Trading Licks: Episode 7 – Double-Stop Phrases

Posted by on May 25, 2023

This month we’re going to be jamming over a mid-tempo rock track, in the key of A.

We’ll be phrasing a mixture of double-stop ideas that start on the upbeat of one.

Phrasing on the upbeats sounds a little more “hip” than if we start our phrases on the downbeats … I think you’ll like how it makes your licks sound, and feel.

What are Double-Stops?

Double-stops can be defined as two notes of a different pitch, that are played at the same time.

Double-stops can also be seen as two-note chord fragments, as they often usually contain chord tones, or the extensions of those triad or seventh chords.

The typical double-stops guitarists use, are major and minor 3rds, major and minor sixths, fourths, fifths and octaves.

Quite often we use a combination of these intervals to create our blues, rock and country licks. You’ll notice that I’m using all of those variations in the eight examples, all except the octave.

I’m also playing double-stop ideas that I’ve divided into their individual tones … in other words, I’m arpeggiating the double-stops.

You can also combine double-stop phrases with single-note lines, for extra impact.

The Chord Progression

This month’s two-bar chord sequence is a IV – I – VI – V progression in the key of A.

          IV     I             VImi      V      Key of A Major

II:     D     A     I     F#mi7    E    :II

My Solo Approach

I’m using the A Major Scale, and A Major Pentatonic Scale to create my double-stop phrases. All of these shapes can be transposed into other keys, so it’s well worth learning the shapes … and how they relate to the chords within the harmonized major scale.

I’m starting each phrase on the upbeat of one, and making sure each lick resolves and concludes within two measures.

One of my phrases starts on the last two sixteenths of your two bar section. See if you can determine which lick that is.

Also notice that I’m using my fingers to articulate the double-stop phrases.  Using your fingers will allow you to dictate the volume and dynamic of each note within the pairing.

Staying on Track

You’ll notice that I’m playing the rhythm guitar part in the spaces I’ve left for you to play your phrases.

Remember to package your lines within the spaces I’ve left for you.

If you’d like to dig deeper into this concept, and expand your double-stop vocabulary, check-out my TrueFire course called “Double-Stop Chops”.

O.k., let’s get down to business and jam.

Robbie Calvo –


Gear Used – Yamaha Revstar RSS20 – Line 6 Helix Rack.

Chord Progression; II:     D     A     I     F#mi7    E    :II

Tonal Center Modality – A Ionian / E Mixolydian

Tempo – 85 BPM