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  1. #1

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    Hi Folks, first post here.
    I'm pretty new to jazz guitar, and trying to understand comping better in an ensemble situation. Richie Zellon has a "minimalist comping" video:
    which really caught my attention. I want to sound just like him when I grow up
    He offers some tips on how he goes about it, but its somewhat perfunctory, at least for someone at my level. So, I'm going down the path of transcribing & analyzing what he's doing, chord by chord, on the two tunes he plays (It Could Happen to You, and What Is This Thing Called Love), and then hopefully figuring out how to apply what he's doing to other tunes. My question is, what resources are out there to help me understand this style of comping better?
    Thanks for any input you may have
    - snow

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    You might take a look at True Fire's course by Fareed Haque, "Jazz Comping Survival Guide." I'm slowly working my way through it, and Fareed's ideas of comping with guide tones and adding extensions and alterations as appropriate seem to be what Zellon is advocating (from the little I saw in the above video). Here's the intro to the course:
    Jeff

  4. #3

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    I would say take Zellon at his word. He points out that he elaborates further on the concept elsewhere - but you have to pay.

    But in general there are a few things at work here.


    1. Basic rhythm (at first anyway). Whole or half notes.
    2. Dyads (Two-part counterpoint)
    3. Playing either the 3rd or 7th, or both, on every chord (or almost every chord)
    4. Include tensions and altered tensions to taste.


    So:
    1. Pick a tune or two
    2. Write out some two part chords using the above "rules" - then play them.

    The more you do this, the easier it gets. The easier it gets the better prepared you'll be to do it extemporaneously.

  5. #4
    Thanks, that's a good idea, I'll give it a try

  6. #5
    I have also looked at Fareed's course recently (I have a truefire subscription) -- He starts out "minimalist", with only 7s and 3s on the middle two strings, but he then starts to add extensions on both of the top two strings, as well as bass notes. I can probably modify what he's teaching to help me understand Richie's comping better

  7. #6

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    First off, what he's doing is a more advanced technique than many players use. And, I'd argue that some soloists wouldn't even like it. He's got a lot of movement, to the point where the ear may be drawn to the comping rather than the solo. The comping is in the octave above the solo for the most part, which is not applicable in a lot of situations, particularly if it's busy. In a band situation the comping probably ought to be more sensitive to the soloist than is likely in a situation where one player is recording twice.

    Typically, the first comping lesson involving dyads involves playing on the D and G strings, just 3rds and 7ths, thru the cycle of fifths.
    So for example you play xx56xx for A7 and then xx45xx for D7. You'll notice that it's the same grip dropped down by one fret. Do that again and it's G7 and so on. That's a nice smooth transition between the chords, often referred to as voice leading.

    Typically, the soloist will be at a higher pitch, but that depends on the solo instrument.

    For an older style swing tune you start with the charleston beat one, and-of-two. There are lots of other patterns, but most people start there.

    Next step, you try to make a simple melodic phrase with your highest note as you comp, being careful not to conflict with the soloist. When the soloist plays a lot of notes, you get sparser, typically. And the reverse. In jazz every rule is beautifully broken by good players so don't take any of this too rigidly.

    After that, I'd probably teach chord melody. And, after that, back to comping by considering the content of the chord melody and simplifying it by leaving out notes and playing a nice rhythm. And, that gets you somewhere in the area of this video.

  8. #7

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    Hmm the Richie Zellon video, I wouldn't particularly follow his path in comping as presented, he's very elaborate on voice movements, but it lacks the percussive element, which is more important than voicing IMO. The Fareed video is much better, I'd go with him.

  9. #8
    Typically, the first comping lesson involving dyads involves playing on the D and G strings, just 3rds and 7ths, thru the cycle of fifths.
    So for example you play xx56xx for A7 and then xx45xx for D7. You'll notice that it's the same grip dropped down by one fret. Do that again and it's G7 and so on. That's a nice smooth transition between the chords, often referred to as voice leading.
    That's what I'm working on right now with Autumn Leaves, and ready to try adding upper extensions on the top two strings.

    After that, I'd probably teach chord melody. And, after that, back to comping by considering the content of the chord melody and simplifying it by leaving out notes and playing a nice rhythm. And, that gets you somewhere in the area of this video.
    That's an interesting approach, I hadn't thought of that.

  10. #9

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    I like the advice here, all useful stuff. I’d just add

    1) most guitarists comp too high for other guitarists

    2) don’t be afraid to play incomplete voicings if it means you stay out of the way. Shells are great 1 3 7 or 1 3 6, but you can go simpler, just a third or a seventh.

    3) practice with others, but if you can’t record yourself soloing or playing a melody and comp with that.

    4) be rhythmically strong. Master four, two and one in a bar, Charleston and pushes are basic rhythms.

  11. #10

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    Its comp - lick -ated ! ......sorry ....

    anyway

    a really important thing is to keep the groove going
    ie if you can't find the next grip , play a muted string or two
    play anything .... but keep the rhythm going

    this supports the tune better than some clever thing played out of time
    playing with bad time is a sin , do not do it

    Its amazing what notes you can get away with playing
    if you groove is good
    just my experience , feel free to dissagree

  12. #11

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    I'm playing a lot with a pianist and Joe Pass mentions in the video that was just posted to use 2 or 3 note voicing.

    This has been working well since the pianist tends to overplay and these voicing cut through what he is doing without stepping on him.

    But it took me a while to stop using the 4 note voicing I was use to, since the majority of my playing was just with another guitar player.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    a really important thing is to keep the groove going
    ie if you can't find the next grip , play a muted string or two
    play anything .... but keep the rhythm going

    this supports the tune better than some clever thing played out of time
    playing with bad time is a sin , do not do it

    Its amazing what notes you can get away with playing
    if you groove is good
    just my experience , feel free to dissagree
    I've been playing drums since I was 6yo, so I totally agree!
    (ps, I added the bold above)