Tapping On Bass Guitar. Part 2 - Double Stopping

While that's all very pretty, we need to get a little more intense as the song progresses. This lesson looks at two variations of this riff. The technique we can apply to this riff is "Double Stopping" - playing more than one note at once.

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Tapping on Bass Guitar Lesson #2 ================================ At the end of the last lesson you should have played the following riff from "All Along the WatchTower":
   e  e  e  e  e  e  e  e    e e  e  e  s s s s  s s s s
|--------14----------12----|------10--------10-------12----|
|o----14----14----12----12-|---10----10---10--10---12--12-o|
|o-12----------10----------|-8----------8--------10-------o|
|--------------------------|-------------------------------|
While that's all very pretty, we need to get a little more intense as the song progresses. This lesson looks at two variations of this riff. The technique we can apply to this riff is "Double Stopping" - playing more than one note at once. Previously we brought two fingers of the right hand down separately. Now bring them down in exactly the same way, but both together.
         O
---

-O-

---
    __
|-----14----------||--/--\--------------------
|-----14----------||  \   | .
|-----------------||------|-------------------
|-----------------||      / .
      T|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|
|--------------------------
You should find this fairly easy, and should be able to play:
   q    q      e  e  q       q    q     e   e    e   e
|-------14-----------12----|------10--------10-------12----|
|o------14-----------12----|----------------10-------12---o|
|o-12----------10-10-------|-8----------8--------10-------o|
|--------------------------|-------------------------------|
   H3T12    H1 H1 T12     H1   T12   H1  T12  H1  T12
Note I've marked an alternative left hand fingering here, using the third finger to fret the A at the 12th fret. This reduces the necessary hand movement, but you should make sure that you get the sound consistent between both fingers. I've only notated the most basic of rhythms here. Playing it straight will give the heaviest sound, but the riff may be looped indefinitely so try shifting the rhythm around. You should be able to make the two hand parts "bounce off each other". The notes we're playing are taken from the chords Am, G and F as follows
         O
---    -O-
                         O
-O-    ---     ---
        O
-o-    ---       -O-
    __                   o          

|--/--\----------O---|--------|----o----||
|  \   | .     |   O    |         ||
|------|-------------|--------|----O----||
|      / .           |        |         ||
|-----/--------------|--------|---------||
|    /               |        |         ||
|---/----------------|--------|---------||
|                    |        |         ||
|--------------------|--------|---------||
|                    |        |         ||
|                Am  |    G   |   F     ||
|                    |        |         ||
|                    |        |         ||
|----------------14--|---12---|---10----||
|----------------14--|---12---|---10----||
|----------------12--|---10---|---8-----||
|--------------------|--------|---------||
(The Major and minor chords are differentiated by the notes I've indicated as "o" (little "o") - we're not playing those yet. You may like to analyse how this works). Double Stopping will help to thicken the sound, but the basic problem with this riff is that if you play this, then nobody is playing the bass part! That's fine for a while, but not exactly great for the big intense ending. The answer of course is to split your hands, and use the left hand to play the bass line one octave below where we've being playing it:
         O
---

-O-

---
    __
|-----14----------||--/--\--------------------
|-----14----------||  \   | .
|-----------------||------|-------------------
|--5--------------||      / .
   H  T|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|            O
|--------------------------
That's pretty easy in itself, and gives a much fuller sound. Unfortunately you may find it a little harder when used in context.
   q    q      e  e  q       q    q     e   e    e   e
|-------14-----------12----|------10--------10-------12----|
|o------14-----------12----|----------------10-------12---o|
|o-------------------------|------------------------------o|
|--5-----------3-----------|-1----------1--------3---------|
   H2T12    H1 H1 T12     H1   T12   H1  T12  H1  T12
This is will take some getting used to - particularly those of you who have been looking at the fretboard, as you can't watch both hands at once (I did warn you). The only answer is familiarity with the bass - learning to feel your way round. Don't worry if you can't get this right now, but keep it in mind as something to practise, alongside future lessons. The new chords may be written:
         O
---    -O-
                         O
-O-    ---     ---
        O
-o-    ---       -O-
    __                   o          

