think about it more, but get a different, but pleasing tone.

    I also notice that playing with my pinky really helps my mandolin picking.

    The capo issue continues. The argument of moving from G to A isn't an problem I have to deal with. We all (hopefully) learned how to play in multiple keys on the mandolin, other than size, the neck is the same. I just use different movable chord forms and I'm off.

    I guess I'm just trying to avoid developing any seriously bad habits that will need to be addressed later.

  4. GKWilson
    A few more thoughts on capo's:
    Some keys are easier to find chords that are close in voicing and fingering.
    If you are playing with a guitar playing open chords and you capo to the same key.
    You just added to the overall color of the tones.
    And, a lot of guy's like to sing in the key of B flat.
    And the ladies like E flat.
    Thank goodness for capo's.
    By the way. Tim O'Brien goes between mandolin and guitar fingerings too.
    I think the most important thing is to have fun so you keep wanting to play.
  5. DPrager
    Different colors...could be a good thing. Deciding when and how, I guess just experiment until success happens.

    I'll try it and let you know.
  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I'd go with all that Gary has offered here, David. I cam to mandolin from guitar, so had to adapt quickly to the mandolin fingering on the much shorter scale. On the octave and tenor guitar I use whatever fingering suits me (or the tune, in fact) With bigger stretches I revert to guitar finger-per-fret style but otherwise will use mandolin style. For my Scottish stuff with the pull-on and hammer-off I use to try to get the "snap" I'll tend to use third finger rather than pinkie for more power. GO with what suits you and the tune.
    Capos are great and useful!
Results 1 to 6 of 6