Octave Symbols

Before I start this lesson, I want to say "Welcome and Congrats"!

You've effectively learned to read an entire octave of the neck.

To be perfectly honest, you will almost never really need to read above the High G on the 12th fret of the G string.

However, while you're learning to read, why not get it out of the way and become a more well-rounded reader anyways?

Plus, there are times that you may have to read that high.

When reading up above a high G, most composers will use an "8va" symbol instead of notes written on even higher ledger lines. An 8va tells the player (of any instrument) to play the written notes one octave higher than they are currently written. For example, here is a note with an 8va:

There are a few other symbols that have similar uses and meanings:

- "15ma" means that you need to play the notes two octaves higher than written. This is generally not used on the bass that much, but you should still know about it all the same.

- "8vb" means that you need to read the notes an octave lower than written.

- "15mb" means that you have to play the notes two octaves lower than written.

Sometimes, however, you wont see the 8va. Once in a while, you'll continue to see ever higher ledger lines. Reading them comes with practice (as there are not a ton of little hints and tips that make this easier). Reading up high really is a pain in the ass sometimes.

Here is a range of additional notes that you will see after high G:

One way to look at playing that high is when you see ledger lines that go very high, start playing as high up the neck as you can. If you have to jump from seventh-fret E to the B that sits on the 16th fret, that's a big stretch. Try to start that on 12th fret E so that you don't have to move your hand all that much.

Today, I haven't prepared a lesson since most of what you learned about is on symbols.

As well, remember to head on up to my Next Lesson to continue learning to read music.

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