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Thread: Double Stops Question

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Double Stops Question

    Do you generally use double stops only when playing bluegrass? I don't play bluegrass and the practice pieces I've been given I've never heard of. I went through some of my own music and double stops seem to be few and far between.

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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I use them all the time to accompany songs (a nice contrast with guitars playing full chords), and as harmonies in solos, and I don't play much bluegrass.

    D.H.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
    I use them all the time to accompany songs (a nice contrast with guitars playing full chords), and as harmonies in solos, and I don't play much bluegrass.

    D.H.
    OK. So without the sheet music (or tab), you just have to figure out good notes to accompany the melody notes, which will primarily (or always?) come from other notes in the chord? For example, if playing a tune in A major, and the melody note is A, the accompanying note will be C# or E?

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I use double stops all the time, where a harmony may be needed. Its very mandolinny, but I don't think of it as exclusively bluegrassy.

    Hammer-ons and slides are more bluegrassy, IMO, and can have the effect in other music (old time for example) of advertising that one also plays bluegrass. Chop chords are, IMO, exclusively bluegrass.
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    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Sherry, there is a book that I use a lot, Anthology of Mandolin Music by Bud Orr. It has a large number of musical pieces from all over the world: from classical to neapolitan songs, early country, bluegrass, fiddle tunes, blues, gospel, ragtime music, spanish...but the most important thing is that almost all the arrangements are solos based on double stops ... a great source to learn, plus it also brings a number of exercises.

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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I use them often. The more I play through a song, and become comfortable and fluid with it, the more opportunities I find to use double stops to fill out the sound.

    If you know the chord progression (or the bass line) you could use those as a clue for the double stops to use.
    Greg Fury

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  10. #7
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jairo Ramos Parra View Post
    Sherry, there is a book that I use a lot, Anthology of Mandolin Music by Bud Orr. It has a large number of musical pieces from all over the world: from classical to neapolitan songs, early country, bluegrass, fiddle tunes, blues, gospel, ragtime music, spanish...but the most important thing is that almost all the arrangements are solos based on double stops ... a great source to learn, plus it also brings a number of exercises.
    Jairo, I've taken a look at this and it might be just what I need. It seems I can get 25% off from Mel Bay today.

    I checked my own library and find that I have 50 Tunes for Mandolin. Very few have double stops.

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    OK. So without the sheet music (or tab), you just have to figure out good notes to accompany the melody notes, which will primarily (or always?) come from other notes in the chord? For example, if playing a tune in A major, and the melody note is A, the accompanying note will be C# or E?
    Most often, for the music i assume you are playing, you will want to use a chord tone, either the 3rd or 5th. Sometimes the 6th can sound very good too, even when the chord is not a 6 chord. If the chord is a 7 chord, then that note becomes another option, etc...Ultimately, your ear will be the arbiter, but double stops are great on mandolin, a feature.

    The best way to learn music, and that's what you're doing, is with a teacher. That's my opinion. It's a much more efficient way to learn.

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    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    it's an excellent deal for an excellent book ... plus his double stop solo arrangements are a good start if you want to delve into mandolin chord melodies later...

    ahh and a tip: if you don't know the piece of music, look for it on YouTube or on the internet and you will surely find it, it will serve as a guide for the score.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    The best way to learn music, and that's what you're doing, is with a teacher. That's my opinion. It's a much more efficient way to learn.
    I actually have 2 teachers. There's a 3rd, who actually understands me the best. I won't embarrass him by mentioning his name. Unfortunately, the others are local; he is not. Due to covid, I've done Zoom with all 3. Not my cup of tea if it can be avoided.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jairo Ramos Parra View Post
    ahh and a tip: if you don't know the piece of music, look for it on YouTube or on the internet and you will surely find it, it will serve as a guide for the score.
    I've done that, but sometimes they just can't be found - at least by me.

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    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    In the case of Budd Orr's book, almost all the pieces that I don't know I have found on the internet ... and well, if you don't find any of that book or another, you can always come here for help ...

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I actually have 2 teachers. There's a 3rd, who actually understands me the best. I won't embarrass him by mentioning his name. Unfortunately, the others are local; he is not. Due to covid, I've done Zoom with all 3. Not my cup of tea if it can be avoided.
    My biggest problem, I think, is I have no aptitude for playing music. I just signed up for an acoustic gospel jam, after almost always playing by myself. I'm hoping I can learn from the others. And, of course, I learn from you guys.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jairo Ramos Parra View Post
    In the case of Budd Orr's book, almost all the pieces that I don't know I have found on the internet ... and well, if you don't find any of that book or another, you can always come here for help ...
    I ordered the book. FWIW, I've played drones and feel ready to move on from those. The pieces I've been given have numerous shifts between first and third positions. I prefer to work up to that, perfecting first position first.

