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Double Stops (Guitar Lesson)

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David MacKenzie

Double Stops

Double stops can bring new life to your rhythm and lead playing. David provides a short tutorial on what double stops are and how they can be used.

Taught by David MacKenzie in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 7:12Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (07:03) Basic Double Stops Double stops can either be added to your rhythm or lead playing to create new sounds or colors. By definition, a double stop is simply two notes played simultaneously. They are frequently used in lead guitar in order to create a richer, fuller sound. Playing double stops effectively enables you to outline the chord progression you are playing over. In a rhythm context, adding double stops allows you to play an abbreviated form of a chord that may be prererable over a full barre chord. Examples of double stops used in rhythm and lead contexts are presented in this lesson. Double stops are frequently used in every genre of guitar playing.

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix cultivated a very unique rhythm / lead technique that exploited the effect of double stops. Some popular songs that involve this technique are the "The Wind Cries Mary," "Castles Made of Sand," and "Little Wing" among countless others. In these songs, Hendrix outlines specific chord progressions with the notes contained in the double stops. Dave demonstrates how to play the opening sections of "The Wind Cries Mary."

Dave shows you how to play your first double stop. Begin by barring the 5th fret across the A and D strings. Play these two notes simultaneously. Then, hammer onto the 7th fret of the A string with the third finger. This results in the notes E and G. These two notes can either imply and Em or a C chord depending on the context in which they are played. Dave then strums the barred 5th fret of the D, G, and B strings. The corresponding notes are G, C, and E respectively. These notes spell a C chord.

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature to all double stop examples presented in the lesson.

The Wind Cries Mary

This Hendrix tune begins with the double stop described above. Hendrix then continues to slide the double shape step up the fretboard choromatically in a series of half steps. Watch carefully at 3:10 for a demonstration.

Double Stop F Chord

Dave also demonstrates how to create an F chord while applying a similar hammer-on to a double stop. Begin by barring the 5th fret of the D, G, and B strings with the first finger. Then, hammer onto the7th fret of the D string and the 6th fret of the B string respectively. (Once again, watch Dave for a demonstration.) The resulting notes, A, C, and F, spell and F major triad.

Double Stops in E

Dave demonstrates a double stop example in the key of E. Begin with a barre across the 7th fret of the B and high E strings. Then, hammer onto the 9th fret of the B string with the third finger. The two resulting notes are G# and B. These two notes imply an E major triad.

Additional Double Stops

Double stops do not necessarily have to be played on two adjacent strings. Experiment with plucking one string with the pick and another with your second or third finger. Dave demonstrates this concept with the A and G strings.

The way in which you should play double stops depends entirely on the sound you wish to create. Listen to as many examples of double stops being used as possible. The music of Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Wes Montgomery are a few great places to start. Learn as many of these licks and chordal ideas as you can from these recordings. Then, begin to experiment and formulate your own ideas.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

GilBurnsGilBurns replied on April 19th, 2017

where is the tab for all this

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied on April 20th, 2017

Hi GilBruns, you can find the supplemental content which includes the tableture and chord charts under the "Supplemental" button located directly beneaht the lesson video window.

RemekRemek replied on September 10th, 2014

David: I cannot believe what a great teacher you are. I hope you read and are still reading these. Thanks for helping me so far!

DHSULLIVANDHSULLIVAN replied on January 9th, 2014

David, really enjoy your lessons. You have helped me a lot. This is a little off subject, but I noticed you have a US Army shirt on. Thanks for supporting our troops. I lost a dear cousin to the Vietnam War who's name is also David. He was learning to play guitar also. I hope it's ok to do this here, but I wanted to invite you to visit his memorial web site at I also have a youtube video at If you delete this post, I understand. I just want to make sure he is never forgotten. Bless you all.

speedriffspeedriff replied on December 3rd, 2013

I just can't tolerate this lesson as your guitar has so much fret buzz it just grates on my ears. Whew man!

hjkellshjkells replied on March 3rd, 2013

Think i might come back to this as much as i wanna keep with you David as you are awesome i just dont understand it :( frustrated now :( xxxx

farkasfarkas replied on August 22nd, 2012

great lesson dave, does anyone know what song is played at 4:37? thanks

jeremyprice88jeremyprice88 replied on July 27th, 2012

Im a little confused by looking at the supplemental content for "example 3". the first part of the first bar. its saying to start off by strumming only the E string, but than shows hammer on notation, to a 2string diad (on E & A string), how are you getting the note on the A string to ring? is it only by hammer???

