JGT contributor Zakk Jones shares his thoughts on understanding
the sensitivity, patience, and collaboration involved in comping.
Think about how much time you spend practicing. Now, compare the amount of time you spend practicing soloing vs. comping. Let me guess, it’s pretty disproportionately skewed towards soloing right? Now think about how much time you actually spend on the bandstand soloing vs. comping. Probably a lot more comping right? Herein lies the funny disparity between these two concepts, and how much practice time we give to one or the other.
If you are in any way interested in playing jazz with other people, whether it be professionally, at jam sessions, or just for fun with friends, you need to make sure you actually practice comping and understand its importance. Comping, or accompanying, isn’t just playing some basic grips behind a soloist, biding time until it’s your 2 minutes to shine. Think of your favorite jazz guitarists. You don’t get to that kind of level without having spent serious time understanding the sensitivity, patience
In this video I talk about some of the basic things that should be present in your comping, and how to practice them. Here are some of those concepts!
- Rhythm above all else!
- Don’t overuse one type of rhythm, use a mixture of long/short and on the beat/off the beat
- Use simple rhythmic and melodic motives that can be repeated and altered
- Comping on the guitar sometimes can be compared to a mini-big band or horn section, really in the pocket with varying tensions and resolutions of harmony and voice leading
- The concept of leaving space applies just as much to your comping as it does to your soloing
- Transcribe someones comping rhythms
- Peter Bernstein
- Wynton Kelly
- Ed Bickert
- Red Garland
- Incorporating melodies as background figures
- Use simple blues melodies
- Think about how horn sections use background lines/figures and
stabsin a big band or larger ensemble, translate that to the guitar in a small group
- You don’t always have to respond or react to a soloist
- Make sure you don’t get in the way by forcing your own favorite rhythms or harmonies
- Know when to use dense vs. thin harmonies
- Understand different types of voicings. Use a mix of larger and smaller voicings, simple vs. complex harmonies
More Zakk Jones JGT Lessons HERE
Fender Begins Celebration of 70 Years of the Iconic Stratocaster with All-New Models
Shakti’s “This Moment” Nominated For The Best Global Music Album Grammy Award
A Passion For Fine Wine and Quality Guitars
Video Podcast: Eleonora Strino Explains Why She Learned An Oscar Peterson Solo
Is Jazz Guitar Dead? (Hint…NO!)
New JGT Lesson: Davy Mooney Explores Playing “Guitar Trio”
New Vince Lewis Arrangement, “As Time Goes By”
Thorell Fine Guitars
What Should I Be Working On?
Wolf Marshall Talks To JGT About His New Jazz Guitar Course
Thorell Fine Guitars
Ryan Thorell is known for world-class original guitars collected and coveted by some of the best musicians around the planet...
For over 20 years, Philadelphia, PA-based luthier Bill Comins has been dedicated to refining a line of instruments with the...
Theo Scharpach builds Fine Archtops and Classical concert guitars from his shop in the Netherlands. Theo Scharpach is recognized as...