Tag Archives: jazz guitar comping

Jazz Comping – How To Keep It Interesting

Jazz Comping and especially good jazz comping is not about knowing a million voicings. It is more about how you play the chords you know. The different ways you add embellishments or connect the voicings that make the difference.

In this video, I am going to go over a few different approaches and techniques that you want to add to your comping. This will help you have a wide vocabulary of techniques and options available when you a playing chords behind something else.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:25 Focus on How you play not What You Play

0:47 Basic progression and why you should leave out the bass note

1:33 Top Note Melodies – How To Get Started

1:58 Turn you comp into a musical statement

2:47 Tying together a lot of voicings.

4:20 Arpeggiate The Chords

5:26 Chromatic Passing Chords

7:21 How To Add Fills

9:34 Inner-voice movement

11:03 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page

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Jazz Comping – Intervals is the (Beautiful) Simple solution

A great approach to Jazz Comping is to not only rely on chords but also use intervals as a way of conveying the harmony. Using intervals is an easier way to leave more space for the rest of the band, so it also works well if you play with a piano player.

In this video, I am going to go over some of the ways you can work with intervals and demonstrate how this works on the Jazz Standard All The Things You Are.

Finding intervals for Jazz Comping

If we first take a look at the first chord of All The Things: Fm7.

The note that we want to have in there is the 3rd and then add another note and check out the intervals we get, as shown here below:

Notice that I am not trying to find all options, just exploring and experimenting with what I think might work.

Voice-leading intervals

As an example, we can now look at how to voice-lead the different intervals on Fm7 to the next chord Bbm7. This could be done as shown in example 2.

In some of the examples I am adding extra movement between the two intervals. This is not too difficult when working with intervals so it is a good idea to already experiment with that option.

Counter melodies and polyphony

The final bars contain a few examples of several voices moving. In the last bar the voices are also moving in the opposite direction.

Playing the song with the intervals

When I comp like this I am not always staying completely clear with all chords, but I am trying to get an over all flow that makes sense on the song.

In this example I am keeping it simple by not having to many moving melodies and playing one or two intervals per chord.

Making an improvised Counterpoint as an exercise

You can turn the voice-leading part of this into a small counterpoint exercise that sounds like the one in the example below.

You can hear in the video how this example has a lot of moving voices, keeping one voice static while the other is moving around more.

Adding some rhythm and a little more Jazz Feel

Besides working on this with playing long notes and sustained sounds, you also need to work on using the intervals while adding some jazz rhythms.

An example of this is shown here below where there is also a focus on rhythm, not only moving voices, notes and extensions.

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5 Comping Exercises for Jazz Rhythm on the Blues

Rhythm is much more important than notes. This is very true for jazz and certainly for comping. The easiest way to learn some new rhythms for your comping is to come up with some small riffs and practice playing those through a chord progression. In this jazz rhythm guitar lesson, I am going to show you 5 great variations on some great Comping rhythms and how they sound through a Blues In F.

If you want to practice them with me then you can go to the second examples via the link in the description of this video. I’ll talk a little about that later. This way of really thinking in rhythms as phrases are really important because you can’t think about the notes, you have to hear them.

If you want to check out more material that you can use for both soloing and comping on an F blues then have a look at this Study Guide: F Blues Study Guide

The Shell-Voicings

Instead of using the voicings that I use in the example you can also simplify that part by using shell voicings. In the end this is much more about rhythm than it is about the chord voicings so that will still teach you the most important part of the material in this lesson.

Practice with the video!

In this video I have added the count-off to the perfromances so if you want to play the rhythms together with me then you can do that. If you are a Patron of the channel then you can also download the mp3 backing track via my Patreon Page

The Shell-voicings are shown here below.

You can go through these voicings and use them while practicing the rhythms in the 5 exercises.

#1 Charleston Rhythm

The Charleston rhythm is a great place to start! It is in many ways the most simple rhythm that has it all. It clearly shows the chords by stating that on the 1 and the groove and swing feel is clear from the 2& that follows it.

If you are playing with people you don’t know: When in doubt, Charleston!

#2 Pulling Forward

This rhythm is a little more busy. Here the goal is to state the groove with the first two 8th notes and then use the 3& to really pull the song forward. The 3& sound adds tension or energy and the following chord on the 1 resolves that tension.

#3 Clear Groove

This example is a little busy if you play it too much, especially if the tempo is higher than a slow medium.

It is however a complete groove and a way of laying down the harmony and the groove in a very clear way. This can work as a a great solid background for a soloist, but for some it may also get in the way.

#4 Up-Beat Energy

This rhythm is a little lighter and a great way to break things up a little. It is important to be able to play comping rhythms that are not on the 1st beat all the time.

