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Transform Your Blues Guitar Licks With Killer Double Stop Technique
By Tom Hess - 03/10/2014 - 01:49 PM EDT

One of the most important things you need to learn and develop as a blues guitar player is solid double stop guitar technique (playing two notes at one time). Most commonly you will use this in the context of a minor/blues pentatonic scale. For example, these are 2 very common double stops:

Hear It

Even though these double stop patterns sound good, there are various issues that most guitarists have while trying to integrate them into their lead guitar phrases:

1. These types of double stops are very common and have been used countless times by blues guitar players. This makes your playing sound very unoriginal if you use them too many times.

2. Most people exclusively use these patterns whenever they want to play double stops so they never think of new ways to apply this concept into their blues playing. In a second, you will see how there are tons of ways to use double stops to make your playing sound more unique and expressive.

3. The unique intensity created by double stops is usually resolved as both notes in the lick are played in unison after the bend is finished. This takes away from the expressive potential of the technique to sound extremely intense and aggressive.

Before you learn various ways to start using creative double stops in your blues guitar playing, check out the video below so you can see and hear the ideas discussed below (in order to get t

Now that you have checked out the video above, read the information below to learn the specific elements that make double stop licks sound creative and intense:

Intense Blues Guitar Double Stops Element #1: Prolonging the dissonance in the lick

In general, blues double stop licks start with a tense feeling created when two notes a whole step apart sound simultaneously before the lower note is bent to match the pitch of the higher note (relieving the tension). As you saw in the video above, I played double stops using an opposite approach to this. The double stop lick begins with a note in the scale that sounds very stable and is then played together with another note to create a very harsh, intense sound. However, this tension is never eliminated as I allow it to continue until I am done playing the lick. This really emphasizes the intensity in the lick and builds up MASSIVE musical tension.

Creative Blues Guitar Double Stops Element #2: Heavy vibrato technique

Usually guitar players only consider adding vibrato to a single note of their licks and phrases. However, it is very easy to use vibrato on both the notes in your double stop as well. Listen to both of the samples below: In the first part of the audio you will hear a double stop played using no vibrato. In the second, you will hear the same lick played using vibrato on both pitches.

Hear It

Note: While applying vibrato to the note in your double stop lick, your vibrato needs to be very even and controlled (you must accomplish this using either your fingers or the vibrato bar/floating bridge). Keep your lick in tune and mute any strings that are not being played to prevent it from sounding sloppy. Learn how to keep your blues licks more clean as you play with great intensity by reading this blues guitar article.

Intense Blues Guitar Double Stops Element #3: Using various notes of the scale

Most guitar players play double stops in the exact same way, using two notes to essentially ornament the same note. A much more creative way to perform double stop technique is to incorporate various notes from the scale you are using. For instance, check out the tablature below:

Hear It

Hear It


Begin by bending a note on the 3rd string followed by playing a note on either the B string or E string. This creates the double stop effect. When you add this additional note into the lick, this is what makes it sound so intense and aggressive.

In the first tablature example above, you can allow the B string to sound since it is part of the scale. However, if you were playing in a different key you would need to mute this string by using the pointer finger of your fretting hand (while the notes of the G and E string sounded together). Find out how you can do this by studying the information and images in this article about how to mute unwanted guitar string noise.

Advanced Blues Guitar Technique: Using a barre to create more notes

To add an additional layer of depth to your intense double stop lick, use a barre to play more than two notes at once (as seen in the video above). An easy way to do this is to first bend the note on the G string and then play two additional notes on the B and E strings. Here is what this will sound like:

Hear It

You can use your third finger or small finger to barre the two notes on the B and E strings above.

Here are some additional examples of what this sounds like:

Hear It

Hear It

It will be much easier to use vibrato technique to enhance these double stop licks with a floating bridge. Simply use your picking hand to push the bridge up and down (as seen in the video above). However, if you donít own a guitar with a floating bridge, that is fine too. You can still implement the concepts discussed in this article to enhance your blues guitar playing.

At first, use these double stop licks only in isolation until you become more comfortable with them. Then begin applying them into your playing during the moments when you want to create the most intensity in your phrases.

The more you work on thinking of new variations the faster you will be able to easily integrate them into your playing. But remember: knowing how to play cool blues guitar licks is just the beginning to becoming a great player. Discover how you can become a much better guitarist in all areas of your playing by studying the information in this no cost guitar practice resource.



About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and professional guitarist. He helps guitar players internationally to become better players with his customized guitar lessons. Check out free guitar playing videos and use a guitar practice guide on his website with effective guitar lessons to learn effective methods for improving your guitar playing.

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