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Mandolin Lessons: Doable Double Stops

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Let's continue with our ideas about double
stops and
two-note harmonies on the mandolin.
And, just to back us up a little bit, I'm
gonna have you think about,
if you're on a G chord, the root is on the
fifth fret third string.
And the third, the B note is on
the A string at the second fret, and the
fifth of that chord is the D.
G, A, B, C, D.
So G, B and D are the one, three, and five
that make up the notes of the G chord.
And so, any of these folk songs or
Bluegrass songs,
because they are tonally, very simple.
The melody is always gonna be playing one
of those three notes.
So, one of the things I like to be
conscious of
as a I learn a tune is which of those
three does the tune start on.
In the case of the Banks of the Ohio, it
goes into this B note here.
So when you're, and so it's, it's a G
chord, but it's the B note, or the third
of that chord, which is the strong melody
note that's being highlighted.
So how do we harmonize the third of the
Well, you can either put the root under it
which is part of that Bluegrass chop
Or you can put the fifth under the open D,
which is what we did in our Banks of the
So, if the melody happened to be the root,
what would you put under that?
You could put the third, which is right
here at the B note on the fourth string.
Or you could put, if its the root, you
could put the fifth under it,
the low D under there.
So right off the bat, we've got like all
these options, okay?
If the melody note is the G note,
you can put the third under it right there
or the fifth.
If the melody is the third or the B note,
we can either keep the root under it or
do that, the fifth under it.
And if the melody were the D note, you
know, like, on and on,
I fall on my darling, that song, starting
on the fifth, even though
it's a G chord the D note is the melody, I
would put the fifth above it.
Or, the third below it.
Now, to get the third below it, to get the
B below it, you need to jump up the neck.
Play the D note with your first finger.
get up there on the seventh fret for the
So we begin to see some of these shapes
that are very commonly used on
the mandolin in any kind of Bluegrass
harmonizing, especially,
when you're trying to play the melody of a
slowish Bluegrass tune,
even some of the fast ones, you know.
You start seeing a common shapes that keep
occurring on the mandolin,
no matter what key you're in.
So, the G chord shape, if you have a high
note on the G,
you might put this B note below it or the
D note.
So, you see this shape or this shape.
You see this shape where the root and the
third are.
Or you see this shape with the open
Or you can see this shape.
Now, down here is actually an octave below
See how this or this.
B or the D above the high G.
B and G, B and G.
So let's go through a couple more chords.
Say we're on a C chord.
Here's one of those shapes.
There's the root in fifth.
Here's the root in third, we slide up the
neck and we get this third and fifth.
Now if we start to think about coming up
the neck.
Here's C and E, which is an octave above C
and E here.
And you begin to see,
oh wow, that looks just like our Bluegrass
C chord.
Here's the other.
Harmony up here.
Of E and G.
Or G and C.
All right.
So everything starts repeating itself, and
you start beginning to see, oh wait, this
E and G and
its relationship to a C chord is kind of
born out of that shape.
But it sure looks a lot like this G.
That we were playing earlier, right?
So I encourage you to begin to look for
these little double stops.
Let's look now at Sitting on Top of the
And we'll play that tune and I'll
harmonize for you some of these notes.
Okay, now let's look at the key of A.
And look for these same double stop
We know, we all know our beautiful little
A chop chord, here.
And first stuff that comes to mind are
notes that are in that chord,
the A and the C-Sharp.
But you also have your open strings, which
are an A and an E can be used sometimes.
And you have C-Sharp and open E.
Of course, you have C-Sharp and A.
E and A.
You have, low E and open A.
Low E and C-Sharp.
We're still just playing an A chord.
You have a low C-Sharp, and a low E.
And you even have a fifth, barred here.
And you have a C-Sharp and an A up here,
sixth fret.
And seventh fret.
And you have the ninth fret and seventh
fret up on the low strings.
Couple of others.
Going back to your C-Sharp and E.
If you come up to E and C-Sharp.
It widens, seventh and ninth fret.
You can play that with whatever fingers
feel comfortable.
I've probably used them all at different
So we're going to do Sitting on Top of the
World now.
And Sitting on Top of the World actually I
put an F-Sharp minor chord in it.
So just to review that chord, six, four, 0
and two is your F-Sharp minor.
So in looking for double stops,
you naturally start right there, with
various combinations.
One here is C-Sharp and F-Sharp.
Even this A,
A and C-Sharp that we thought of as an A
It would work over the F-Sharp minor.
And then down below, the lower part of
that chord.
And one other one is A and F-Sharp at the
second and fourth.
So we're gonna mix and match these, and
I'll play through Sittin' on Top of the
Key of A, I think we're at 65 beats per
One, two, a one.
D chord.
F-sharp minor.
Play a little lick at the end.
One more time.
So what I'd like you to do now is pick one
of these tunes.
Either Sitting on Top of the World or
Banks of the Ohio.
Let me hear you play that melody.
Just a simple straight melody, but adding
double stops.
Adding some slides here and there to give
it that vocal quality.
And, coming in and out of the tremelo,
back to single notes, was real,
was a real smooth right hand.
Good luck.