January 18, 2020 at 1:38 PM #81331
On Friday the 17th of January , I went to a Bluegrass festival over in Oklahoma and meet up with Joe Harris BGD member , While I was there I went to a fiddle workshop and the subject of double stops was brought up and there was no real explanation on the subject , So I thought I would share some of what I have learned about Double Stops ! 1- do a clean and steady draw across the intended two strings with enough bow pressure to sound both strings ! A timid bow draw does not work for Me !
2- there are three double stop sounds I have discovered depending on your bow draw 1- equal harmony from both strings 2- more weight on the bass string than the brighter string , and finally more weight on the bright string than the base string all three methods harmonize but sound different depending on the sound you want !
A example of one of johns lessons is Bonaparte’s retreat the Aly Bain lesson , When john does the double stop in the 2nd position equal harmony does not quite sound right , I may be wrong but I think it sounds better with a little less bass when doing that double stop !
To me double stops are hard because they have to be precise and patience and practice make it finally happen , such a small bow change makes big changes in intonations of any double stop from more bass to equal to brighter !
Please feel free to add to this lesson , Your thoughts and experience are needed ! A different view or experience might help open up a new world of understanding !January 18, 2020 at 1:42 PM #81332JBoundsParticipant
I don’t do a lot of double stops, nor practice them. But sometimes I will play them depending on the tune or even the key.
Not sure why, but to me double stops sound better sparingly. That’s just me though. I’m not against it.January 18, 2020 at 2:16 PM #81333
Thanks, Steve! Did they include drones in the double stop discussion?
I have noticed too that, as you say, sometimes you want one string sounding slightly more or less than the other…which is just another reason that fiddling is the most amazing instrument of all.
I’ve noticed that any tuning I’m in…besides standard…as well as standard, there are places where the double stop ends up with a one finger on the higher string and a three finger on the lower string and lends itself to a beautiful slide, almost always.
From the Gardenia Waltz lesson here…I also learned that once you are in that double stop…one on the higher string and three on the lower string…if you can practice it enough, you can keep those fingers in place and then add the two finger and the four finger and then let them back off and sound the one finger and three finger again…and it’s really a nice sound…hard to get, for me anyway.
I think Bobby Hicks must do that quite a bit (according to the lessons here based on his style) and also Johnny Gimble.
But even just drone double stops, which are far easier to get, of course, vary quite a bit when experimenting with which string you’ll try to emphasize…doesn’t always work out like we want, but something to work at and it does get easier.
Was that clear as mud? Now I feel like playing GArdenia Waltz…used to play it quite a bit when I first went through the struggles to learn it…then forgot it…learned it again…and haven’t played it much…I should grab a cup of coffee, my fiddle, and see if I can play it today! It’s so hard to learn, but gradually it does get better and even when I couldn’t play it very good, it DID help my easier uses of double stops a whole lot.January 18, 2020 at 2:51 PM #81339John (BGD)Keymaster
Great thread, Steve! And so cool that you met Joe Harris — it makes me wish I had been there too!January 18, 2020 at 3:48 PM #81342
Cricket , I was only talking any kind of double stop in general ! The one on Johns lesson , I was referring to is D string open and G string closed ! But yes Cricket , Open drones are easier for anyone I think ?January 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM #81344
Yes, I think too!January 18, 2020 at 8:18 PM #81347fiddlewoodParticipant
Good OP Steve!January 18, 2020 at 8:25 PM #81348JoeParticipant
Yes its amazing who you run into at a bluegrass jam…….ha
Glad you could make it Steve. And for anyone wanting to know Steve is a lot taller than he looks in his profile pic.
I learned double stops doing boil them cabbage it just seemed to come naturally. Trouble I have is when to throw them into a song.January 18, 2020 at 9:47 PM #81349fiddlewoodParticipant
Joe, much of the time I’ll use them on the longer notes just for emphasis.January 18, 2020 at 11:01 PM #81350
Must’ve been cool to meet another BGD participant in person!January 19, 2020 at 7:07 AM #81355JoeParticipant
Yes Cricket it is. Now I know we are real people. hahaJanuary 19, 2020 at 8:40 AM #81356
Sometimes we need that reassurance…lol.January 19, 2020 at 12:36 PM #81359
Cricket Joe is real and a nice guy , It rained all the way there and all the way back , while I was there I had never been there before so because of the rain we had to park a long way from the entrance , So I did not bring in my violin or guitar cause I wonted to check out the lay out first , Then once inside I got into the listen and checking it all out mode , Then the fiddle workshop was starting and I wonted to attend but didn’t wont to be late to that so I still did not have a instrument , By the time the workshop was over My brother was feeling sick so we left and again it never stopped raining so I never played or sang , next time I will grab my instruments right off , Any way about a 200 mile round trip and I wasted my chance to play by hesitating because of the cold rain about 40 degrees plus or minus and parked about 100 yards away from the entry !January 19, 2020 at 10:21 PM #81381
Yikes…sounds like some challenges involved with that workshop, Steve. But glad you and Joe got to meet each other.January 19, 2020 at 10:26 PM #81383
Thanks Cricket !January 20, 2020 at 9:44 PM #81424Great ScottModerator
Thank you for creating this thread, Steve. When I started to learn to play the fiddle all those years ago, I used to watch a LOT of YT vidz about violin / fiddle technique. To me, technique was far more important than learning tunes. I watched on video from a lady fiddle teacher by the name of Chris (someone), and she said that when doing double stops, to imagine an invisible string between the two strings that you are double-stopping, and to aim at hitting that invisible string. Made sense.
I don’t attempt to play the violin these days but when I did try to play, I used to do a LOT of double stops unintentionally, because I kept hitting the string on either side of the string I wanted to bow.
Steve, I hope more people can join this discussion and offer their experience.January 20, 2020 at 10:13 PM #81427
Thanks Great Scott , One of the reasons I did not post much in 2019 was because I am steady as she goes on getting the ones I already know better all around also I have more than enough tunes to get through a three hour session which is 25 fiddle tunes and hundreds of guitar tunes anyway , I have started another 25 fiddle tunes that will give me 50 , I am having a little trouble working time in for practice on the new ones ! I am not having to much trouble with double stops , I started this subject for to see if something would come of it and maybe learn something new but no one is adding much to learn I don’t already know !January 20, 2020 at 10:37 PM #81431Great ScottModerator
Give the thread a chance, Steve, and I am sure a few more members will come and offer something different. I guess, all-in-all, doubles stops are pretty basic. Maybe we need an in depth lesson posted here on BGD that teaches all aspects of double stops.January 20, 2020 at 11:03 PM #81432
Thanks ! Great Scott a lesson would be beneficial to lots of folks !January 20, 2020 at 11:40 PM #81434fran hParticipant
I have really been studying up on double stops lately. I am trying to understand and work up double stops in my breaks. . .but not just double stops (or Chords) but sliding from one chord up or down into another. Grassy Fiddle Blues is a great example. I’ve been working on Road to Columbus and Washington County. Festival Waltz is great for chord sliding. The key of A is not so bad since you can use the open string with it. The key of G just confuses me. I got a chance to play and learn some from Walley Hughes of the Valerie Smith Band recently. That was fun. I also try and drone a 4th finger while playing another string. Like a 4th finger on the D string while noting the A string. It sounds great when you get it right. LOL And remember to let up the 4th finger when you go to noting the D sting. I should post something sometime. I never mess up until the camera is on. HaHaHaHa
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