Jazz Blues Guitar Chords: Comping Exercise for a Blues in G

Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar


Here’s a comping exercise for a jazz blues in G.



Jazz blues guitar chords comping exercise


Download the pdf here
for easy printing.


Here’s a backing track you can use to practice:



The chords are pretty straighforward, some remarks though:

  • Bar 5-6: there’s some contrary motion going on here. The bass goes from c to c# (upward motion), while the d of C9 goes to the c# (downward motion) of C#°7. Contrary motion in voice leading sounds nice.
  • Bar 8: B°7 is the same chord as E7(b9), so the voice leading goes from #9 to b9 to the 5 of Am7.
  • Bar 10: Sus chords are a nice way to delay and bring extra motion to dominant chords.
  • Bar 11: G13/F is the 3rd inversion of G13, a very useful voicing.
  • Bar 11-12: the first 3 chords are on the beat, while the last 2 chords are off the beat. This brings a feeling of forward motion to the comping.
  • Bar 14: this is a common Em7b5 voicing (=C9), followed by a E°7 (=C#°7).
  • Bar 16: some chromatic slides going on here.
  • Bar 21-22: a Wes Montgomery style chord lick.
  • Bar 25: the turnaround is repeated twice as a coda.
  • Bar 30: the bass note g is played by tapping the note on the fret board with the index finger of the right hand.


Do you have any questions or thoughts about this jazz blues comping exercise? Share them in the comments section below.


To learn more about how to comp over a jazz blues, check out our latest ebook:

Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar v1


  1. MartyDec 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Great lesson Dirk. I always pick up something new from these. Great job.

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Marty.

  2. Michael LaRueDec 12, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Is there a pdf of this somewhere? I really ove it.

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

      I’ll make one this weekend Michael.

    • Dirk LaukensDec 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      The pdf is ready (see link under the notation above).

  3. DaleDec 12, 2013 at 3:38 am

    I’m enjoying the e-lessons, and plan to subcribe to the entire series. Have you thought of customizing the lessons, for example, I’m a Smooth Jazz fan, into people like Norman Brown, Ronny Jordan, Paul Jackson, Jr., Jeff Golub, and Chuck Loeb to name a few. There is hardly any Smooth Jazz lessons on the web. Is it possible to customize lessons in this or any other Jazz style?

  4. RobDec 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I have a long way to go Dirk but it’s lessons like this that motivate me to keep going! Many thanks for sharing your skills and knowledge.

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

      You’re welcome Rob!

  5. Pablo Garcia da CostaDec 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Dirk, this is a great lesson, i will try to play on a mandolin. thanks.

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Would be nice to hear a recording!

  6. MartyDec 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Please explain measure 10. Love the sound of the IV/V D11 but how is the next chord a D9? (maybe I haven’t got far enough in your jazz blues book :))

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Hey Marty, that’s a typo, thanks for brining it to my attention. Fixed it.

  7. hans@drpekelharing.nlDec 13, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Hi Dirk,

    Nice stuff. I’d like to make a print of the comping exercise for a jazz blues in G, can you help me out here?

    Met vriendelijke groet,

    • Dirk LaukensDec 13, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Hey Hans, I’ll make a pdf this weekend. Groetjes!

  8. hans@drpekelharing.nlDec 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Dirk,
    where do I find this PDF?

    beste groet, Hans

    • Dirk LaukensDec 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      The pdf is ready (see link under the notation above).

  9. HansDec 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    what chords has measure 10 ?
    Can you explain, Dirk?

    • Dirk LaukensDec 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Forgot to put the chord symbols there…
      The first voicing is a C triad over a D in the bass, which sounds like a D9sus4. The second voicing moves the 4 to a 3, which sounds like D9…
      Working on the pdf…

  10. JohnnyCDec 17, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Thanks for the great lesson, Dirk! When you can, would you please share how to play the blues scale as 4-note jazz chords? We’ve all seen articles showing the major (and sometimes various minor) scales in the form of the 4-note jazz chords diatonic to the scale. What are the blues scales (major and minor) in the form of 4-note jazz chords?

  11. WalterDec 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful lesson. It’s a little beyond me, but that’s the fun! I WILL get there.

  12. HansDec 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the pdf and explaining measure 10 to me, Dirk.
    Not so easy,but that’s part of the fun.Nice blues!

    • Dirk LaukensDec 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      You’re welcome Hans!

