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How to comp

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:12 pm    Post subject: How to comp Reply with quote

I have serius problems when it comes to the time of comping, i now the chords and the inversions. I try to make some rhythmic patterns but i dont know why it just doesnt sound. Please help me out with some tips.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comping is accompaning. Right know I am listening to Luther Allison. The last song was worked like a staccato trumpet around the base line and drums. beautiful blues.
Your best bet is to find other instrumentalists and play. Comping is a gas.
Jim Hall with Sonny Rollins circa 1950's is an example of this. Any work by Jim Hall.
Get yourself a metronome and work through the time changes. Put on your favorite music; make sure you know the key changes; play along.
Record a rythum; play a melody over it; comp over that.
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Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 205

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My teacher's comments on it: think in groups of two measures. If the changes let me stick to the same rhythm then I guess I usually play chords on


x               |   x     x
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Maybe sticking to just the same rhythmic timing isn't the best way to do it always, but it's a start. Also, "before the big downbeat" if you hit the chord on say the 3& or the 4 and let it ring that's good too. But yeah, playing along with a recording or other musician(s) is great for developing your feel.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a book on comping but it's out of print, just in case you have access to such items it's called "the Herb Ellis Jazz Guitar Style", it has a price of $1.50 so that tells you how old it is, 1963 copyright, other than that idea, I started out really small. Like you take a song, hopefully a jazz standard and you find a bland arrangement of it and where it has one chord for four beats put in two to four of your inversions. It's not really as difficult as we tend to make things at times, check it out and record yourself doing it... hope this helps... Cool Cool
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People will give you lots of rules, things like:

Don't play too much.
Keep chords fairly simple - thirds and sevenths and maybe a single extension toen are enough.
Rythmically compliment the soloist - be most active when he or she is
Don't get in the way.
Don't play too loud.

Then you go an listen to some *real world* jazz and find actually there are no rules at all. Some of my favourite comping involves the rythm section almost having an argument with the soloist. However, the basic rules will stop you making a nusaince of yourself in the early phases though.

The way to learn how to comp, I guess is to do it, as much as possible with real live musicians. Chemistry is all-important too.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 3:01 pm    Post subject: Oliver Gannon's 101 Low String Comping Reply with quote

I've been working with the 101 Low String Comping exercises from PG Music's Oliver Gannon Essential Jazz Guitar course and it is the best thing I've seen out there when it comes to comping.

Oliver gives you an audio + video look at 101 basic comping exercises in a Jazz vein (Freddie Green, Django) but where this course really shines is in the variations that he adds to each exercise. There is a gold mine in those variations that cover every possible progression you would want to learn. I'm spending most of my time transcribing the variations themselves because the one drawback to the course is that he didn't include the written exercises for the variations. But the basic exercises by themselves will keep you busy for awhile and are an encyclopedia of knowledge.

Also check out his 101 High String Comping exercises as well as his Jazz Guitar Masterclass. Awesome all around instructional material!!! Cool
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Joined: 20 May 2005
Posts: 9
Location: Lyon, France

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend listening to Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue album (especially opening track Chitlins Con Carne), this guy really masters nuances as he's able to play a single-note lick and then to comp a kind of a reply which makes you think there are 2 guitars with two different sounds Shocked

EDIT: actually I'm wondering if he didn't use re-recording to have this rendition, anyway the record's worth listening to for it's a good illustration of how classy you get with a guitar Smile
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