If I have a guitar tab like this

    _______^___ how to play this line?

How can I play two different notes at the same time?

  • 3
    That F against the F# on top string sounds pretty awful! – Tim Sep 14 '17 at 8:17
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    @Tim A major 7th? Not that awful. Having one every other measure or so didn't prevent "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None The Richer from being a hit. – Todd Wilcox Sep 14 '17 at 12:13
  • @ToddWilcox: It's not a major 7th, it's a b9 (or, if you really want to call those notes F and F#, a #8), which can be used in a musical way, but which is still way more dissonant than a major 7th. – Matt L. Sep 14 '17 at 12:44
  • @MattL Ok well it's an inverted major 7 and I suppose it sounds more like the #8 or b9, but there's tons of music that uses that to great effect like Tool or Chevelle. Maybe I'm just a person who thinks all intervals have something beautiful about them. – Todd Wilcox Sep 14 '17 at 13:10
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    @ToddWilcox - inverted maj7ths are m2nds, or here, probably m9th. After either an A6 or more likely Dmaj7, perhaps it's someone's idea of part of the Hendrix chord. Right now, don't know, 'cos it's out of context. – Tim Sep 14 '17 at 13:36

You could pick them simultaneously with two fingers of your strumming hand. In this case with your thumb (d-string) and middle or ring finger (high e-string). If you play with a pick you could as well pick the d-string while picking the high e-string with your middle or ring finger (you should hold your pick with your thumb and index finger).

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As an alternative to Matt L.'s answer:

If you want to strum with a pick and not play fingerstyle, you can use your left hand to mute the strings in between the played strings. In this instance, use your left index and ring finger to finger the notes, while resting your middle finger softly on the B and G strings to mute them.

This will result in a more muddy sound though, so use this technique only when the music allows for it. Matt's answer is what most guitarists would advise you to do.

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  • 1
    This is what I thought as well, but usually the muted strings would have X's on the tab, wouldn't they? Then again, they are tabs, so who knows – Shevliaskovic Sep 14 '17 at 10:14
  • @Shevliaskovic I would never usually bother writing xs on a tab for strings muted in unison with sounding notes. I'd only write xs for mutes occuring alone. I mean, generally speaking if something is being strummed across only a few strings, there will always be some muting going on, I wouldn't write that, and I wouldn't write it here either. – Some_Guy Sep 14 '17 at 13:36
  • I've thought of an example: tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/j/jimi_hendrix/fire_ver4_tab.htm All the octaves in that are written without an explicit mute, the muting is implicit. – Some_Guy Sep 14 '17 at 13:37
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    Note that you'll still hear the muted strings, and I actually quite hate the sound they make. So be careful whether this is the intention and whether the extra sound is not too distracting and/or noticeable. – yo' Sep 14 '17 at 14:14

The way I do it while fingerpicking is use thumb for D and middle finger for E. I am assuming you are using a pick.

If you want to strum, you can mute the B and G line by playing a dead note, that way you will play those two strings only, but you will have an effect added, which you might not want.

If you are using alternate picking, the common way to do it is by using the thumb for D while simultaneously playing the E line. The common convention is to use the thumb, but that being said, use any technique you are comfortable with, it's not about HOW to do it, it's about DOING it.

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Thumb and ring finger/middle finger OR flatpick and ring finger, but it would take more than that small sample to give a good answer on the approach. I know what it would not be, the muting method... not in this instance coming from playing those notes. Difficult and bad result.

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