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Through studying transcriptions, documented interviews and

texts, the classical guitar tradition seem to have influenced the

modern usage of Double stops in Jazz guitar improvisation: its
emphasis on adhering to pedagogical methods that emphasise
precise technique and refinement of sound utilizing advanced
has informed the jazz guitarists who studied these
methods such as dick.
A general discussion of the double stop technique and
pedagogical antecedent begins in the Classical guitar tradition whose
early pioneers in the 18
and 19th century (with the invention of the
six-string instrument) first codified and laid out in a pedagogical
manner this approach in the first method books of the day.
Fernando Sors 20 studies for the guitar (still very much in
popular use today) included a study in harmonised 3rds and
harmonised 6ths and was greatly admired by the most prolific
Classical guitarist and pedagogue of the modern age, Andres Segovia,
who was a notable influence on some of the early Jazz guitar pioneers
such as Carl Kress and Johnny Smith
Segovia published his own
revised edition of Sors studies in the 1920s.

Sor: Estudio 12 (3rds study) bars 1-8

Sor: Estudio 13 (6ths study) bars 1-3



Through the study of interviews and other anecdotal sources it
is thought the early jazz guitarists studied these classical methods
and took from and applied the double stop ideas and techniques to
suit their own musical purposes, namely composing and improvising
in the early Jazz/pop domain.

It is established that Dick McDonough and Carl Kress and later,
Johnny Smith, were known to be avid students of the classical guitar
tradition. McDonough studied for several years with American
classical guitar virtuoso William Foden in his late teens and early
twenties and was described as being one of the first jazz guitarist to
solo using double stops (Sallis Pg. 48, 95). Mcdonough (1904-1938)
sometimes used the 3
interval as a compositional and soloing
device as can be seen here in the first few bars of his composition
chicken a la swing (1934).

The first two bars comprise the harmonised E major scale with
some chromaticism and a lower pedal point emphasizing the fifth (B)
in the key of E. Then the same idea is then transposed up a fourth and
played in the key of A.

Kinigstein. S. (1999) Jazz Guitar/Classical Guitar: A symbiotic relationship

In his solo chorus on Stage Fright McDonough harmonises
the C#, D, D# and E notes of the A major scale (the D sharp is a
chromatic passing tone) with a lower pedal point B note adding some
rhythmic interest.

McDonoughs partner Carl Kress (1907-65) known for his
unorthodox tunings that created rich, full chords, unusual for the
time, was very much a student of the classical tradition. Fellow
pioneer jazz guitarist and friend of Kress, Frank Victor, stated in an
interview with Metronome in 1933 that Kress ..practices Segovia
quite a bit
Author of The Guitar in Jazz James Sallis comments
further on the jazz/classical connection in Kresss approach:
(regarding Victors comment) this statement indicates that Kress
was aware of the Classic solo tradition and after discussing some of
Kresss guitar style and compositions Sallis concludes all this
points to Kress's having given some serious listening to classical
guitar and classical (most likely impressionist) composers. Like
McDonough, Kress favours the 3
interval double stop as seen in this
example from Helena (1939) based in G major.


Kress harmonises the D Mixolydian scale in step wise motion
from the flat seventh (C) up to the third (F#) then descends in a
sequence of 3rds down to a G. This passage is reminiscent of the
following exercise taken from Dionisio Aguados Guitar method
printed in 1825 of peforming double stopped 3rds in a sequential
scale sequence.

In the following passage from Sutton Mutton (Taking it on the
Lamb) (1941), we see Kress using the glissando (slide) technique
combined with double stopping as he outlines an E flat minor triad
sound by sliding the double stop 3
of F and A up a semitone in to the
G flat and B flat (the flattened 3
and the 5
of E flat) then striking
the D flat note (which is the b7
of E Flat) above, then he slides a
double stop of 3
s from a semitone below into the root and flat third
of the E flat minor triad.

Kress uses very modern for his day double stop 4ths in this
example in which he harmonises the F major pentatonic scale notes
of C, D and F in the last beat and a half of the first bar in fig. and then
descends back to D uses the chromatic passing tones of double stop
Db and Ab which resolve to the third and fifth of F major: A and C to
close the phrase.

Following Kress and McDonough, Johnny Smith (June 25, 1922
June 11, 2013) is generally considered to be the master of using
double stops in the post-war jazz era
, Smith used third, fourth, fifth
and sixth double stopped intervals prominantly within the context of
his improvisations and ornamentations of melodies.
Like Kress, one

Herberman (2011),,
What most people dont realize, jazz master Jack Wilkins proclaims with profound conviction
(and affection), is that the modern legato style of chord melody playingthe harmonies, the
of Smiths admitted early musical influences was the classical
guitarist Andrs Segovia. ..he has actually pointed out Spanish
classic guitarist Andres Segovia and French Gypsy jazz music guitar
pioneer Django Reinhardt as his primary guitar heroes
released an album of difficult classical pieces highlighting his passion
for the classical style. This recording, later to be released as Legends
of Jazz Guitar, remains one of the most highly regarded and studied
jazz guitar albums ever released.

