View Full Version : Double Stops

Jan-22-2004, 11:25am
I am very interested in the use of double stops but for some reason can not seem to "get them". I've read the exercises on Co-mando and was given some other material but they just haven't clicked.

I've been trying to work on tunes that have double stops in them, thinking this would help but I am still at a loss.

Can someone recommend a good resource explaining, and more importantly using double stops?


John Flynn
Jan-22-2004, 12:02pm
Define "just hasn't clicked." What exactly is the problem?

Double stops are just two note chords, typically played as part of a melody or lead line. They can substitute for single notes and they can substitute for full chords.

From a learning perspective, you may be having a challenge I have had also. One thing that I find very hard to do is learn a technique that is not in the context of music I am trying to play. For instance, I wanted to learn cross picking , but had a hard time with it until I heard a tune that I wanted to learn that relied on it. So then I was no longer approaching it from the perspective of "learning cross picking" I was approaching it from the perspective of "I want to sound like that." Then I got right away and once I had it, I could do it on most any tune. So you might try finding a recording of a tune you really like that uses double stops and try to learn the technique in the context of learning the tune.

Also, if you have already tried some instructional materials to no avail, you may be at a point where taking some lessons might be the thing to do. I actually find lessons to be more effective if I have a specific objective in mind, like, "Teach me how to do double stops," as opposed to just saying, "Here I am, teach me to play better."

Jan-22-2004, 12:37pm
Roland White's material always has a lot of double stops written into it. I work on his stuff and incorporate the double stops from there into other playing. So far so good.

Christine W
Jan-22-2004, 1:03pm
My teacher I had told me to strum both as if it's one note so it's an even sound,start slowly and than gradually speed up as you get them to sound even. I had a problem with getting caught with my pick on the second note and so it always sounded like two different notes instead of one. Hope this helps. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

oh yeah and Roland Whites book as above mentioned helped me too.

Jan-22-2004, 1:09pm
I have trouble balancing the up & down strokes on a double stop (getting them to sound the same) The biggest help I've found is... as with most other things, practice! The more ya do it the easier it gets. Also, listening to songs with them used effectively seems to help, to get the idea right in your head of exactly what you're aiming for.

Jan-22-2004, 11:22pm
I kind of stumbled into using doublestops by just learning different chord voicings up and down the neck. When picking out the melody, you will "run into" spots where the underlying chord is on the neck, and you can add the adjacent string (or two). It's really comes pretty naturally once you learn how and where to play each chord in different places on the fretboard. I'm by no means an expert, but I'm learning.

Jan-23-2004, 11:52pm
A chord by definition is 3 or more notes. A double-stop (or interval)is 2. Any two notes on an instrument make an interval. A Common one in key of G is (G&B)= third interval since B is the third step of the Gmaj scale. Now find as many G&B combos on the fretboard as you can. They are all double stops. Now repeat for all the other intervals and keys and you'll be master of double stops. Personally I have a long way to go.

Jan-25-2004, 4:01am
Harmonize the scale up the neck, MmmMMmO, etc. 2 srings at a time, 1 or 2 fret gaps, you can switch then get a top half of a 7th sort of interval too. F.W.I.W :

Listen: Your Ears! [they're closer to your brain than your fingers] http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jan-30-2004, 3:18pm
I'm just an advanced beginner so ignore everything I say ... but, double stops I like are--

inverted 3rd. This is really easy, when the melody note is the root of the chord, play that note as well as the note one string lower and one fret lower. That's the third of the chord. For example, the chord is G Major, the melody note is the G on the 5th fret of the D string. Include the 4th fret on the G string; that's a B, the 3rd of a G major chord. You also might try hammering on from one note lower on that note, 3rd-4th fret in the example.

Unison. When the note is an open note, include the 7th fret on one lower string, for example, when playing the A string open, play the D string on the 7th fret. You could hammer on from one fret lower for a nice effect also.

Those are definitely my two favorite double stops.


Jan-30-2004, 6:29pm
I've just started fooling around with adding a seventh as one of the notes to a double stop. #So for example, I'll play a B and an F note for a G chord during a solo... #Sounds pretty cool. #Fingering would be X32X... #I usually don't hold these out for the entire measure, but for a beat or two...