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    OK. So without the sheet music (or tab), you just have to figure out good notes to accompany the melody notes, which will primarily (or always?) come from other notes in the chord? For example, if playing a tune in A major, and the melody note is A, the accompanying note will be C# or E?
    Sherry, have you read Pickloser’s double stop guide? It’s very good.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnyf View Post
    Sherry, have you read Pickloser’s double stop guide? It’s very good.
    I have it, Bunny. I'm lacking in patience to study it. You think I should, huh?

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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I found the entire guide to be very useful. If you skim it she lets you know what parts you might want to skip if you want to get right to the nitty gritty.it gave me a good understand of where to find double stops. Sharon’s Peghead Nation course on the fretboard was also vey, very useful. She has you concentrate on incorporating two easy double stops into your melody line.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Do you generally use double stops only when playing bluegrass? I don't play bluegrass and the practice pieces I've been given I've never heard of. I went through some of my own music and double stops seem to be few and far between.
    I know you study with a violin teacher. Double stops should be part of your lessons although it is more a question what level you are at. Beginning violin students work on single string playing and will work on perfecting their intonation. Eventually they will get to double stops. One book that classical players use is Josephine Trott’s Melodious Double Stops. It is a collection of etudes concentrating on double stops. I am sure there are other similar books in the library of violin pedagogy.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I know you study with a violin teacher. Double stops should be part of your lessons although it is more a question what level you are at. Beginning violin students work on single string playing and will work on perfecting their intonation. Eventually they will get to double stops. One book that classical players use is Josephine Trott’s Melodious Double Stops. It is a collection of etudes concentrating on double stops. I am sure there are other similar books in the library of violin pedagogy.
    Some time back I asked my teacher about double stops and she wasn't keen on teaching me at that time. Now I'm working on Wolfahrt studies and second position. Maybe I'll bring up the subject at my next lesson.

    I just started double stops from a mandolin teacher, but feel working on my jam skills is more important with him right now.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    On a violin double stops are more difficult since you must intonate two notes but on a mandolin it is not much of an issue. Ask your violin teacher again and ask her why not if she balks. She may have a very good reason. I don’t know what jam skills are unless you are needing to play breaks in a bluegrass jam.
    Jim

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I was wondering why a friend who is a trained violinist simply refused to play double stops on the old-time songs she likes to play and the bluegrass songs, so I asked a professional orchestra player and teacher about it. He said that playing double stops is considered an advanced technique in classical violin training, usually taught after someone has been playing at a high level for a while. She was never taught, and she wants to be a violinist, not a fiddler - while playing songs that require fiddle.

    On the mandolin, many double stops begin to show up naturally as soon as you get your three finger chords working - they are part of the chords. With a little tremolo practice, you will have a basic way to play those double stops and sound really good in a jam.
    Tom

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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    IMO, basic double stopping on violin (2 notes - 3 continously at once is near impossible) isn't all that advanced and doesn't require a better ear than basic single note tuning, but doing even basic double stopping 'in tune' to a modern professional classical violinist's satisfaction is not always easy If you listen to some great old-time, Western Swing, blues or even jazz fiddlers from the 1950s and back, their double stopping is perfect for their type of music, but it's often different from what a modern classical musician would regard as 100% 'in tune'. That's no criticism of their skills, it's just another way of hearing - but the classical world hasn't always understood that, and parts of it had a cult of 'perfection' which IMO was a bit tyrannical. I think that's easing off now as classical players get to know more about other kinds of music. That cult of perfection may be why some amateur classical musicians will shy away from trying certain things that folk fiddlers just wade into with a 'what the hell' attitude - I think they get self conscious if they feel it's less than perfect.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    My violinist teacher gave me double stop exercises today! They're all in first position, which is where I want to start.

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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    I found this book to be effective, and a delight. For both fiddle and mandolin.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
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    Default Re: Double Stops Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    My violinist teacher gave me double stop exercises today! They're all in first position, which is where I want to start.
    Great! Have fun with that - you may find that listening to double stops helps your ear identify pitches better, so single note playing is easier to play in tune too.

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