paul harrisonpaul harrison replied on November 6th, 2011

As an absolute beginner and following your lessons in order this one seems to have jumped ahead way too quickly for me sorry :( I will move on for now and maybe pop back to this one at some point. Ironic though that in the lesson prior to this you mention about not moving on too quickly to keep yourself interested. I enjoy your lessons and explanations normally it's just this one seems to be too advanced for me right now. Cheers :)

jimmyfosjimmyfos replied on August 18th, 2011

Awesome Lesson.. found it extremely helpful!

rngdrngd replied on June 26th, 2011

Honestly, i didn't like this lesson. It doesn't seem to have a structure, and it includes hammer ons (also on 2 strings) before an actual lesson on hammer ons an the proper technique. I have been enyoing your lessons and have found them helpful, but I honestly think this one needs a review or a make over. All in all, you are a great teacher.

satchfansatchfan replied on March 7th, 2011

Excellent succinct lesson. I learned a lot about double stop application in songs. Cheers David.

evilmpevilmp replied on February 10th, 2011

Grr I got the first part but the notation on the tab for the second part is a bit confusing with the fingering

overpardufferoverparduffer replied on December 30th, 2010

So I got the intro to the Wind Cries Mary pretty well down. Where can I find tablature for the rest of the song? I found some stuff on the web but it doesn't sound right to me. Their intro is different and doesn't sound near as good.

jbeachjbeach replied on September 26th, 2010

Thanks Dave, I'm new JamPlay and wasn't sure if this would give me the help I need. Wow, in a short time you have given me some direction I feel good about. In the words of Pinhead,"to think I heisitated." I'm someone who hasn't played much for a long while and could do bits of a bunch of stuff. I'm looking to see where I fit in to get the most out of the lesson plan, and get to the next level. Got any advice? I'll back later, JB

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on September 26th, 2010

hey welcome! anyway to get to your question...if you got the basics down like major/minor chords, major/minor scales, major/minor pentatonic scales down, and can also make your chord changes pretty easy while you play, everything else is icing on he cake! its okay to switch around and enjoy other instructors lessons, it actually helps sometimes. motivation, dicipline, and patience are your friends!!! keep at it!!!

dewin32dewin32 replied on February 7th, 2010

Is that a double stop that Toni Iomi uses at the beginning of Black Sabbath's Paranoid?

lordclydelordclyde replied on July 20th, 2010

yep, bottom two strings at the twelfth fret then hammer on to the fourteenth fret on the fifth string to make an E5 chord.

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on April 10th, 2010

Ha! I caught the Doobie Bros lick from Long Train Runnin on the 6th fret. I had to listen to the song and make sure, but after I caught on, i couldn't help but play along (at least for those few seconds anyway). Thanks DMac!

tesla strike 808tesla strike 808 replied on January 3rd, 2010

so,what exactly is a double stop?im having a tough time gettn this.

jboothjbooth replied on January 4th, 2010

Realistically it's just playing two notes at once at it's most basic definition.

bigjoeluckybigjoelucky replied on December 6th, 2009

P.S....I loved the Doobie Brothers lick... :-)

bigjoeluckybigjoelucky replied on December 6th, 2009

GREAT LESSON - very condensed, and contains some real good funky stuff.

fretweaselfretweasel replied on November 5th, 2009

Loved this lesson, but had to keep backing up and playing over because I was distracted by the string buzz... new guitar that hasn't been set up properly yet?

tammy7689tammy7689 replied on October 30th, 2009

this ones a little confusing for me...i think ill move on for now and come back later on

korkkork replied on August 23rd, 2009

Ít would be cool if some close-up of your left hand could be added to the session, that would somewhat help understanding what you are doing with your left hand :) Nice session anyways.

doveigndoveign replied on August 13th, 2009

this is a little confusing, i'm sure what you're doing with the strings :(

confetticonfetti replied on April 29th, 2009

I'm a little confused as well. I'm a beginnner and if i'm honest this is a big jump for myself from the previous lessons to this one. I think i'm gonna take jbooth's advice and move on...

