Neo-Soul Pedals: The Octave Pedal

Neo Soul Guitar Pedals: The Octave Pedal (Octaver)

The Octaver sound is one of the most prominent sound concepts of groove music, including Funk, R&B, and of course, Neo-soul!

You will surely find one of these in a Neo-Soul guitarist’s pedalboard as this one is definitely a MUST HAVE pedal when you wanna truly groove.

Octave Pedal

So What is an Octave Pedal?

The Octaver guitar pedal allows you to add more octaves (high and low) to your dry signal and blend them all together in several different ways (a Harmoniser does the same thing, only it can add different intervals and not just octaves).

How to Use an Octave Pedal? (on electric guitar)

The use of the Octaver in Neo-Soul: The Neo-Soul musical soundscape relies on big basses so you always want to have that option in your pedalboard. Many Hip-Hop, Rap and Neo-Soul songs feature compositions that contain more than one bass part (usually from 2 different instruments).

The high octave (and intervals) option can also be very useful: Tone down the lower octave and dry signal, you will be left with only the high octave. This sound can be used for high repetitive melodies and shimmering “musical ornaments” that are very typical to these genres.

The most notable Octaver guitar parts and riffs can be found mostly on Rock’N’Roll so in the next video, I will explore a few cool setups you can do with the Octaver while focusing on Neo-Soul!

In this video, you can check out a simpler, under-budget version of the Octaver, the Micro POG from Electro Harmonix.

This pedal is super funky! Powerful on one hand but can also be dreamy and spacey on the other, definitely, a MUST HAVE pedal in every guitarist's pedalboard.


Here are my top 3 Octaver and Harmoniser pedals, each one will give you something a little different:

Digitech Whammy DT Electro Harmonix POG2 TC Electronic Sub'N'Up
Digitech Whammy DT Electro Harmonix POG2 TC Electronic Sub'N'Up

Exploring the Octaver Sound

There is a lot of power in an extra octave doubling every tiny nuance we play.

This pedal is a serious sound-booster, creating fat and tight riffs and giant musical lines, but wait! There's more!

The Octave pedal can be combined with different effects such as distortion(s), reverb, delays, and even modulation pedals like an Envelope Filter.

  • A cool thing the Octaver can do is mimicking an organ (try to leave the dry signal out and hear what happens...) making the guitar even more versatile, especially for Neo-Soul.

In comparison to other pedals, this is one of my first go-to pedals when I’m searching for an eccentric guitar sound, or when I’m searching for a more creative and less generic guitar sound.

The Octave pedal has been with us since the ’60s (invented by Roger Mayer, Jimi Hendrix’s technician) and has been in many familiar songs ever since.

Here are a few honourable mentions focused around soul and groove music:

 This iconic solo by Thomas McClary


Thelonius by Jeff Beck

The Octaver pedal can be used on bass guitars as well and “catch” that low-end of a certain, here are a few groovy examples:

Check out Pino Paladino (D'Angelo, John Legend, Jacob Collier, B.B.King, Tina Turner and COUNTLESS others) give it all with the Octaver 


And "The Philadelphia Experiment", a group made up from Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Uri Caine, Christian McBride, Pat Martino, Larry Gold and John Swana. 

That's all for now fellas!

If you just love Neo-Soul music be sure to check out the other Neo-Soul articles on our website!

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