In this video, fingerstyle jazz guitar master Martin Taylor demonstrates some helpful methods for developing your walking bass line and comping techniques.
A Grammy-nominated solo jazz guitar virtuoso and ArtistWorks online guitar teacher, Taylor has collaborated with some of the biggest names in guitar — everyone from Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins to Jeff Beck and Julian Lage — and was even appointed an MBE “For Services to Jazz Music” by the Queen of Great Britain. If you’re looking to up your jazz guitar skills, you’ve come to the right place.
Walking bass lines and comping are an essential aspect of jazz guitar, but mastering them can be a challenge.
However, using a relatively easy 2-5-1 sequence (Cmaj7, A7, Dmin7, G7), Taylor breaks down the elements of these techniques quite simply. He starts with just the bass notes, then slowly introduces a few notes of the chords. Then, Taylor introduces the walking bass effect, playing a semitone either below or above the root note of the chord. Next, he syncopates the chords along with the walking bass to create the nice rhythmic comping effect customary in jazz guitar.
Of course, walking bass lines and comping can be taken to much more technical levels, but Taylor’s breakdown is a great primer on which to build your foundation.
Enjoyed this lesson? You can try free sample lessons from Martin Taylor’s online fingerstyle jazz guitar course with ArtistWorks right here.
If electric jazz guitar is more your speed, ArtistWorks has you covered there, too. You can try free sample lessons with virtuoso player Dave Stryker here.