adavncement in my comping: Thanks Freddie Green!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by willhutch, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    I've been exploring and expanding on Freddie Green style Fat Chords.

    I chose to investigate them in order to facilitate playing walking basslines and to incorporate more movement in my comping. This line of study has, of course, given me more choices for comping, but also given me better understanding of the inner workings of certain harmonic structures.

    First, intro to Fat Chords. These are chords played, typically on strings 6,4,3. They have an open sound that doesn't get muddy. Examples of a G7 Chord thru its inversions:

    ------------------------
    ------------------------
    -4----7----10----12----
    -3----5----9-----12----
    ------------------------
    -3----7----10----13----

    Such voicings can be mixed and matched to created smooth voice-leading. Here's an example of how you can go from I7 to IV7 (one chord per beat):
    ------------------------
    ------------------------
    -4----5----6----7----9--
    -3----3----5----5----8--
    ------------------------
    -3----5----6----7----8--

    I view the chords as G7, Dm (or F), Bbdim, G, C7.

    There is much more to say about this. However, the point of this post is to show how I expanded on this idea. So here goes:

    Now, sometimes it is better to stay up on the high strings in order to leave more room in the lower registers. So I tried raising these voicings up and octave. I quickly saw that when played on the top strings, these fat chords look an awful lot like the drop-2 chords I've been developing for the past 18 months or so.

    In the below example I show a G7 fat chord on strings 6,4,3; then the same chord up an octave; then that chord with a note added on the 3rd string to morph it into a drop-2 voicing.

    --------7-----7---
    --------6-----6---
    --4-----------7---
    --3-----5-----5---
    ------------------
    --3---------------

    Using this concept, the I7 to IV7 example I showed can be rendered like this using Drop-2 voicings.

    --7--8--9--10--12
    --6--6--8---8--11
    --7--5--9--10--12
    --5--7--8---9--10
    ------------------
    ------------------

    I'll stop there with the examples. I just wanted to share the "crossover" I experienced with my learning. Studying Fat chords showed me a way to move voices through a chord progression. I then saw how I could apply these movements within the drop-2 paradigm I have been working with for a while.

    Cool stuff. There is a lot of power here.
     
  2. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

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    Cool post. Thinking about the Bbdim - is there any "logic" to that chord other than the fact that it smooths out the walking bassline? Not suggesting there needs to be, but I wouldn't normally think of playing a Bbdim against a G7 chord and I'm curious if there's some hip substitution at work or if it just works in the context of this line.
     
  3. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    Good stuff Will! One of the things I always tell people (and myself) is that when you learn something in one octave/position on the neck, translate it to other positions and octaves. That's really how you teach yourself how the guitar works.
     
  4. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    I suspect that the whole reason to use it is to smooth the voice leading, and it just happens to be a diminished chord.

    It sounds just as cool, but different, if instead of that shape I call a Bbdim (but could have called it other things), you just play this:
    ---
    ---
    -6-
    -4-
    ---
    -6-

    Using this voicing, all three voices move chromatically. If I were to have written this in my OP, it never would have occured to you to ask about the "logic" behind that move. So, I don't think there is much logic behind the use of the diminshed, although you can come up with theoretical justifications for it.

    And an add on.....my example on the top four strings can be transposed to strings 2,3,4,5.

    One nice thing about fat chords is that, having only three notes, they can be interpreted/used in a variety of ways. When you morph them into 4-note chords, you need to decide what that 4th note will be. Sometimes it isn't obvious and you need to, or get to, make a choice. This is why I said I learned about the "inner workings of certain harmonic structures".
     
  5. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    I love this freddie green inspired comping. There is a great instructional book out there that covers this in spades: Jim Ferguson's All Blues Comping and Grooves. Starts off with the basics, then gets more complex with all the various ways you can link chords. Great stuff!
     
  6. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    Busted. That is exactly where I got started. I learned the etudes as written and then converted them to drop-2 as I showed above. You're right. It is great stuff.
     
  7. gennation

    gennation Member

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