More On Comping, not moron comping
Last Updated: November 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Playing with rhythmic integrity, constancy, and certitude is not easy. But you know it when you hear it. It is essential to making good music, regardless of genre. It is easy to focus on, and spend a disproportionate amount of time on note playing or soloing. Try not to be that kind of guitarist. Devote ample time, and I’m here to tell you that means a lot of time, to playing chords. Practice comping the changes for every tune you play, over and over and over. Listen to yourself. Record yourself. Play with a metronome. Experiment with where you hear the click – beating on 2 & 4. beating on 1 & 3. beating on 1. beating on 4. etc.. Can you change the feel and maintain the groove? Can you easily alternate between swing and samba, throw in some funk, or drop out completely and come back in exactly where you’re supposed to be? Can you create and maintain a compelling rhythm in the intro to Wave, playing it the same way every time?
Number one priority: Exuding the groove. Laying down a beautiful rhythm that conveys the feel of the tune, maintains the flow of the piece, and enables the solo player to move freely and comfortably, weaving in and out of the changes.
Use rhythmic motifs that serve as the foundation. Establish them with confidence (*this does not mean volume) but does mean precision and pocket playing. Rhythm is the engine in music. It’s what captivates the listener and binds us together. Does your comping make you want to move? (I don’t mean move out of town:)
Playing chords on different combinations of strings:
Can you adhere to certain combinations? 6, 4, 3, 2 (low E, D, G, B strings)
Inner four strings? Top four strings? Investigate drop 3 chords, drop 2 & 4 chords, etc..
Practice playing any tune, including simpler progressions like the blues, on a specific combination of strings all the way through, over & over, utilizing inversions. If you are comping in a duo, you’ve got to be able to play all your chords w/the low E string included (master 6, 4, 3, 2 voicings) Later you can leave off the top note or second string. This is all about creating a bass or low-end kind of sound. This is one of my favorite sounds to solo against.

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