#5 Leave it to Bass and Drums

Another exercise is to play rhythms starting on beat 2. This exercise helps you feel(or think) the first beat and then play on the 2nd. Internalizing the rhythm and the meter like this is really useful for your overall timing and time-feel.

Get more ideas for comping

If you want to expand your comping and check out some more ideas then check out this lesson in my WebStore:

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And the Shell-voicings are available here:

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How to Practice Comping and Not Just Chords

Most of the time advice on Jazz Guitar Comping is about what chords to play and not how to play them. This one is about how to actually Practice Comping.

Comping is important, but since it is about playing behind somebody else it can be difficult to practice on your own. So how do you work on it? In this video I am going to show you a few ways to work on your comping and a list of things to think about when it comes to listening to your own comp.

Ways to Practice Jazz Guitar Comping

The old method: Metronome 2&4 play some comp think about how you want it to sound and imagine the band playing with you. 

This is the most important thing to practice and you want to be able to do this well, but there are other ways where you can try to work on it.

One of the ways that take advantage of some of the things we have available in this more modern tools like recording yourself and using backing tracks. I also discuss some of the things that you can learn and think about when doing this.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Getting the Wrong Answer

0:57 Different ways to practice comping and a check-list

1:13 Traditional VS Modern Methods of working.

1:41 #1 The Ancient Method of practicing

2:52 #2 Record yourself with a backing-track

3:09 Good resources and Good Drummers

3:30 Comping with drums – Learn to Listen

4:31 #3 Be Your Own Soloist

5:50 The Essential Checklist for Comping –

6:08 Over comping?

6:44 Conveying Groove and Harmony?

7:06 Is it in Style and fits the context?

8:23 Interacting with the Band

8:43 Interacting with the Soloist

9:14 Develop You Taste with Comping – Get Inspired!

10:00 My Favourites when it comes to comping

11:01 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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Jazz Guitar Comping 3 Things You Want To Think About

In short you want to work on your Jazz Guitar Comping. It is probably what you spend the most time doing when you are playing in a band. It is also one of the best ways to develop your ability to interact with the people you play with which can makes your solos much much more interesting to listen to and add a complete other dimension to it.

There are ways of thinking about comping that will improve how you comp and in this video I am going to talk about how you

  • Connect with the band
  • Support the soloist better
  • Help the song become a musical story

Comping is a difficult art to teach in a lesson because it is about interacting with several people at the same time, but it is also a huge part of what you do as a jazz musician, and for me a big chunk of what I do for a living, both as a sideman and in my own band. It is also something that I love doing because the emphasis is on playing together with other people.

Jazz Guitar Comping – The Content

 0:00 Intro – Comping and what you need to learn

0:33 Overview of Focus areas

1:32 Jazz Guitarists Can’t Comp – Who to learn from

2:04 #1 Lock in With The Drummer

2:23 Understanding interaction and groove in a swing groove 

2:57 Don’t Clash with the Drummer

3:42 Is Good Comping Predictable?

3:58 Listen to great examples

4:35 #2 Listen To And Don’t Get In The Way of The Soloist

4:39 What is your goal when you are accompanying?

5:03 Interaction?

5:52 The #1 Rule of when to play!

6:38 Use your “Comping Ears” To Improve your own Soloing

7:31 #3 Give the Music Form, Dynamics and Variation

8:33 The Masters of making variation and development

9:35 Other examples of interaction and variation.

9:55 Take the Responsibility!

10:37 Any Advice? Leave a comment

10:50 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page

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Beautiful Chord Ideas That Will Boost Your Comping

Most of the time when you think about comping you are concerned with the chords, voicings and rhythms you are using. Those are of course important but there are also other things to consider when Comping and playing chord melody that can really transform how your chords sound.

This video is going over 4 examples of ways to play chords that can help you add something new to how you sound when you are comping or making a chord melody.

The importance of comping

In my experience, being a jazz guitarist you spend a lot more time playing chords than soloing and that skill is something you want to take as far as you can!

Content: 

0:00 Intro — Sounds better if you break a few rules 

1:09 Not Always Voice-Leading! 

2:49 Explaining the Example 

3:52 Inner-voice movement 

4:29 The Example and why you should listen to Bill Evans

 5:18 Putting it to use in a Chord Melody arrangement 

5:56 How To Practice using this

6:46 Melodic Pedal Points or Sustained Melody notes 

8:47 Arpeggio Polyphony — What most jazz guitarists forget to do.. 

9:25 The Example 

10:39 A simple application with Drop2 voicings 

11:14 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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The Quick Way To Learn Jazz Comping – Simple & Direct

One of the nicest things about playing jazz is Jazz comping where you play fills and small melodic statements behind the soloist. In this video I am going to go over a very easy way to get started playing jazz chords like this, starting with a very simple version of the chords and an easy way to add melodies to these chords.

