Watch the Double Stops online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
We're going to talk about double stops, and as the name implies it's actually two notes played at once instead of just a single note or a full chord. I think that some of the earliest ideas I worked on with this, well I guess you can start with Chuck Berry because a lot of the playing he did was that kind of style, it was heavily steeped in double stops, and I'm guessing he probably got that from some piano players. That kind of honky tonk, boogie woogie, double stops. Two notes played at once. And basically, it's harmonizing, a lot of times, it's harmonzing the pentatonic scale. If you play the A pentatonic scale and if you play two notes at once from that scale. So basically I'm starting with just the A and the C. I go down to the G and the B, because I like to get that movement. Then I'm just barring with my first finger on the A and the D string then moving it up. Then it all falls under your familiar pattern. Then third and fourth finger on the A and the D string and then, there's a D and a G string. So it's the same fingering basically and then on the B and the G string you're barring that again and then pinky on the G string, third finger. You're basically just grabbing the note under what you already know. Nice bend on the note isn't it? So this is something I've used a lot, in addition to Chuck Berry and it's also not only good soloing, but it's a great rhythmic device. Say you've got a groove in A minor, it can be a real nice rhythmic device as well. Now let's go back to the key of D minor, since some of our examples have been in D minor and we've been talking about that.
Branching out from the pentatonic we're going to add some other notes and actually play what would be considered the correct mode for that, like the Cry For You progression from D minor to B flat. We've got the minor pentatonic that we know. If we add the other two notes that would make it a complete scale. We've got that ninth through that second, E natural, and then the sixth turns out to be B flat, because of the B flat chord it dictates. There's our scale, so for anybody wanting to delve into the modes it's D aeolian. It's the sixth mode of F major. So a quick word about scales. We're going to talk a lot about different scales and different sections. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have to learn every scale and every key and every mode. It's handy, but I'd rather you get the basics together first and not get bogged down with too much information where you've got stacks of books with all these different scales. I'd rather build upon what you already know. Expand upon that, so you're making music, instead of getting bogged down with what I call homework. The more you expand your knowledge, the better but don't get bogged down by it. Since I've gotten back into teaching that way these couple years, it's really been awesome for me to get to help people one on one, and I feel over time I'm developing some ability in that regard, but something that I continually encounter is I'll get a student that comes in and maybe they have got stacks of books and they've learned all these scales, but when it comes time to making music they haven't been applying along the way. That's really the delineation I want to make here, is that you need to be using these ideas in musical situations. So starting simpler is always better. Don't bog yourself down with too much homework and information because it's going discourage you, instead of encourage you. So, as I'm pointing out this bit of theory that I'm relating it to aeolian. Some of you may be advanced enough to know what that is and how to employ that, and some of you may not be, but essentially think of it as the minor pentatonic. You're just adding two notes, the ninth and that flat sixth, so imagine connecting a couple extra notes. But the reason I'm pointing out this particular scale is that it's going to help this double stop idea, because I'm going to harmonize that scale. I'm going to start with D and F natural for the D minor. Some of these things I'm doing for the first time myself.
The most simple thing to do initially is just to go horizontally like we talked about before. So if I take this scale, that would be the D minor. That's the way I played it in that pentatonic box, just adding those few notes. But now I'm taking it horizontally, that might be easier for you to see. I'm going to grab the note underneath it that corresponds with that scale, so there's the D minor aeolian scale harmonized in thirds. So you start with F and A, obviously you can do this on every couple of strings. Now you've harmonized the F major, or D aeolian scale all over the neck. There's a backing track I have that will help illuminate this, it's my nod to Pat Metheny's track "Are You Going With Me". It's one of my favorite pieces of music ever recorded and a big influence on my playing. So this is called "Are You Jamming With Me" and it's basically D minor to B flat. It's those two chords and listen now as I play through this, I'm going to play some of the pentatonic that I showed you in an earlier section. I'll demonstrate that briefly and I'll also delve into playing some of the thirds, from that D minor scale. So within that track I started very simply, using that pentatonic that we talked about. Just harmonizing, combining those thirds from the actual minor scale. Now a little bit of the tension and release from earlier, where I grab the fifth of that D and put the ninth on top. Then I release it and get to that fifth, over that B flat. It's that third and major seventh like I talked about earlier. There's another kind of double stop that I just delved into and that's playing the sixth of the scale, where you've got two notes that are a sixth apart. So if we were to harmonize the D minor scale like we did in thirds, we could do it in sixths. We'll start with the D minor. We're just taking those notes from the scale and going up a sixth, whether it's major or minor, depending on the scale degree. If you caught that, I'm actually doing some hybrid picking there as well, by using my pick and finger at the same time to get each note to speak. Used by a lot of old, rhythm guitar styles too, so have fun with the double stops. It's a great way to spice up not only your rhythm playing, but your melodic soloing ideas.