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Gypsy Jazz Guitar: Rhythm & Chord Progressions

A Gypsy Jazz Guitar Lesson by Yaakov Hoter


 

Django Reinhardt rhythm guitar

 

 

This lesson is an introduction to "La Pompe", the typical rhythm guitar strumming used in gypsy jazz, aka Manouche. You'll learn how to play chords and chord progressions in the gypsy jazz style. Mastering La Pompe requires daily training. Practice the steps outlined in this lesson slowly until you feel comfortable with the technique.

La Pompe: The Technique

 

How the basic chord accompaniment technique works is best seen in the video above, but also read through the following tutorial for more tips.

Here's how the rhythm looks in notation:

 

Gypsy jazz guitar rhythm

 

Combine these 2 steps and you have the basic La Pompe movements:

Step 1:

Play an upstroke, then down stroke and quickly jump your right hand towards the upper part of
your guitar body, so that you'll finish this movement with your right hand up, close to the upper
part of your guitar body.

Emphasize the sound of the lower strings more than the sound of the upper strings.

 

Gypsy guitar chord accompaniment

 

Step 2:

Step 2 is a fast down stroke, also called the "slap". Emphasize the sound of the upper strings more than the sound of the lower strings.

 

Gypsy guitar chord accompaniment

 

Make sure that:

  • You use your elbow and not your wrist.
  • Your wrist is slightly bent.
  • You hit all of the strings.
  • You are making a fast jump up at the end of the first bit.
  • You freeze after each movement and are not making unnecessary movements.

 

Chords & Chord Progressions

Here's the chord that you can see at 3:16 in the video, a G6add9 (or G13). It sounds nice and full, but can be hard to finger for some because the bass note is fingered with the thumb + there's a barré on the 4th and 5th string with the second finger. If this chord is too hard for you at the moment, use the G6 from the first bar of the first chord progression below.

 

Gypsy guitar chord: G13

 

There's also a minor variant of this chord, Gm6add9 (see 9:33 in the video), which sounds very nice:

:

Gypsy guitar chord : Gm6

 

 

Here's the first chord progression from the video:

 

Gypsy jazz guitar chord progression

 

 

Here's the second chord progression, a I-VI-ii-V in D major (starts at 9:56 in the video):

 

Gypsy jazz guitar chord progression 2

 

 

And here's the third chord progression, a G minor blues (starts at 14:15 in the video):

 

Minor blues chord progression in the gypsy style

 

And here are the tabs for the ending (see video at 19:14) :

 

Gypsy jazz guitar ending

 

 

This lesson is a short introduction to La Pompe, to learn how to play gypsy rhythm guitar step-by-step, click below:

 

Django Reinhardt rhythm guitar

 


The author of this lesson, Yaakov Hoter, is one of Israel's premier Gypsy Jazz Guitarists. Yaakov has been a Django music enthusiast since he was 13 and since then studied under the guidance of eminent Gypsy guitarists such as Fapy Lafertin. Yaakov is also an experienced teacher and runs a great website about gypsy jazz: http://www.gypsyandjazz.com/


 

More Gypsy Guitar lessons here:

       Gypsy Jazz Guitar Soloing
       Django Reinhardt's Biography
       Django Reinhardt's Guitars
       Django Reinhardt Guitar Licks


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