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Mastering Duo-Style (Plectrum) (One of Three Blogs)

Posted by Omeboy on Monday, July 31, 2017

Basic Duo-Style on the C and G strings:

If you'd like to add another dimension to your playing, please consider  adding duo-style to your skill set.  The plectrum is beautifully suited for this technique and many great professionals have incorporated duo-style into their own styles.  To get you started with a good feel for it,I have created a Basic Duo-Style Exercise with a a diagrammed chart (see PHOTOS) and an MP3 file for the same.  After you've had some exposure to that idea, go ahead and try the Bell Of St. Mary's Duo-Style Exercise.  This one is based on Perry Bechtel's great solo.  In fact, it's his second chorus of his arrangement.  You'll also get a bonus track on the MP3 (see MEDIA/MUSIC) solo is diagrammed out on three slides.  You can practice the charts with the MP3 file.  These two exercises will give you a great feel for playing the lead melody on the C and G strings while playing the harmonizing chord on the B and D strings. (BTW, if you're not happy with the separation your getting on duo-style, go up to a 1.0 mm pick. Dunlop has a selection of 1.0mm picks or slightly thicker.  I regularly use a 1.0 for everything.)


In a nutshell, here is how you can print out the various diagrams I've provided on the PHOTO page.  It's called a "screen shot" and uses the PrtScn button on your computer keyboard:

  1. Single click on the neck diagram image.  It should come up for you.
  2. Hit the PrintScreen (PrnScn) key on your computer keyboard on the upper right.  It will make an image of the whole screen image for you.
  3. Go down to your "Start" icon on the lower left of your computer screen.  It looks like the Microsoft logo. Left click it once.
  4. Now move your cursor up to the "PAINT" command and left click it once.
  5. Now move your cursor to the  PASTE command and left click it once.
  6. You should now see the screen you just copied.
  7. Move your cursor up to the CROP command and click it.
  8. Now move your cursor to the upper right corner of the neck diagram image and hold down your left side mouse button to completely encapsulate the while diagram (or at least eight necks.) Then left you finger off the left mouse key.  You will now have selected the diagram image for cropping.
  9. Go up to the CROP command and left click it.  You will now see the cropped image.
  10. The next step is to SAVE the image.  So take your cursor up to the little floppy disc icon on the upper right and left click it.
  11. Now you can select what folder you want to save it in.  You can also give it a title, and I recommend you save it as a .jpg file.
  12. To print it.  Open the folder you saved it in. It will probably be under PICTURES.

Left click you START icon in the lower left that looks like a Microsoft icon. In the   second column, you should see PICTURES. Left click it and find your folder.

   13. &14.  Find the image in the folder. Right click on it and you'll get another menu of choices.  Left click on PRINT.  You should be able to select a print preview to see how it fill land on paper.  The click on the PRINT command in the lower left corner and it should send the command to your printer.

Folks with Photoshop or more sophisticated printer software will be able to turn the image so it will fit a sheet horizontally as opposed to vertically.  You should be able to get eight full neck diagrams to fit vertically, but do try to print them horizontally if you can.

D String Melody Duo-Style:

For those of you who have been working on duo-style on the plectrum, the duo-style  exercise and the Bells Of St. Mary's Bechtel chorus have isolated the melody to the bass or C and G strings, while the harmonizing chord has been played on the B and D strings.  As mentioned earlier in an Eddie Peabody Lesson (#9 on YouTube), the opposite approach is letting the melody be played on the D string while the inside three strings (C,G,B) play the harmonizing chord.  So here are some more exceptional video examples of that D string technique:

First is Buddy Wachter's beautiful solo of Liberstraum.  Buddy plays the melody on the D string while playing inside harmonies on his C, G, & B strings.   This melodic approach on the  D string (as opposed to the bass side)  is just the opposite of the Bells Of St. Mary's idea, where the melody was played on the C and G strings.  Next is a video by Don Van Palta.  Don provides three versions of Liberstraum in varying degrees of required skill.   You can watch Don progress thru it or jump to 3:49 on the time code to see the most advanced technique.  Finally, Ron Hinkle provides a detailed explanation on the technique. He covers it very well. In the second video, Ron plays his version of Buddy's Liberstraum and Melody Of Love.    Along with the exercises you already have and these videos, you'll be well on your way to mastering Duo-Style.  Buddy Wachter plays Liberstraum
Also there's a nice Don Van Palta video of the same tune and technique (3:49 on the time code):  Ron Hinkle Duo-Style Lesson  Ron Hinkle plays Liberstraum & Melody Of Love in Duo-Style
And . . . . . .
See "Learning The Plectrum" on my other blog post for more good info.

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