  13. Robby CFeb 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Super lesson thanks.

  14. JoeyMar 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for new inspirations.

  15. DavidMar 18, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hey Dirk,

    I’m jsut starting to learn blues and many of the websites I’ve seen emphasize using either the minor pentatonic scale or the “blues” scale for solos. Looking at this track, would either of those scales work or is something more elaborate needed?

  16. DavidMar 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    This track sounds more like an Ellington-type blues than a B.B. King blues, so I’m thinking the minor pentatonic scale would not be “enough.” Am I right or can it work?

    • LeonAug 17, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      you can work on the whole 12 bar jazz blues with the tonic minor pentatonic, sometimes major pentatonic, the blue notes fit almost anywhere and the major 7th is a nice note to play instead of the 7th on the I7.

  17. Mark RhodesMar 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, this is a great lesson. Three choruses, all good and tasty. The pdfs on my music stand outweigh my guitar and will soon approach the weight of my amp! But it’s all so good…..

  18. MarjoMar 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Super! Thanks!

  19. wizard3739Mar 27, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Great blues lesson Dirk! My students will love it, especially the chord voicings.


  20. MichaelMar 28, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Dirk, this was a fantastically useful lesson for helping to develop a better understanding of voicings, chord leading, and passing chords. Lessons like this where you can easily take these and apply them in many other situations are just fantastic. Keep up the good work!

  21. JulianaMar 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    i know what you’re saying i can play, i just cant teach, and i dont know much about masciul theory but i play from the heart, you know.anyhow, last week a nice girl that lives a few houses away stoped by and asked me if i could teachefbbbf her guitar, people arround the neighborhood often hear me play at night so that how she found out.anyway after 2 days of teaching her, i told her i couldnt do it.i felt devastated for the entire week.

  22. tasjazzOct 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Dirk,great comping lesson on jazz blues,thanks. Am I to late to get in on the soundcloud backing track? The rectangle box with soundcloud icon is there,but the actual sound graphline track is missing. Can you help me with that? Thanks again for everything!

  23. GatofrancoNov 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    How did you call this beautiful piece? It deserves a title.

  24. GatofrancoNov 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    How did you name this beautiful piece? It deserves a title.

  25. Lungisa John WilliamsDec 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you for this im becoming better.

  26. Al B.Mar 24, 2015 at 1:06 am


    Thank you for this piece. I’m pretty new to Jazz and this exercise is perfect in helping me get a feel for the style. Really enjoyed working thru it and really made my day when I got it right all the way thru. Minor accomplishment for some, major hurdle here. Where can I find more compositions like this to work with? Most of what I’m seeing is either short 1 or 2 measure riff exercises or long full blown pieces that are a bit much for someone at my level to absorb, remember and understand.
    Again, thanks.

    Al B.

  27. CarlosApr 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Great comping Dirk, please more! Thanks a lot!

  28. JoeJul 21, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Nice ‘happy birthday’ quote at measure 21

  29. robNov 20, 2015 at 2:29 am

    wow dirk great lesson indeed my friend !

  30. RainerJan 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

    That’s beautiful.
    Thank you so much for that nice progression & all your work.
    Love this site.

  31. MarianoJan 30, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Boy. This is a great comping lesson. Do you have anymore like these that go through tunes?

  32. Anders EkmanFeb 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for a great lesson.
    I guess it’s a typo in bar 30? The chord symbol and fingering says G9#11 but the notes is a Gb9#11.

    • JerryDec 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Yeah, I noticed this too. I think the notation needs to be upped a semitone.

  33. Paul JudgeDec 28, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Nicely done, very effective and actually quite easy to finger once you recognise the shapes. Agree with Jerry above re final chord, the tab and chord name match what’s played, but treble clef notes are a semitone flat. (And at the risk of seeming pedantic, the F7 and E7 chords in bars 8-9 both have #5 as melody note, as well as #9 underneath.)
    As others have said, a very good lesson, thank you.

  34. PhilJan 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Dirk. There’s a lot of good information here.

    Question: in bars 19 & 20 the chords are labeled G9/D, Gb9/Db and F9/C. Shouldn’t the chords read G9/B, Gb9/Bb and F9/A?

    • Dirk LaukensJan 14, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Phil!
      You’re right, that’s a typo…

  35. MicheleMar 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    From Bar 21 to Bar 25 it is wonderful chord progression. In a certain way it reminds me a bit of John Pizzarelli’s jazz comping style. Thank you very much.

  36. RobertApr 11, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Great piece of work, Dirk, many thanks. Backing track and playing example are great, from a teaching perspective perhaps add a slow accompaniment track? But excellent, thank you so much.

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