How do I use Harmonized Scales and Double Stops?


I have a Skype student in Australia. I will just call him John.  I will call him John, because that’s his name… John.


This is a recent email from John and my response:


Hey Brian,
Hope you don’t mind answering a quick question, apologies if you covered this already. What learning am I supposed to take from the ‘double stop’ (chord scale) exercise. As I mentioned, I have learned this previously but I didn’t know how to apply it.


Is this a building block for future lessons or am I supposed to have made observations about it already?


Hi John,
In our lesson we talked about how to play double stops derived from harmonized scales. By playing any set of two strings (i.e. 1,2 or 2, 3 or 1,3) you create the most essential doubles stops: harmony in 3rds, 6ths, 4ths, or 5ths. The point is, to give you tools to improvise, or harmonize a melody, instead of playing a”motif” or “riff” with single notes. They are also used for playing solo chord melodies. And, it enables you to play any chord, anywhere, on the neck. I have several approaches I use for teaching chords and how to use them in context. Harmonized scales is one of my favorite.



Here is a solo arrangement of Basin Street Blues. I used a lot of double stops in my arrangement: Basin St. Blues


We also touched on improvising over the G chord, third position, using major and minor blues scales.  Most advanced players, as yourself, pick up on the third position without a problem. You may not be as comfortable with the other positions. That is where we are going with improvisation.


Hope this helps.
Take care!


Here is the exercise using harmonized scales he is referring to: harmonized_scales.pdf


And, here is a video demonstrating harmonized scales: Harmonized scales and double stops


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