Double stops & power chords: What are they?

Double stops on bass: after having widely talked about chords, it seems only right to open a relative on how to play double stops on bass.

The obvious question that, as usual, you could ask yourself, obviously will be: “Why should I ever learn to play double stops on  bass?”



And the answer will be equally obvious: because, as I always say, it is very important to enrich your musical vocabulary, to be able to express itself in the best possible number of contexts.

As a consequence, double stops play a role in my humble opinion, especially in some situations.

To understand what I mean, it is essential to first understand how many and which types of them we can play on bass. Let’s start with the most used, especially in rock or similar contexts: they are the fifth, and are identical to those played on the guitar; the main difference is that while guitarists play them, they usually use the lower strings (with a distorted sound), we play them on the highest strings. This, mainly, because the simultaneous sound of 2 low sounds is not really beautiful to hear …

They can be used in different contexts, sometimes with the addition of the high octave  (using 3 fingers and 3 strings), as is often done by the great Steve Harris, for example.

As an alternative to the fifth, the notes that can be used to generate a double stop on  bass is definitely the third. Or it would be better to tell both third , since major ones work great as well as minor. You might think to practice playing a whole larger scale on a string (for example that of D), adding the third of each note (on the G string). Listen to the effect and try to familiarize yourself with this type of sound, it can be useful to create interesting melodic phrases, harmonizing them independently.

Another interesting use of the double stops on bass, more funk, is to play the 3rd and 7th together, inside a groove. It takes a bit of practice, my advice is to search the network of bass lines built this way, make them yours, and then try to create original ones.

For this purpose my new book “101 Funk licks in all shades”, coming out in the first few months of 2019, will be useful to you.

Ah, in this regard: Happy New Year!

And, as always, Happy bass!