currannicurranni replied on April 15th, 2009

i m a little confused cos it said double stops.. is this lesson about hamerons? because i was already doing them? i thought a double stop is different..

willsterwillster replied on February 22nd, 2009

How did we get here??? I am a true beginner and I was just on your last lessons and now we are learning bar cords and hammer ons? Did I miss something?

scottbrownscottbrown replied on February 11th, 2009

great lesson Dave, what a great way for a beginner to make some pretty impressive sounds. My family hears me goofin' around and actually recognize the riffs. It really helps to keep me going when I make some small break thru's. By the way is that "slide it in"-Whitesnake and Bad Company's -feel like makin' love in there too? You are the perfect age teacher for me cause the music you play is sooo right on for me!! You Rock Dave!!

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on February 11th, 2009

your probably right with the whitesnake, and bad company riffs. never seems to get old!! good stuff! thanks for the nice compliments!!! i aim to please!!!..........................dmac

mmorgan5066mmorgan5066 replied on January 15th, 2009

Hey Dave was that a little bit of "Doobie Brothers" in there?

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on January 15th, 2009

Yep! guilty as charged, playing out a little doobie bros riff! good catch on that one.

felipefelipe replied on January 6th, 2009

this class is hard to me, double stops with two fingers hammer at the same time... I have to take a rest for my left arm... it´s a great exercise!!!

adris8adris8 replied on December 27th, 2008

Im kinda stuck on this lsson, the instruction doesnt seem very clear for me... Any help?

jboothjbooth replied on December 27th, 2008

It's really a very basic lesson, if you don't understand this one feel free to move on. The lesson is really just to explain what double stops are, and really, they are just two notes played at once. A double stop does not have to be any specific notes (since it is not a chord) so long as they sound good. The things dave teaches in this lesson are just fun exercise, so if you are not able to play them right now it is not a big deal :)

danbbdanbb replied on October 16th, 2008

Hi Dave, does a double stop simply mean playing two notes at the same time or does it always involve a hammer on ? Is an E5 powerchord for example not a double stop then ?

garyguitar68garyguitar68 replied on November 8th, 2008

Hey dan,it looks like he's barring 2 or more strings but doing a hammer-on on only one.

guitarheelguitarheel replied on October 24th, 2008

David are you in Standard Tuning during this lesson? Thanks...

jboothjbooth replied on October 25th, 2008

He pay be tuned down a whole or half step. Basically all that means is his strings are each tuned down that much, so all of the chord shapes and such are the same, it just has a different sound. Often he has his guitar tuned this way to accommodate the singer his band.

guitarheelguitarheel replied on October 25th, 2008

Thanks, booth...

max24max24 replied on September 13th, 2008

Totally Awesome Dav You Rock

mingofallsmingofalls replied on May 28th, 2008

David, what happened to the "dark" gotee? Hmmmm, it's gotten alot lighter as I progress in your video's! lol Just picking. Great lesson as usual!

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on May 28th, 2008

haha, preparing these lessons can sometimes turn you grey!! yeah, thats it!!! lol!!!

jboothjbooth replied on May 28th, 2008

Haha, it's true! Dave is only actually 12 years old, it really does age you fast!

spiderluccispiderlucci replied on March 4th, 2008

if you go to Frisa you can try it out for free ... download The whole song... you'll get the point and it well help you with your music playing too. any question just ask dave again! I hope I don't get in trouble for giving out tips that I believe that well help. seeya spider

frisafrisa replied on February 26th, 2008

hi dave enjoying your lessons#8 is a tough one i would like to know the riffs much more in detail with chords were do you start playing notes with chords thanks

accordsmagiquesaccordsmagiques replied on December 29th, 2007

Hey Dave, thanks for this very interesting lesson, even if sometimes it is kind of hard for a beginner, especially the part of double stop using two fingers hammer at the same time... but that is part of the job! (lol) I was wondering if you could give an advice: when hammering with the two fingers at the same time, i somehow "choke" the sound of the chord, i mean unfortunately the sound of the chord is "stopped" by the hammering technique.. Am i hammering not hard enough on the strings or is there a technique in order to avoid this mistake? Thanks a lot for your help and have an excellent end of 2007 for you and all your family :-) Best regards.

