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Stairs (by Horie)

DP Intermediate

DP Advanced

Written by Horie, theory checking by P.ACID

Table of contents
  1. How to hit stairs in DP?
    1. Base position type
    2. Middle-5 type
    3. Middle-6 type
  2. Efficient use of your middle fingers
  3. Various kinds of stairs
  4. How to practice stairs

How to hit stairs in DP?

There are various ways to hit stairs in DP, but we can summarize these into 3 methods.

Let me explain this with right hand. (Thumb / Index / Middle / Ring / Pinky to buttons 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 )

Base position type

Thumb - Index - Thumb/Index - Middle - Ring - Ring - Pinky

Middle-5 type

Thumb - Index - Thumb - Index - Middle - Ring - Pinky

(You can watch an excellent example here. Check 1:40)

Middle-6 type

Thumb - Index - Thumb - Middle - Ring - Middle - Pinky

When you hit 3, it’s natural to use your thumb rather than using your index finger.

千年ノ理 DPL

千年ノ理 DPL

But you should practice your index finger to hit 3 when your thumb is occupied.

Efficient use of your middle fingers

Many DP players recommend beginners to be familiar with base position.

Base position means that

  • hold your thumb / middle / pinky on 1 / 4 / 7
  • move your index between 2 / 3
  • and move your ring finger between 5 / 6

This position lets your finger movement to a minimum, because you mostly move your index / ring finger away from the base position. It results high efficiency when it comes to hitting notes; this is sufficient to reach DP kaiden without any issues.

Double Dribble DPA

Double Dribble DPA

But these “pill” shaped notes (aka Dr. Mario), especially 5+6 pills have started to be included in charts since Rootage. As a result you’d better practice middle finger to aide your ring finger. Moving your middle finger to 5 or 6 requires a lot of practice. You can use the base position in most cases, but try to use middle-5 or middle-6 when you encounter stairs - even if you are a beginner.

*This opinion is controversial.

I think beginners should practice using the middle finger to hit 5 and/or 6. DP already has a steep learning curve in the beginning. Either way, There would be tons of players who quit playing DP not long after starting.

Some players believe that beginners should focus on getting interested in playing DP first (and not focus too much on finger techniques), and think that skilled players should not be teach difficult methods to DP beginners.

Various kinds of stairs

You will encounter various types of stairs when you are progressing through the game. When you are around level 10, you can often meet some of these below.

Same colored

Same colored (ハイ*ビスカス ft. Kanae Asaba DPA / 10)


Full. (アルストロメリア DPA / 10)

In the higher levels, there are some advanced stairs that may drive you nuts. Usually you won’t find these in level 10s and lower, but they do show up occasionally.


Symmetric (パ→ピ→プ→Yeah! DPA / 11)


Half (Infinity Mirror DPA / 10)


Triplets (セピアの軌跡 ft. 天宮みや(少女フラクタル) DPA / 10)

Inequality symbols

Inequality symbols (<, >) (Kung-fu Empire DPL / 12)

Stairs with bass

Stairs with bass (ΕΛΠΙΣ DPL / 12)


Non-sequential (Virus Funk DPA / 10)

Incomplete Atropos

Incomplete / missing tooth (Atröpøs DPA / 11)

Incomplete Mars Beach

Incomplete / missing tooth (Mars Beach DPA / 10)


Twisted (NANAIRO DPA / 10)

How to practice stairs

In my experience, you can often encounter same-colored stairs around level 10 or lower. Of course, there are a few songs which advanced patterns comes out even at those lower levels.

The higher levels that you reach, more common it will be to encounter advanced stair patterns. Difficult stairs are often hand-in-hand with overall difficulty of a chart.

* The best way to practice these patterns is trying them in low FREQ option and speed up to hit them in higher FREQ option. – but this requires you to be playing an an environment that supports slowing down of charts (BMS, or CS practice mode). If that isn’t possible, you can try them in level 10 or lower charts.

*Using FREQ is a good temporary way to “reset” yourself away from falling into bad habits. Read this for more details.

Here are my recommendations in AC which are around level 10 or lower. Songs marked with +++ can be difficult.

Level 9

  • Element of SPADA

Level 10

  • avant-guerre +++
  • Arcana +++
  • Cosmic Cat
  • Damage Per Seconds
  • Far east nightbird
  • Into the Battlefield
  • Let me be your cure +++
  • Magical
  • Mars beach
  • POINT ZERO +++
  • Rainbow after snow
  • Turii~Panta rhei~ +++
  • Umbral
  • 8bit Princess
  • アルストロメリア
  • 朧 +++
  • ハイ*ビスカス ft. Kanae Asaba
  • セピアの軌跡 ft. 天宮みや(少女フラクタル)

Here are some BMS charts to practice, as recommended by P.ACID.


  • Andromeda [DP Hyper]
  • Candy & Baguette [DP HYPER]
  • CASSINI [14key,Hyper]
  • duty [DP HYPER]
  • Estella [DP HYPER]
  • Good Bye, Blue Ogre (DPH)
  • Leviathan [H14]
  • Light drivv -DP NORMAL-
  • P-ChicK-ParK (DP NORMAL)
  • Regression 2099 [14H]
  • コスモワンダラー [DP HYPER]
  • 物怪舞踏 [14KEYS]

δ9 (harder)

  • 514nm(Kucchi☆mix) [DP HYPER]
  • AXION [H14]
  • Halcyon [DP HYPER]
  • Happiness Magical Kanon [HARD]
  • Mirage Garden [HYPER 14]
  • More Selfish [14key,Hyper]
  • Pure Ruby -DP NORMAL-
  • strawberry music [14keys Hyper]
  • Symptom [DPH]
  • ドリームグライダー <14KEYS HYPER>
  • 四十五年ノ雪桜 [Hyper14]
  • 天上のポリスルイン [DP HYPER]
  • 弦月の猫 [Double]


  • AIRSHAVER [14key,Hyper]
  • B.0.X [DP HYPER]
  • Dance Doll Dream [DP HYPER]
  • Derringer [14key,Hyper]
  • Hyper Prismriver [14 Main]
  • JULIAN “for B.O.F. 2009”
  • Loli Plaza [dph edit]
  • Lucid Dreaming [DP ANOTHER]
  • Madoromi [DP ANOTHER]
  • Neps Paradox [H14]
  • Prismrose [DP HYPER++]
  • Sweet Trap
  • The Last Page [DP ANOTHER]
  • the scenery [DP HYPER]
  • ひつぎとふたご [HYPER]
  • スピカ [DP HYPER]
  • 憎しみはあの空の彼方に

δ10 (harder)

  • Black Lair [HYPER]
  • dreaming (distorted envy mix) [DP ANOTHER]
  • IN
  • in daylight [14key,Hyper]
  • Modern Times
  • Pure Ruby [H14]
  • rainy beauty
  • ぼくらの惑星創造計画


  • Act Beloved [DP LOVEPLUS+]
  • AIRSHAVER [14key,Another]
  • Betelgeuse (ANOTHER14)
  • Blueray Reflections [another]
  • Precious!!! [14key,Another]
  • Spangle
  • The infant daughter Frandle’s [ANOTHER]

★1 (harder)

  • Amusing Colorful Pudding. (DP ANOTHER)
  • Existence [DP ANOTHER]