In this Example, from "Yesterdays", Smith uses a
combination of thirds and fourths when performing the double stops.
These double stops outline the whole- tone scale that fits each
underlying chord. The use of the whole-tone scale over a dominant
seventh chord comes from Smith's study of the music of Debussy

Warnocks (2008) dissertation on Smiths techniques includes
statements that further explains why he was so adept at using these
intervallic techniques through his classical study: ..Smith was
influenced by many styles of music, including that of the

phrasing, the voice-leadingall derive from Johnny Smiths innovations. Now its not as if there
werent exceptional chord-melody players before Johnny, people like Eddie Lang, Dick
McDonough, Carl Kress and George Van Epps. But in a sense, Johnny Smith codified everything
that came before him, and took it to another, much higher level. And in addition to his use of
closed chord voicings on the guitarwhich are quite easy on the piano but involve really difficult
stretches on the guitarhe also made inventive use of drop tunings, open strings, thirds,
name it. Hes the man.

Impressionist composers, and one of his favorite instruments, one he
would have chosen to play if he could relive his life, is the piano.
Because of these influences Smith's playing is often pianistic in
nature, which helped him to stand out against the other guitarists of
his day (pg. 15)
The following Example, from Smith's solo on "The Days of Wine
and Roses", uses double stopped sixth intervals.

In this phrase, Smith is basing his line on the melody of the tune and
is using the double stops as a means of differentiating this phrase
from the original line heard during the head. Though sixths are larger
intervals than the thirds and fourths from the previous Example, they
are just as easy to play on the guitar. Since the guitar is tuned in
fourths, Smith can play these double stops on the fourth and second
strings with only one finger as the notes in each double stop falls on
the same fret.

The Blues:

After Smith, The blues emphasis becomes more obvious in the
development of Jazz guitar. The influence of early delta blues and its
later incarnations on the development of double stopped 3
s, 4ths
and 6
s in the jazz and pop/rock tradition are in keeping with the
general blues emphasis on emotional content:
Dan Lambert describes this unique element that becomes
integral to the jazz players from 1950 onwards:
Blues lines are vocal-oriented. Rhythmically rich, certainly, but
the central element is the vocal or voicelike quality of the
instruments. When someone points out a "bluesy" guitar line, he
means the crying/talking nature of the notes. (Sallis Pg. 34)
Early bluesmen Like Robert Johnson (May 8, 1911 August 16,
1938) regularly included double stops in their arrangement like this
introduction to Milkcows Calf Blues. In this example Johnson tunes
his guitar to open G tuning which allows him to play the double stop
thirds very easily by placing just one left hand finger across two
strings. Inbar two Johnson emphasizes the A and C (5
and 7

degrees of a D7 chord) Note the use of glissando (sliding) technique
used here.

Blues Guitarist Jim Burger describes the creative approach
taken by Johnson and other delta blues contemporaries like Son
House:The old delta blues guys were not soloing so much, so their
melody lines often relied on picking out of various chord fingerings
rather than on the use of the blues scale. Very common were double-
stops or triads using notes of the major and 7th chords

Lonnie Johnson (1899-1970) was the prewar eras most
influential blues guitarist. His uncanny dexterity and sophisticated
sense of harmony enabled him to transcend stylistic barriers to
record classic jazz with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington,
groundbreaking guitar duets with the great Eddie Lang, and blues,
ballads, and pop under his own name. In the following figure,
Johnson uses descending double stop 3
s to outline a D7 chord.
Love Story Blues 1926

The first guitarist to really infuse these double stop blues ideas
into jazz harmony in small group jazz and bebop settings was Barney
(October 17, 1923 May 6, 2004). Kessel was a master at
integrating old styles and synthesizing them into a new unique
Kessel did not limit himself to bebop, or even jazz for that
matter. He was equally adept at the demanding technique of bebop as
he was at the smooth melody-driven approach of the West coast
style, called 'Cool Jazz.' He also played with many blues and rock and
roll stars such as T-bone Walker and Duane Eddy. Kessel was the
most sought after guitarist for recording during this time period.

Ingram. A Jazz Guitar Greats 2001
If you listened to the popular radio shows in the 1950's you heard his guitar. When you saw a
movie in the 1950's or 1960's you probably heard his guitar. In fact, he may have been one of the
most recorded musicians in the history of recorded music. (Howard Alden