Basic Electric Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In his Phase 1 series, David MacKenzie will walk you through the basics of rock guitar.

Lesson 1

About the Guitar

David discusses the parts of the guitar. He also gives you some basic techniques to get you started.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Power Chords

In this lesson, David introduces basic power chords. Great fun for beginners!

Length: 10:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Basic Chord Progressions

David introduces some basic chords and chord progressions.

Length: 14:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Notes, Chords and Arpeggios

David provides a brief explanation of what notes, chords, power chords, and arpeggios are.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Speed and Coordination

This lesson is all about increasing your speed and coordination. David demonstrates basic picking exercises.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Chord Exercises

David MacKenzie presents a mysterious sounding chord exercise. This exerices is designed to improve right hand technique.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practice and Discipline

In this short lesson David talks about practice, discipline, and how you should apply yourself when learning and mastering the guitar.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Double Stops

Double stops can bring new life to your rhythm and lead playing. David provides a short tutorial on what double stops are and how they can be used.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Major Chords

David covers the basic major chord shapes. Every guitarist must learn these basic chords.

Length: 18:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

The Minor Chords

David MacKenzie walks you through the basic minor chords. Expand your knowledge of chords with this fun-filled lesson.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Major Scales

Major scales are an essential component of all styles of music. They can also be used as a great way to orient yourself with the fretboard.

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Scale Jam

David MacKenzie explains how to practice the major scales along with a fun backing track.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Minor Scales

David MacKenzie proceeds to an in-depth discussion of the minor scales.

Length: 15:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Scale Jam

David MacKenzie shows you how to play the natural minor scale over a rockin' JamTrack.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

One String Exercise

David demonstrates an excellent one-string exercise in this lesson. This exercise will improve your dexterity and knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 16:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are techniques that enable you to play with a smooth, legato feel.

Length: 8:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Basic Bends

David MacKenzie gives a crash course on bending in this lesson. Bends can add a lot of soul to your playing.

Length: 16:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Cool Rock Licks

David MacKenzie teaches two rock licks inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Hammer-On Exercise

David returns to the world of hammer-ons with a fun new exercise. This lesson includes a JamTrack.

Length: 13:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Return to Pull-Offs

David returns to the world of pull-offs with a new exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Practicing Bends

David MacKenzie returns to bending technique in this lesson. This lesson features a backing track that is designed for bending practice.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Basic Vibrato

Integrating vibrato into your guitar playing is a great way to add emotion and soul. David MacKenzie explains the basics of vibrato in this lesson.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the pentatonic scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson.

Length: 4:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Full Major Scale

David MacKenzie explains a two octave pattern of the major scale.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Full Minor Scale

David MacKenzie introduces a two octave natural minor scale pattern.

Length: 12:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Full Major Pentatonic Scale

David teaches a two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Full Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie teaches a two octave version of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Cool Lick

David MacKenzie teaches several licks based on common arpeggio patterns. This lesson also includes a backing track to jam with.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Rhythm Basics

David MacKenzie introduces some important rhythm basics in this lesson. This lesson also includes a backing track exercise.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Power Chord Variations

David MacKenzie explains various power chord voicings. By simply moving a finger or two, new power chords can be formed.

Length: 18:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Cool Lick Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces some new amazing licks.

Length: 29:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Tapping Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 34

Tapping Exercise #2

David MacKenzie teaches another amazing tapping exercise.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Tapping #3: Adding Open Strings

The third tapping lesson elaborates on the previous lesson by adding open strings.

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Tapping #4: Diminished Lick

The fourth lesson in Dave's tapping series deals with a monster diminished lick.

Length: 11:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Tapping #5

In lesson five of his tapping mini-series, DMac provides backing tracks that you can tap over.

Length: 8:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tremolo Technique

In lesson 38, DMac demonstrates some tremolo techniques to add to your repertoire.

Length: 13:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Tapping #6

DMac returns to his tapping instruction with more advanced techniques.

Length: 19:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Chord Structures

In lesson 40, DMac teaches you how to play various D chords all the way up the neck.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 41


In lesson 41, David discusses the octave and its uses while playing.

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About David MacKenzie View Full Biography Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.

Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.

Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.

Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!

As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!

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Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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