From Smoke on the Water to Johnny B. Goode, double-stops feature in some of rock’s most iconic songs – get to grips with this cornerstone technique in our definitive double-stop lesson

Ritchie Blackmore performing live onstage, playing Fender Stratocaster guitar in 1973
(Image credit: Ian Dickson / Getty Images)

A double-stop is when two notes are played simultaneously, regardless of the interval used. This technique was originally first documented in the 17th century and has been used by guitarists since the dawn of the instrument. 

Double-stops, also known as diads, or dyads, are often used in jazz to allow the guitarist to explore chord-based soloing, without having to tackle full chord voicings. 

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Simon Barnard

Simon is a graduate of the UK's Academy of Contemporary Music and The Guitar Institute, and holds a Masters degree in music. He teaches, examines and plays everything from rock to jazz.