|--/--\----------o---|--------|----o----||
|  \   | .     |   o    |         ||
|------|-------------|--------|----o----||
|      / .       o   |        |         ||
|-----/--------------|---o----|---------||
|    /           o   |        |    o    ||
|---/----------------|---o----|---------||
|                O   |        |    o    ||
|--------------------|---O----|---------||
|                    |        |    O    ||
|                Am  |    G   |   F     ||
|                    |        |         ||
|                    |        |         ||
|----------------14--|---12---|---10----||
|----------------14--|---12---|---10----||
|--------------------|--------|---------||
|----------------5---|---3----|---1-----||
(Again I've marked notes that are implied as "o", played notes as "O"). Its pretty obvious why it sounds better. Once you have mastered the splitting of your hands, you may like to try the first riff again with the bass line an octave down:
   e  e  e  e  e  e  e  e    e e  e  e  s s s s  s s s s
|--------14----------12----|------10--------10-------12----|
|o----14----14----12----12-|---10----10---10--10---12--12-o|
|o-------------------------|------------------------------o|
|--5-----------3-----------|-1----------1--------3---------|
Particular effort must be put into playing the F at the first fret of the E string - Hammering on requires a little more effort close to the nut, as there is less available movement from the string (it being anchored not very far away). You may have to hit the string just a little harder (or those with rapid detuning machanisms may take the string down a tone - Kubickis are great for this, as the nut is moved while the note remains in the same place). While very basic, these riffs are in fact quite hard, and should be enough to keep you occupied for quite a while.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Joerocks
    Great lessons thanks for using your time to help begginers like me!!! I aprecciate it cheers m8
    DeAd-RiP
    has ne body realized its not just tabs up there or are all the people who think its messed up completely ignorant to ignorant to realize that he/she put the MUSIC there as well. good lesson btw
    Hevymetalhead
    you guys are dumbasses the lesson was most excellent, he or she ment for you to do the tapping at the 14th, 12th, and 10th frets of the G and D string with your right hand and the hammer on at the 5th 3rd and 1st fret
    MomaJohn
    nice but you spelled practice wrong on this one and the last one just saying
    josephmbaker
    Great lesson! It does get a bit harder when separating the hands so much, but it's good practice for not looking at the neck. I find that it's easier to tap the first fret of the E string with my second finger. Maybe it's stronger from flipping the bird to so many crazy L.A. drivers.
    Silentiumbass
    good lesson, but i dont seem to understand how hard you are supposed to but your finger down on the notes?
    Lemurs4mangos
    relihan wrote: how do you play the bass part to Alanis Morrisette "you ought to know" and melissa etheridge "like the way I do"? also, what do all the back and forward slashes mean? i can read music, but tab has me stumped.. is there a tab symbol dictionary? thanks..these lessons are great!
    I think, thats just the bass clef symbol made of symbols... But just FYI if you have something like E-6/1 is slide from 6 down to 1 E-6\9 is slide from 6 up to 9
    MATTTHEMOP
    eetfuk: i did not get the (shown under) E:---14 A:---1 4 D:----- G:-3--- th at would make a short sound cause you are to move your hand to reach the secound one...
    maybe u didnt read the first article. use 2 different hands for 2 different parts.
    MyChemicalBass
    sunny doherty: that was a load of shit and made no sence!! Only because you didnt understand...not because its a load of shit.Idiot
    eetfuk
    i did not get the (shown under) E:---14 A:---14 D:----- G:-3--- that would make a short sound cause you are to move your hand to reach the secound one...
    relihan
    how do you play the bass part to Alanis Morrisette "you ought to know" and melissa etheridge "like the way I do"? also, what do all the back and forward slashes mean? i can read music, but tab has me stumped.. is there a tab symbol dictionary? thanks..these lessons are great!
    geeks_kick
    It was a darn good thing to write. in that it taught me stuff. and wasn't bad. and stuff like that
    MATTTHEMOP
    eetfuk: i did not get the (shown under) E:---14 A:---1 4 D:----- G:-3--- th at would make a short sound cause you are to move your hand to reach the secound one...
    maybe u didnt read the first lesson. use different hands for different bits