The Art of Doublestop Playing on Electric Bass

What are Doublestops exactly?

You’re probably wondering: what exactly are doublestops? A doublestop is a playing technique in which two strings are struck or plucked simultaneously, thus creating a full and complex sound. The doublestop technique is commonly known through the violin sound, but it also has a great importance in electric bass playing. It’s like playing a mini-chord on your electric bass – it can fundamentally change the sound, texture and feel of your bass lines.

What are the challenges with doublestops on electric bass?

Doublestops sound great and add a depth and color to your playing that is otherwise difficult to achieve. But they can also be challenging, and that’s for several reasons:

1. plucking two strings at once can be difficult, especially if you’re used to plucking a single string.

2. when playing doublestop, it is important that both notes sound with the same volume and intensity. This requires an even touch technique.

3. placing your fingers on the fretboard can also be a challenge, especially if you are trying not to unintentionally dampen the strings.

How to perfect Doublestops: A guide

So how can you master this task and make Doublestops a permanent part of your arsenal? Here are some tips and exercises that can help you do just that:

Slow and steady

Start playing doublestops at a slow tempo. Practice with a metronome and gradually increase the tempo as you feel more comfortable.

Fingering Technique

Practice placing your fingers so that they touch two strings simultaneously but independently. This requires precision and control, so take your time to practice it.

From the simple to the complex

Start with simple intervals like octaves or fifths and gradually work your way up to more complex intervals.

The beneficial role of doublestops

Doublestops definitely have their place in every bassist’s sound palette. They can add a new dimension to your playing style and help you be more creative and expressive. Doublestops can make your bass lines fuller and more interesting, and give you the opportunity to explore melodies and harmonies in ways that are not possible with single notes.

Musical examples that use doublestops and in detail about them.

Let’s move on to some specific examples. Here are three iconic bass parts that use doublestops in a brilliant way:

1. “Come Together” by The Beatles: Paul McCartney, a master of melodic and clear bass playing, uses doublestops in the intro and throughout the track to create a melodic foundation that stands out against the rhythm guitar and drums.

2. “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie: Here John Deacon uses doublestops in the verses to make the scale stand out melodically and add even more depth to the rhythm.

3. “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream: Jack Bruce uses doublestops to enhance the powerful riff that permeates the song.

The doublestop technique is a valuable tool in your bass playing. With some practice, you can master this technique and take your bass solos to a new level! Have fun practicing!