I am going to demonstrate this on a Bb jazz blues. Starting with reduced shell voicings and expanding this into a set of chords that you can make melodies with while comping. I also demonstrate how this might work on the blues.

Reducing the voicings for comping

The first thing we need to do is to find some really easy chords for the blues. The way I am going to do that in this video is to just play the 3rd and 7th of each chord. This is also a great way to practice knowing the notes of the chords.

Bb7: Ab,D
Eb7: G,Db
G7: B,F
Cm7: Bb, Eb
F7: A, Eb

Before we start adding different variations to the chords to open up how we play them the we can Take this through the Blues this sounds like this:

Getting more options for each chord when comping

This way of playing the chords is pretty easy and is actually giving us a very clear sound of the chords.

To be able to play some more interesting melodies we need have some different melody notes. We already have one, namely the top note of each chord.

The way to do this is to add two more notes on the next string.

Bb7: D F G, 3,5,13
Eb: Db Eb F b7,1,9
G7: F, Ab, Bb b7,b9,#9
Cm7: Eb, F, G 3,11,5
F7: Eb,Gb,Ab b7,b9,#9

Before we start improvising with this we can play this through the Blues as an exercise:

To get started improvising it can be a good idea to work a bit per chord. In the video I give a short example on a Bb7 that you can check out.

Jazz Comping in Action

Once you get a bit more familiar with the chords you can play through the blues likes this:

Make chord voicings easier to remember.

Connecting different types of voicings is important because it makes it easier to use, remember and understand

An important thing to notice here is that the chords on Bb7 are really just like rootless versions of chords you probably already know. If we think about the chords as different variations based on the middle tritone Ab D (marked red) then we have this:

Take your comping further

If you want to check out more on how to practice and think about comping you can check out this lesson on comping on Autumn Leaves:

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

The Best Jazz Comping Concept Awesome and Easy

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Jazz Guitar Comping Rhythms – Exercise to make your own

“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 lesson 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 two rhythms are shown here below:

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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Jazz Comping Rhythms – Just Make Your Own

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Walking Bass and Chords on a Bb Blues – Jazz Guitar Lesson

 
Walking Bass and Chords is one of the greatest ways to comp if you are the only one playing behind a soloist like a horn or a singer. In this lesson I am going to go over a Walking bass comp on a  12 bar Bb Jazz Blues and how you play it on guitar. The video is based on a recording I made and transcribed.
 
Some of the things I discuss are on making walking bass lines on guitar, how to play them and how to add chords to your bassline. I also discuss shell voicings and drop3 voicings as being very useful for this type of guitar comping
 

Watch the video here: CLICK

The Blues and the Bassline

The Blues is probably the most important progression in Jazz, as well as in a lot of other genres.

In the example that I play in the video I am using a few more advanced embellishments with adding extra notes in the bass line and harmonizing extra notes. 

Here is the example:

The analysis of the Bass line and chord voicings

The first bar is a prime example of a simple very usable bassline on the Bb7. On the one of the bar the Root is in the bass and a Bb7(13) voicing is added. The bass line melody for the rest of the bar is a Bb triad. On beat 4 I have an E as a leading note for Eb. 

To break up the quarter note bassline I add a D under the Eb that I then use a hammer on to lead into the bar. This adds a bit of variation and makes the line a bit more exciting both melodicaly and rhythmically.

On the Eb7 the chord is on the 1 and. The function of having a short stap on a chord like that is more to add to the groove than to make the harmony clear. You cna hear this if you compare to bar 1. The bass line is again all chord tones with an A leading note on beat 4 to take us back to Bb7.

The A is harmonized with an A7 that acts as a leading chord to the Bb7 on the one of the following bar. The A7 is a shell voicing. 

Reusing the bassline and adding a tritone sub.

On the Bb7 the chord is the same shell-voicing as the A7. The bass line is identical to bar 1 using the triad and the E leading note. Here the E can be used to lead into an Fm7.

The final bar of the first line is an Fm7 E7. Here the bass line is very simple. For both chords it is 1 then 5. The chords are here played as sustained chords. This helps making the sound of the extra chords clear. 

The Eb7, Diminished chord and the minor II V

Bar 5 is the beginning of a new 4 bar period. The chord is placed on the one to make the change to the subdominant clear. The bass line is the same as in bar 2, except on beat 4 where I have an Eb to lead in to the Edim that follows.

On the next bar the Edim is E, Eb Db A. Here E and Db are chord tones. The Eb serves as a diatonic leading note and the A is a chromatic approach note to Bb.

