“What are good comping rhythms?” and “can you make a video on standard comping rhythms?” are probably the two most common questions on my channel. This video is giving you an exercise to help you improvise or compose endless amounts of great comping rhythms.
Instead of making a set of comping rhythms I decided to make this exercise so you can add some rhythms to your vocabulary. When you are comping it is a big part of the job to listen to the soloist and the rest of the band and fit in what they are doing.
The idea in this lesson is to teach you three rhythms that you can use and combine to make a lot more rhythms. I have used a blues in F as a chord progression to try the rhythms out. This chord progression is well know and has a lot of different chords we can take the rhythms through.
The chord voicings and the first rhythm
Since the point of this lesson is to work on playing stroing rhythms it makes sense to keep the voicings more simple so we can focus on the rhythms.
The voicings I used in the demonstrations are simple rootless shells, consisting of 3rd and 7th for each of the chords. The voicings are shown here below.
The rhythm in example 1 are played in two variations of the first rhythm: Playing the chord on the 1 and on the 3. The 2 variations I have used is to start with just playing on the one, and then moving to playing one and three.
The second rhythm
To add some more variation the first place we can add another rhythm. This one consists of two 8th notes. Example 3 has two variations on it.
If we use the new rhythm and the previous rhythm as material to comp through a blues chorus we have the example shown here below:
The Final ingredient
The example in the previous part of the lesson is already beginning to sound good. Because we are always starting on the beat we miss a rhythm that does not start on the beat. Adding this and some variations gives us these rhythms:
Now we can improvise a comping chorus through the F blues like this:
With the combinations of these three rhythms we can comp quite varied and start to develop a big vocabulary of solid comping rhythms.
Putting it to use!
Getting these rhythms into your playing doesn’t have to require a lot of work. If you can comp these at a medium tempo with 2&4. In the beginning it is probably better to stick with simpler progressions like the blues or a turnaround. Start with the first rhythms and add the rest along the way!
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