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Blues & Americana Guitar Lesson: Small Chords & Double Stops with Keb’ Mo’


When first learning to play guitar, most students begin by focusing on full, open-position chords, sometimes referred to as “cowboy chords.” From there, tackling barre chords and learning comprehensive, multi-octave harmonic voicings is next. However, in many styles of music and guitar playing, the use of larger multi-octave chord voicings and barre chords is not always necessary or even encouraged. In Americana and blues guitar styles, for example, smaller two, three, and four-note chords are frequently used and are critical to the aesthetic of the genre and style.


In this online guitar lesson from Keb’ Mo’s brand new Americana Roots interactive video masterclass, Keb’ explains why the use of double stops and smaller chord voicings are essential to the Americana and blues styles and outlines a few of his favorite voicings and chord shapes so that you can quickly begin implementing them into your playing. He also performs his iconic song, “Just Like You,” and uses the piece as an example of how he uses smaller chord voicings in the context of one of his original songs.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play the acoustic & electric guitar from a master musician like Keb’ Mo’? Try some free online Americana & blues guitar lessons now!


“To start getting comfortable with the idea of playing smaller chords, take a chord progression you already know and play only a few of the notes from each of the chords’ original voicings,” Keb’ explains. “Take your thumb and index fingers on your picking hand, select two of the notes that you like from each original chord, and just play those.”


What is a double stop?

A double stop is an informal term for a dyad, meaning two notes that are played at the same time. Double stops are commonly used across a variety of stringed instruments, including guitar, violin, cello, mandolin, and more. In the context of guitar performance, Double stops are frequently used in rhythm playing to add texture to chord progressions or as transitions between chords.


“It takes a little bit of getting used to, but, with some practice, these smaller chord voicings will begin feeling like second nature,” explains Keb’. “And, over time, you’ll discover which voicings you like best and begin using them in other songs in your repertoire.”


To learn more about how Keb' utilizes small chords and double stops in his original compositions and how to apply them in your own playing, dive into this online blues & Americana guitar lesson from Keb’ Mo’:


Small Chords & Double Stops with Keb’ Mo’:




Presented across 3 standalone editions, Keb’s Masterclass Series features 10+ hours of detailed video lessons, 29 song performances, and a wealth of creative insight from “one of the most important and influential musicians of our time.” Keb’ uses his songs as the framework for this series—providing the perfect framework through which to learn the true feel of his guitar playing, songwriting, and creative process. Individual Editions and the 3 Edition Collection are available now!


Americana Roots: Series

Secure lifetime access to the entire three-volume guitar course taught by legendary blues master, Keb’ Mo’!


Americana Roots: Origins

64 multi-angle video lessons & 10 song performances from Keb’ Mo’s first two albums: Keb’ Mo’ & Just Like You.


Americana Roots: Progression

54 multi-angle video lessons & 9 song performances from Keb’s The Door, Big Wide Grin, & Suitcase albums.


Americana Roots: Evolution

55 video lessons & 10 performances from Keb’s The Reflection, BLUESAmericana, Oklahoma, & Good To Be albums.



“Americana Roots with Keb’ Mo’” is Now Open!

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