Bb7 and the II V to C minor

Bar 6 takes the progression back to Bb. The bassline is again a Bb major triad and the final leading note Eb is there to take us to the II V to Cm in the next bar.

The Dø G7 have a Drop2 voicing for the Dø and a Drop3 G7(b13) for the G7. The bass line is using the b5 of D to lead down to the root og G. On the G7 there is a Db to lead down to the C in bar 9.

F7 altered and some more leading chords

The II V back to Bb is moving between two positions. The line starts on the low C where the Cm9 voicing is. It then walks up the scale with a leading note to the F7. On the F7 the bass line is 1 b7 5 b5. I add a chord on the 1 and. It is an F7(#9). The b5(B) is harmonized with a B7 shell voicing to resolve back to Bb7.

The final turnaround is Bb7 G7alt Cm7 F7 alt. The Bb7 is harmonized with a Bb7 shell voicing and the bass line continues up to an F to lead up to G. The G7 has aG7(#9) voicing and the next bass note is a Db to lead down to C in Cm7.

Ont eh Cm7 the same idea is used. Bassline is 1 b5 and there is a chord on the 1 and. On the F7 the bass line is 1 then 5. The chord that is added is an F7(#9).

Practice the chord voicings

To practice the voicings you can use this exercise shown in example 2. As you can see most of the chords are really quite common drop3 and shell or shell based voicing that we play all the time.

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Walking Bass and Chords – Bb Blues

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Drop2 – Tactics to Create Cutting-Edge Jazz Guitar Harmony

Drop2 voicings is probably one of the most important chord types that we use in jazz guitar. This video is going to demonstrate how you can embellish the melody you play with inner-voice movement and sometimes an extra layer of harmony. 

Exploring ideas like this are great for really understanding how the harmony moves and how each voice is moving. This will give you a great overview of the notes in the chord and also a lot of useful insight in what is possible with a chord voicing.

The Cadence

For this video I will demonstrate the ideas on a II V I in A minor. The basic A minor cadence would be:

Bm7(b5) E7(b9) Am6

Since we use melodic minor on tonic minor chords the A minor chord is an Am6.

The II and V chords are coming out of A harmonic minor.

The basic Drop2 voicings

To begin with it is probably useful to just go over the basic cadences on the top string set. This is shown in all inversions here below:

I have kept the voicings very basic but did opt for using a dim chord for the E7 to have the b9 in the chord.

Adding Extensions and alterations

One possible next step could be to add some more extensions to the chords. This can be done following the ideas that I went over in this lesson: http://jenslarsen.nl/jazz-chord-essentials-drop2-voicings-part-2/

To quickly demonstrate this you can look at the example below:

Here  the Bm7(b5) has an 11 which replaces the 3rd and the E7b9 has an b13 that replaces the 5th. The Am6 has an added 9 where the 9th(B) is replacing the root.

Inner-voices in a Minor Cadence

The first example has a half note top melody moving from A to C and finally B on the Am6(9).

The second highest voice is moving from D up to F on the E7(b9) and on the E7 it makes a small melodic movement with F, G and D. The is voice then resolves to E on the Am6.

On the Am6 the lowest voice travels from 6(F#) chromatically up to the Maj7(G#).

Melodic movement in more parts of the harmony.

In this second example the top note melody is moving on the Bm7(b5) and then the 2nd voice takes over on the E7. The E7 voicing on beat 3 has a #9 and also a #11 suspending the 3rd. The inner voice moves from A# to C and on the C the top note melody takes over and moves from F to G to resolve to the 5th(E) on Am.

On the Am the first voicing is an Am6(Maj7) and there is an inner voice melody travelling from G# to B on the final chord.

Counter Harmony – Counterpoint 2.0

The beginning of the 3rd example has the top note melody moving, similar to what was happening in the 2nd example. 

On the E7 the melody is a high C and under this I move all three voices adding a different layer of harmony. The first voicing is an E7(#9b13) and the idea is to move the #9 down to the b9 via the 9th. The way I do this is by adding B7 on the F# so that there’s a quick B7 passing chord under the sustained C note melody.

From there the E7 is resolved via a dim chord voicing to an Am6. On the Am6 the 2nd voice is moving from the 6th(F#) via the root to the Maj7(G#).

 

A practical way to learn this

The examples that I went over in this lesson are of course quite dense with innner-voice movement. I made them like this to demonstrate what is possible and to give you some ideas to make your own chord progressions.

When you want to work on this you should probably try either take one of the ideas I use (so one of the chords in the example) and then insert that into your playing. This will make it easier to work on getting used to thinking like this.

 

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Drop2 – Inner-voice movement and Melody – Minor II V I

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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