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Thread: Understanding double-stops...

  1. #1

    Default Understanding double-stops...

    I've been working on understanding when and how to use double-stops and I'm a little confused. There seem to be two main kinds of double-stops I see employed.

    1 - part of the chord - various combinations of 1 3 and 5 tones. These make sense to me as they imply the chord. Generally, these are easy to find on the fly, just know the melody note and the chord and add a chord tone below or above the melody note.

    2 - harmonized scale tones using either a 6th or a 3rd. While I understand the construction of these (some of which overlap) and some of the common shapes, it isn't clear to me when these are used or how to find them on the fly.

    I hope this makes sense.

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  3. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Harmonized scales are just making 3 or more note chords in 3rds on each scale degree. Thus, the "part of the chord - various combinations of 1 3 and 5 tones" idea is part and parcel of harmonizing scales. As you say, there is an overlap.

    The "harmonized scale tones using either a 6th or a 3rd" are just the other chords in the scale played as dyads.

    At any time, depending on the chord changes of the tune, some double-stops imply obvious chords and the others are passing tones.

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  5. #3
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Read Pickloser's guide to doublestops.
    Will help to 'find them on the fly'.

    Do it completely and understand as you go.
    Last edited by Philphool; Sep-03-2019 at 2:32pm.
    Phil

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    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    I use double stops to 1) fatten the tone of lead lines and spruce up solos and 2) to find my bearings in a melody without resorting to fingering a full chord shape.

    I generally slide into double stops, walk them around, or maintain one note as a constant and walk the second note around, and of course use some tremolo with them.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    I now see that your question is more "how to use" than how to find doublestops.

    I think listening to lots of music and stealing ideas from those who are playing in my genre works best for me. When I hear something, I try to reproduce it as soon as possible. I think seeing the music produced in videos is very helpful also. Easier to figure out exactly what that player is doing.
    I use Youtube a lot!!
    Phil

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Read Pickloser's guide to doublestops.
    Will help to 'find them on the fly'.

    Do it completely and understand as you go.
    I have tried several times to read and understand this guide. I think a combination of the strange names, the fact that I'm left-handed (making most of the diagrams feel upside down), and the repetitive nature of the document makes in inaccessible to me.

    I think the "use your ears" advice works well as it's easy to hear what sounds good, I'm just trying to conceptually understand them better.

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    Registered User Jake Biddix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    If I recall correctly, the Intermediate Mandolin instruction book had a whole section or two devoted to double stops and their theory. NFI, I just remember it being useful.

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    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Playing closed position scales and starting with an index finger on the 1 or tonic allows you to reach any double stop based on a single octave. If you have a finger large enough a 1/5 can even be played with one finger. Fiddlers use this often. From there use double stops starting and ending phrases , leading into chord changes and as musical punctuation. Chopping or cross picking them in a partial scale works well to. Like anything else they can be overused so keep it simple. Play on! R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    When transcribing solos from great players, I have found the time where double stops are most often used is as embelishment of a singing melody. I describe that process in this video

    -----------
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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Good video,great sounding mandolin,,I incorporate a lot of that in my playing,especially the open string double stops with fretted notes,sometimes it's just an accident,,but I use double stops built on a scale constantly,when I'm soloing single notes I break into a verse or so of scalar double stops then back to single note soloing,,really breaks up your playing for the listener,,scalar double stops are easy to figure out,,figure do re mi ..etc right up the finger board on 2 pairs of strings,,

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Philphool's recommendation is right on. Pickloser's guide is pretty amazing. It is a really well organized instruction on getting double stops immediately into your playing. The names she uses for the positions are fun and funny, but more importantly they allow you to see the double stops outside of any particular key and therefore use them in any key you are playing in. The double stops are mobile. Much easier than having to conquer harmony theory and do the trigonometry every time you want to add a double stop.

    Once it becomes kind of automatic you can certainly go back and figure out how it works harmonically, and I would recommend it, but lets get playing first!
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Hello,
    Thanks to this topic I've just discovered Pickloser's method.
    I wouldn't say better than JeffD.
    This is THE method I was looking for for long.
    It makes things logical for me and very easy to apply in impro without thinking much.
    So I wonder if such a system exists for minor scales, 3 notes chords etc.
    Of course I could deduct it by myself starting from Pickloser's system but I'd like to know if I can find something like this already done.
    Thank you and have a good day.

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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    I don't understand what y'all are talking about. A double stop to me is just adding a harmonizing second note. When I find one that I like the sound of I can use that "shape" in any chord by changing strings or frets. Sometimes it seems that this forum has a way of making something complicated out of something easy. I have played mandolin 50+ years and while I can stop and figure why certain things work and the theory behind it, I don't think about that while playing, a instrument tuned in fifths is just patterns up and down the fret board. I have to think about what note I'm playing because if it's within the shape of the chord or chords it doesn't matter. Note could be a G if playing in G or a B if playing in B, same thing 4frets up.

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  19. #14

    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Questions are: What style of music are you playing? When you say "on the fly," do you mean improvising?

  20. #15
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding double-stops...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I don't understand what y'all are talking about. A double stop to me is just adding a harmonizing second note. When I find one that I like the sound of I can use that "shape" in any chord by changing strings or frets. Sometimes it seems that this forum has a way of making something complicated out of something easy. I have played mandolin 50+ years and while I can stop and figure why certain things work and the theory behind it, I don't think about that while playing, a instrument tuned in fifths is just patterns up and down the fret board. I have to think about what note I'm playing because if it's within the shape of the chord or chords it doesn't matter. Note could be a G if playing in G or a B if playing in B, same thing 4frets up.
    Plumb,
    I think a lot of fairly new players are stumped by that first step. While playing a song (not having been previously played or prepared), finding that harmony note is not obvious. After some time , it may become second nature, as I'm sure it is to you.

    That's why many folks tend to memorize SHAPES of doublestops and the relationship of that shape to a speciific NOTE, like the root note.
    Then you can just plug in that shape on the fly and not have to reinvent the wheel (or doublestop).

    Also, sliding from one doublestop to another on the fly isn't obvious till you do it a few times and "figure out the code". That's why I recommended working through the Pickloser Guide as a shortcut to discovering all these things again for oneself. (Reinventing the wheel).

    For those who don't like the Guide, feel free to go ahead with wheel reinventing.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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