How to Play Double Stops on Guitar

Are you a guitarist looking to add depth and nuance to your lead playing? If so, you must master the technique of double stops.

They involve playing two notes simultaneously on the guitar, acting as a middle ground between single notes and chords.

In this article, you’ll learn the different types of double stops and the techniques used to play them.

You’ll also find examples of famous riffs that incorporate double stops.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to add flair and creativity to your guitar skills.

Key Takeaways

  • Double stops involve playing two notes simultaneously on the guitar.
  • They add depth and nuance to lead playing.
  • Double stops can be played with different harmonic intervals.
  • There are two basic ways to play double stops: using two fingers to fret each note or barring one finger over both frets.

Understanding the Basics of Double Stops

To understand the basics of double stops, you need to know that they involve playing two notes simultaneously on the guitar. Incorporating double stops in your guitar playing can bring numerous benefits. They add depth and richness to your sound, creating a fuller and more harmonically interesting texture. Double stops can also enhance your lead playing by allowing you to play melodies with multiple notes at once.

However, there are common mistakes to avoid when playing double stops. One mistake isn’t applying enough pressure on the strings, resulting in a weak and muted sound. Another mistake isn’t maintaining proper finger positioning, which can lead to unintentional string buzzing. By being aware of these common mistakes and practicing proper technique, you can effectively incorporate double stops into your guitar playing.

Exploring Different Types of Double Stops

When exploring different types of double stops, you’ll discover a variety of harmonic intervals that can be used to create unique and interesting sounds on the guitar. Double stops can be incorporated in chord progressions in different ways, adding depth and complexity to your playing.

Whether you’re playing blues, rock, or jazz, exploring the use of double stops in different musical genres can enhance your sound. Common intervals for double stops include thirds, fourths, and sixths, each providing a distinct flavor to your playing.

By experimenting with different intervals and incorporating them into your chord progressions, you can create captivating melodies and harmonies on the guitar.

Mastering Techniques for Playing Double Stops

You should regularly practice and incorporate different techniques for playing double stops to master this versatile guitar technique.

Improving finger dexterity is crucial for playing double stops smoothly and accurately. Practicing exercises that focus on finger independence and strength will help you develop the necessary skills.

Additionally, mastering chord voicings is essential for playing double stops effectively. Understanding how chords are constructed and how they can be adapted to fit the double stop technique will expand your options and creativity. Experiment with different chord shapes and inversions to create unique and interesting double stop patterns.

Keep practicing and exploring various techniques to enhance your double stop playing abilities.

Learning Riffs That Use the Double Stop Technique

As you explore the world of double stops on guitar, it’s important to learn riffs that incorporate this technique to further enhance your playing skills.

Many famous guitarists are known for using double stops in their playing style, such as Chuck Berry, who used double stop fourths in his iconic riff for ‘Johnny B. Goode.’

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ combines double stop fourths with power chords for a catchy and memorable riff.

Jazz lead playing often incorporates double stop sixths, adding a sophisticated and melodic element to the music.

To improve your finger strength and coordination for playing double stops, try practicing exercises that focus on fretting two strings simultaneously.

This will help build the necessary dexterity and control needed to execute double stops with ease.

Expanding Your Double Stop Skills and Resources

To take your double stop skills to the next level, incorporate new techniques and resources into your practice routine. Building a repertoire of double stop exercises is a great way to expand your skills. Start by practicing simple exercises that focus on different intervals, such as thirds, fourths, and sixths.

As you become more comfortable, you can explore advanced double stop techniques. Experiment with sliding between double stops, adding vibrato, and incorporating bends. These techniques will add depth and expression to your playing.

Additionally, there are many resources available that can help you further expand your double stop skills. Look for instructional books, online tutorials, and videos that provide in-depth lessons on advanced double stop techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Double Stops on Guitar?

When playing double stops on guitar, be mindful of improving finger placement and developing proper hand positioning. These common mistakes can hinder your progress and prevent you from achieving a clean and accurate sound.

Can Double Stops Be Used in Any Genre of Music?

Double stops can be used in any genre of music. They offer advantages like adding depth and nuance to your playing. Famous guitarists like Chuck Berry and Mark Knopfler are known for their use of double stops in their music.

How Can I Incorporate Double Stops Into My Rhythm Playing?

To incorporate double stops into your rhythm playing, start by understanding how to create melodic harmonies with double stops. Then, learn techniques for adding double stops to lead guitar solos. Practice combining single notes and chords for a dynamic sound.

Are There Any Exercises I Can Practice to Improve My Double Stop Technique?

To improve your double stop technique, practice exercises that focus on finger dexterity, accuracy, and coordination. Try playing scales or arpeggios using double stops, and gradually increase the speed and difficulty. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

What Are Some Tips for Achieving a Clean and Clear Sound When Playing Double Stops?

To achieve a clean and clear sound when playing double stops, focus on finger placement and picking technique. Ensure your fingers are pressing down firmly on the strings and try using alternate picking for each note.


To conclude, learning how to play double stops on the guitar is a valuable skill for any guitarist looking to enhance their lead playing.

By mastering different types of double stops and techniques such as finger fretting and barring, you can add depth and nuance to your music.

Studying famous riffs that incorporate double stops can also inspire creativity and help you develop your own unique style.

With practice and dedication, you can expand your double stop skills and take your guitar playing to new heights.

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