** As featured in issue 40 **
There are few techniques more associated with Country guitar players than the almighty double stop. If that's a term that's new to you, you might find yourself confused, but a double stop is where you play two notes at the same time. Terms like double stop, diads or even mini chords are totally interchangeable.
This technique really does go back way before Country guitar was a thing, as you'll hear it all over Bluegrass fiddle players, piano players, or on string instruments that sit in open tunings like lap or pedal steel guitar.
When doing these things on the guitar we have a few more problems than a pedal steel played might have as we're not playing strings tuned to a chord with a tone bar. For us we need to get used to picking out notes from chords and playing them at the same time, and this can create both technical and visualization problems.
This is definitely one you're going to want to persevere with though, as when you listen to any of the great Country guitar players like Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Danny Gatton or Brad Paisley, you're going to hear these ideas all over the place. If you want to see it taken to the logical end, it would be worth checking out Cincinnati resident picker Scotty Anderson who has really taken this thing to the next level, basically using it to shred solos with, those he has his own crazy technique to be able to execute his ideas at speed.
After that, what we're going to look at is going to feel simple in comparison, so let's talk about hybrid picking.
Hybrid picking (sometimes called “chicken pickin'”) is the art of using the other fingers on the picking hand to sound notes rather than just using a pick. This is great for double stops as it means we can play two notes at the same time rather than having to brush them with a pick - this allows us to get some real spank as we're digging in with the fingers and plucking them away from the body.
As a starting point, we can take an A7 chord and play A and G triads (R and b7 triads) against it. If we use the little triad patterns found up and down the strings this will give us two notes we can play consecutively with the middle and ring finger. If you take your two note fragment for A and move it down 2 frets you'll have a G.
We can also do this on different string sets to really give us an opportunity to explore the fretboard, so get experimenting with those ideas and see what you can come up with.
Next time we'll look at some more complicated ideas as your fingers will be more prepared to play these ideas, so stick with it and I'll see you then!