Use Double-Stops Melodically

Harmonize Your Lines

The goal of this series is to actually put a lick under your fingers. Here, there’s no more searching for ideas in the sea of jazz theory information. We’ll give stuff you need to play and be creative. In this issue, we will discuss how you can use double-stops melodically to create varying degrees of harmonic and textural interest.

Hands-On 9: Use Double-Stops Melodically

The Concept

Today’s idea is taken from the March 2016 Tune of the Month Club for the tune, “Blue In Green”. We’re going to show you how you can harmonize your lines with double-stops.

Hands-On 9: Use Double-Stops Melodically - Original Lick

Double-stops are a great way to add some harmonic interest to your line playing without playing full chords. They’re also great for creating varying degrees of interest both, harmonically and texturally. 

The Theory

Double-stops are a fancy way of saying two notes at a time. Many times, we are looking for ways to add some spice to our line playing. Double-stops are a great way to achieve this. Here, we will go over a few ideas you can use in 3rds, 6ths, and more over common progressions such as ii-V-Is and major to parallel minor switches.

Download ALL of the shapes here: “Use Double-Stops Melodically” – PDF (includes TAB)

More Examples

Now I’d like to give you a few more examples so that you can see different ways to approach this concept over different progressions.

Example A

Here is Example A. Here, we are taking a classic guide-tone line over a ii-V-I progression and harmonizing it in 3rds.

Hands-On 9: Use Double-Stops Melodically - Example A

Example B

Here is Example B. Here is another one over a ii-V-I using 3rds. This time, we’re making use of some sliding and chromaticism.

Hands-On 9: Use Double-Stops Melodically - Example B

Example C

Here is Example C. This one is a nod to our “Major to Minor” issue from a few weeks back. This time, we’re using 6ths and we’re repeating the same lick, except we’re changing it from major to minor.

Hands-On 9: Use Double-Stops Melodically - Example C

Jump In

Now you try! Go ahead and see if you can make this work in your chord melodies, comping, and improvisation. We think you will find these ideas useful.

Download ALL of the shapes here: “Use Double-Stops Melodically” – PDF (includes TAB)

Once again, remember that if you need help with the basics of improv theory, our Improv 101 course has got you covered.

Jazz Improv 101 Course

Thanks for joining us for Hands-On Jazz Guitar, Volume 9. Hopefully, with some of the information provided here, you’ll be able to add subtle harmonic interest to some of your line playing.

Please, ask us questions and give us feedback. We’re here for you. And if you enjoyed this lesson, please subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can find many more like it!


Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on JazzGuitarLessons.net, the #1 online resource for learning how to play jazz guitar. He draws from his experience both as a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar.

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