** As featured in issue 41 **
Now if we want to take our double stops a la Brent Mason to the next level, we need to start adding other notes to the phrases, so our single note lines are punctuated with double stops. Not only will this a Country flavour to any line, but it also allows us to think more in terms of harmony (chords) than having a scalar approach.
So in the last lesson we were playing simple A and G triads against an A bass note, now against the A an A triad gives us the Root, 3rd and 5th, but the G gives us the b7th, 9th and 11th. So while we're just thinking about two triads, we're playing six notes of the Mixolydian scale.
If we expand on our A triad in the first pattern we can add three descending notes (F#, E and C#) to give us a four note pattern. In order to pull this off though we need to nail the technique, so take it slowly and build up speed, it's fingers down, up, down, repeat.
We can also add rhythmic variation to it by repeating the hybrid picked part, so fingers, down, fingers, down, up down repeat. That's a six note fragment and when combined with the four note fragment you can create numerous interesting rhythmic variations.
Now we have a cool six note melodic phrase here, but the key thing is that we're just thinking of the chord (in fact, it's only the F# note that isn't part of the A chord, that's part of the major pentatonic scale). So if we take that logic and move this idea in A down 2 frets, we're suddenly on a G triad sound and it works just as well.
If you spend time going between these two ideas against an A bass note, it sounds super Country but doesn't feel fully resolved, so to end the idea we can move down to the 5th fret area where our big E shape barre chord is and end the phrase with some double stops around this position like we saw in our first column - note the use of the minor to major 3rd for that bluesy vibe.
While these are great ideas in their own right and should be explored further in terms of rhythmic patterns and tonalities, we can find further ideas just by moving the same idea down a string set as it will put us in a totally different position on the neck.
That's all there is to it really, using A and G triads in combination with simple solo lines will get you a real authentic twangy sound – so experiment and see what happens!
Try listening to some Brent Mason solos, either solo or as a session player to hear some of these ideas in context – a great starting place would be someone like Alan Jackson where you'll hear Brent often, try the classic “I Don't Even Know Your Name” to see him at his best.