Meat and Potatoes Scales and Arpeggios

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Mårten Hagström

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Mårten Hagström is the 8-string rhythm guitar wizzard from Swedish Metal band Meshuggah.

Mårten Hagström

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Marten Hagstrom 8 string Ibanez guitar


Ibanez M8M

C major scale box shapes for 8 string guitar

The manufacturers recommended tuning for an eight string guitar is F# B E A D G B E - which is designed to allow power chords (F#5, G5, A5 etc.) to be played on the 8th and 7th string pair. As the F# on the eighth string is the same pitch as the note on E string of a 4-string bass at fret 2 the results can be pretty dire and you will definitely be stepping on the bass players toes. So why not tune up a further semi-tone (half-step) to G?

Tuning to G has the advantage that strings 8, 7 and 6 (G, B, E) will now all be exactly two octaves lower than strings 3, 2 and 1 (G, B, E) - plus all the scales, arpeggios and chords located on strings 1, 2 and 3 will now be directly transferrable onto strings 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

The other alternative tuning for an 8-string B E A D G B E A - where you have a 6-string guitar with an extra treble string tuned to A and an extra bass string tuned to B - has the disadvantage that the 8 string cannot be played as a standard guitar for chords using only strings 1 to 6. The reason being is that the high A string throws a spanner in the works. Hence the CAGED octaves recommended tuning for an 8-string guitar is as follows:-

String No.


















The disguised CAGED octaves method for 8-string guitar now follows:-

ZZZZZ octaves logo

The 8-string guitar CAGED octaves sequence is shown for C natural in the diagram that follows:-

ZZZZZ octaves C natural

GuitarPro6 C natural octaves

The diagram that follows shows all of the C major scale notes plotted over the 8-string guitar's

fretboard in both the Guitar Pro and CAGED octaves styles:-

GuitarPro6 fingerboard :C ionian mode (major scale)

ZZZZZ octaves C major scale notes

As always a more long term solution to fretboard navigation is to see scales/arpeggios as INTERVAL shapes rather than note names - as these are universal to all scales, arpeggios and chords rather than specific to one particular root note - with this in mind the intervals for the C major scale are detailed below for the 8-string guitar in the CAGED octaves manner:-

ZZZZZ octaves C major scale intervals

The table and tabbed panel below details all five box shapes for the C major scale for the 8-string guitar in the CAGED octaves style.

8-string guitar C major scale box shapes

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Mårten Hagström

Selfcaged....Zon Brookes


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