Double stop technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MrDuncan, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. I am currently practicing double stops a lot as this is a technique I never felt totally comforatble using. I know a double stop is using your index and middle finger to sound two strings at the same time.

    My problem is that for some reason I find it awkward to use my fingers and find myself using my thumb and index finger. Is this a good way to perform this technique or should I find a way to use my indes and middle finger.
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Thumb? This sounds like it would be very awkward.

    It doesn't have to be first and middle fingers - it can be any two fingers. But not your thumb.

    I could see using your thumb if you were doing a wide-spaced triple or quadruple stop.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well that's not entirely accurate. If you are playing upper extensions (a tenth etc. ) you generally are using your index and pinky, if I was playing 4ths on the D and G strings, I would probably just use a single finger to stop both notes.

    Fingering is something you want to spend some time working on, maybe you are voicing these double stops in an awkward position. You definitely want to fingering to be the simplest and "most elegant" solution.

    But the thumb (generally, especially for BG) stays on the neck, not the fingerboard.
  4. A double stop is just playing two strings at the same time, with any fingers. Plucking with your thumb is fine. I do it a lot, especially when the strings I'm playing aren't adjacent.
  5. kragen


    Jul 4, 2005
    I think he's talking about plucking the string with your thumb - not fretting with your thumb.

    I gather that when you say "using my thumb and index finger", your playing in a similar way to fingerstyle guitar (thumb playing bass string, first 3 fingers playing top strings)

    I find that when I'm playing two notes at once I end up turning my hand from the alternating fingers position into a position similar to fingerstyle (parallel to the strings rather than perpendicular to them).

    I havnt been playing for long, but I dont have any real problems playing 2 or even 3 (and occasionaly 4 strings) all at once, I think this might be down to having played fingerstyle guitar a while before starting bass.
  6. i always use my thumb, its faster to switch for me. but that might be because i always anchor my thumb on the string lower than the one that i am playing

  7. That is exactly what I'm doing. I'm not sure how I picked up the technique as I just noticed one day that someone was doing it differently than I do.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Never mind.
  9. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    For doubles that aren't on adjacent strings I tend to use the index & ring fingers (right hand). For closer interval stuff I prefer a pick.
  10. avenger86


    Dec 23, 2004
    Could anyone suggest some songs to learn using this technique?
  11. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Check out Chuck Rainey's part on the Steely Dan song "Josie". He plays a classic double-stop line during the intro that practically makes the tune.

    I typically use my thumb on the E & A strings (and B on a 5'er), the index on the D and the middle on the G.
  12. labgnat

    labgnat Inactive

    Oct 29, 2005
    outta this world
    the song "don't give up" by peter gabriel is loaded with double stops