TMC-06 Country Style Double Stops

Lick 006 Country Style Double Stops

Our previous lick (Lick 005 Hendrix Style Double Stops) looked at a unique way of playing double stops. This lick uses double stops again (double stop means to play two notes at once) but to get a country feel. There are a few pull-offs between double stops so its important you think about which fingers you use to play the notes.

How to get a country feel

The key to getting this lick to sound authentic is to control your tone. If you’re playing an acoustic guitar you don’t have any choice with pickups but you can still choose how to play the notes. Using your fingers (or hybrid picking) will give this lick a more interesting sound compared to playing with a pick. When playing the double stops, try to pluck the strings hard enough that they slap back against the fretboard. This snapping sound adds to the character of the lick.

If you’re playing electric guitar, use a single coil pickup around the middle position (depending on your type of guitar). This will give your tone a very hollow sound and will sound great when you pluck the strings hard with your fingers.

What makes this lick sound country?

While playing the lick, have a think about each part and why it makes it sound country. Is it the double stops? Is it the hammer-ons? The chords at the end? Learning to critically analyze a piece of music this way will help you understand what gives it certain characteristics. Many players don’t think about music this way and have trouble coming up with their own music as a result. If you can figure out what makes this lick sound country then you can recreate it in your own licks.

We won’t give the answers away because that defeats the whole point of this lick! Learning how to figure out what makes this lick sound country will help you grow as a musician. So practice the lick over and over until it feels natural then figure out what makes it sound good. Once you can do this you can start trying to come up with similar licks.

 TMC-06 Country Style Double Stops

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 Even if you don’t plan on learning how to play country style guitar, it’s still worth learning this lick as it will help you understand how to copy a certain style. It will also help you learn different ways to play double stops. By adjusting the way you play this lick you can transform it from dull sounding to an authentic country lick. Merely playing the notes as written isn’t enough – you need to put some feel into it!

TMC-05 Hendrix style Double Stops

Lick 005 Hendrix Style Double Stops

What are Double Stops?

The term ‘double stop’ actually means to play two notes at once. It sounds fancy but pretty simple to play. All you need to do to play a double stop is play two notes at once whether those notes are on adjacent strings or skip a string. Quite often guitarists will play double stops on adjacent strings because they are easy to play. It all depends on what type of sound you want to go for.

Hendrix style Double Stops

Jimi Hendrix used double stops quite a lot (as do many other blues/rock guitarists). This lick is inspired by the way Hendrix would repeat a note over and over while adding in vibrato (listen to the ending of All Along the Watchtower). This is straight forward when you’re only playing one note at a time but can be a bit tricky when two notes are played. When you play this lick you will need to make sure that both notes have smooth vibrato and the open second string isn’t played. Hit the strings hard when playing the vibrato to get the feel Hendrix would have given.

TMC-05 Hendrix style Double Stops

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Think about which fingers you should use to play the two notes. Try different combinations to figure out which one feels easiest for you. Different people will prefer using different fingers.  It doesn’t really matter which fingers you use to play the notes as long as all the other strings remain quiet – especially the B string.

Creating Your Own Double Stop Licks

When you can easily play this lick you can start thinking about how to come up with your own licks that use double stops. There are countless ways double stops can be used so just experiment with them until you find something interesting. Start with a basic scale such as the Minor Pentatonic and think about all the different two note positions you can play. Look for positions where you can play two notes using one finger. Those type of double stops are used all the time in blues and rock improvisation.