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Any tips for developing a good swing feel?.......

Tim Bowen

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3,481
Freddie Green / Count Basie

https://www.google.com/search?q=fre...oid-sprint-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8


Also, in playing with ensembles that contain keys or horns, sparser, implied chords are often the ticket for the guitar. For instance, on a blues, it can be effective to play only tritone jabs (3rd & b7) for the changes. Danny Gatton did this sort of thing often when playing standards with Hammond B3 player Joey DeFrancesco.
 
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harmonicator

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4,714
For me, the epitome of swing is a relaxed and graceful display of syncopation (in the context of a jazz swing groove) by way of the musician's extraordinary ability to listen to the music as it's happening. Swing as a distinct style... I guess you can argue that is where Bop started influencing jazz, when things became more syncopated. 4 to the bar chunk rhythm comping, big band swing, etc. vs. a smaller group where things are freer.

Not only his lines, but listen to the way he comps for Pim during his piano solo on the blues here:
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
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23,114
Any tips for developing a good swing feel for comping and lines? Thanks!
The biggies...Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane.
Comping Horace Silver, Wnyton Kelly, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner.
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
For me, the epitome of swing is a relaxed and graceful display of syncopation (in the context of a jazz swing groove) by way of the musician's extraordinary ability to listen to the music as it's happening. Swing as a distinct style... I guess you can argue that is where Bop started influencing jazz, when things became more syncopated. 4 to the bar chunk rhythm comping, big band swing, etc. vs. a smaller group where things are freer.

Not only his lines, but listen to the way he comps for Pim during his piano solo on the blues here:
Man, Wes really was something very special. So relaxed and free, yet completely on top of it always. The man even swung on that Latin beat in the second tune. Thanks for sharing that! :aok
 

The bear

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10,903
Work with the metronome on 2 and 4 play short rhythmical motifs with small variations. Slower tempos is really good. Do it every day.
 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
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3,043
For me, the epitome of swing is a relaxed and graceful display of syncopation (in the context of a jazz swing groove) by way of the musician's extraordinary ability to listen to the music as it's happening. Swing as a distinct style... I guess you can argue that is where Bop started influencing jazz, when things became more syncopated. 4 to the bar chunk rhythm comping, big band swing, etc. vs. a smaller group where things are freer.

Not only his lines, but listen to the way he comps for Pim during his piano solo on the blues here:
This is the coolest Youtube...EVER! Wow...Wes is such a musical cat! Knew it from the CDs I own, but watching him play, jam and walk the band through a tune is just amazing stuff...beyond cool.

Thanks for the holiday gift!
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,852
Any tips for developing a good swing feel for comping and lines? Thanks!
Yeah, sure! First thing- there's more than one kinda swing. Take Lester Young vs Coleman Hawkins. And within that, every player kinda has their own thing, take maybe Wes Montgomery vs Kenny Burrell. I think of it as similar to walking; we all have a unique stride. We can try and change it, try and replicate aspects of the strides of others, but we all have what comes naturally to us and maybe shouldn't fight it.

I feel developing a swing feel on the guitar (single notes) is especially difficult in comparison to many other instruments, and takes a lot of time and effort. I feel this is due to the nature of picking in general, as it's sort of an un-natrual motion (for most), and beyond that namely the differences between upstrokes and downstrokes. Many of us have spent a lot of time on our technique in effort to minimize those differences (strictly alternate pickers I'm looking at you!), trying hard to get both strokes to sound perfectly even. IMO, when trying to develop a strong swing feeling, this may not be the best approach, as we can use the natural differences between the two to our advantage.

Which leads me to my next point- IT'S ALL ABOUT THE UPBEATS. How you accent the upbeats is sooooo important, and often over looked. I mean, it's everything. Why? Consider that your downbeats are always going to be in the same place. Yes, you can push or drag but in general, downbeats should be pretty square ON THE DOWNBEAT. So if that's the case, where does that swing feeling come from? I mean, what's left? It's from accenting the upbeats. That's where you can push or pull, that's where you develop your sense of swing. Now consider, when I say upbeats I'm initially talking about 8th notes, if you were running scales it'd be the do-bee-do-bee-do-bee-do-bee- thing, but you can extend that to other divisions of the beat, including triplets. In this context you're pushing (rushing) the upbeat, and that's what makes it swing. There's always a push and pull happening- you push that upbeat, and then that next downbeat pulls you back in. So we can use the natural, built in differences between upstrokes and downstrokes to further enunciate this. Think about a guy like Benson and the way he angles his pick, he creates a very different swing feel than a guy like Kenny Burrell- Benson's upbeats tend to be pushed even further ahead, as his technique cuts the string on the upbeats making them faster with more treble "pop". And both are very different than Herb Ellis. If you just watch their picking hands you can almost hear the differences in feel, even with the sound off.

And then the other side of that coin is- listen to a guy like Joe Henderson or Wayne Shorter, who can swing like mad when (seemingly) playing straight 8ths. Which brings me to my next point- TOO MANY SUCCESSIVE SWUNG 8TH NOTES ARE BORING. OK, this is obviously personal preference, but when I hear a guy going do-bee-do-bee-do-bee-do-bee- the majority of their solo, I usually loose interest pretty quick. One quick way to add interest; start lines on the upbeat (I think that's been mentioned), and don't be afraid to carry a phrase over the bar (also previously mentioned). Of course, this isn't as easy as it sounds, especially when you're starting it, but it's important and can be helpful. And lastly- you don't have to swing everything! Sometimes a little goes a long way.

Comping is much the same (as in, all about the upbeats), and to be honest I find comping behind a horn player in a situation like a piano-less quartet even more difficult than soloing. It's about being supportive without getting in the way, both rhythmically and harmonically. As far as swing, there's a couple basic patterns, give a listen to Red Garland and then Wynton Kelly in the great Miles quintets for some good examples. But you can get pretty far just thinking about where you wanna land square on a downbeat, and where you wanna throw in an accent.
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,259
I risk coming across a way I don't wish to come across with this, but...

Maybe asking anonymous players on a message board for advice isn't the way.

And not just because you probably don't know our qualifications (although that's a good enough reason to not listen to any of us)-- but more importantly because words are incapable of communicating very much about the essence of a good swing feel.

Swing is not an intellectual exercise. It's a FEELING. You do not learn to swing from reading words any more than you learn to love from reading words.

To learn this feeling you must go straight to the source. If you're unable to spend a lot of time around really swinging musicians and play with them, the next best thing is to immerse yourself in recordings. Don't just listen to them-- IMMERSE yourself in them. Live those records. Memorize them. And SING THEM.

There is no "method" for swing and no shortcuts. But it is the most natural thing in the world--a thing that requires no trying whatsoever--if you just immerse yourself completely in it. If you find yourself confused about it, or trying to do it, then you need more immersion. It only really works if it's natural and instinctual.
 
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