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Jazz guitar: Comping chords and walking bass lines

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Justin518, May 15, 2011.

  1. Justin518

    Justin518 Member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Hey all, I have just recently started a working jazz guitar duo and I would like to improve my skills of walking a bass line as I comp through chords. Can anyone point me in some good directions as far as free internet learning goes, or if anyone just has some general knowledge or help any thing is appreciated!

  2. chronowarp

    chronowarp Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    The key to doing it, in my experience, is just building up some bassline "licks" for certain chord situations. If you're just littering ii-V's everywhere it can be an extremely easy thing to do!

    Here is a good video on a more complicated walking bass/comping approach:

  3. MortenFaerestrand

    MortenFaerestrand Member

    May 16, 2011
    Search for Tuck Andress' instructional video, that'll keep you busy for some time:)
  4. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    It isn't that hard. Search youtube for "walking bass guitar" and I bet you find useful stuff. For chord forms, the drop-2 and drop-3 voicings will give you a ton of flexibilty. Google it.
  5. slyzspyz

    slyzspyz Member

    Apr 7, 2007
    Perth, Western Australia
    first of all can you play bass? or play on guitar an authentic sounding bassline that outlines the harmony, has good sound, feel and forward motion? Work on that first before worrying about chords.
    A thing to be wary of once you have the technique down is the rhythm of the chord stabs, try to change it up a bit so the chords aren't all on the 'and' of the beat. eg Play a I-vi-ii-V pattern with chords on beats 1 and 3, as well as the usual syncopated placements. Vary legato and staccato chords as well
  6. sausagefingers

    sausagefingers Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    'Neath the shade of an old walnut tree
    I think I usually end up approaching the downbeat of each change from a half step above or below depending on where I'm approaching from.

    And the chords are just 2- or maybe 3-note 'stabs' on the upbeats.
  7. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    One little tip I'll throw out is when in a situation where you're going from comping/walking bass to playing lines and melodies it can help to pick/pluck much closer to the neck (maybe even over the neck) to get a darker, bassier sound. Just makes it stick out more as a bass part.
  8. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    The hands-down best book on the topics (comping and bass lines) is Barry Galbraith's Guitar Comping. Best $15 you'll ever spend. The bass lines are all in treble clef. You do read don't you?
    Bear in mind, their is virtually no explanation, formulas, secrets etc. given...just excellent examples by a jazz guitar legend. By the time you've played through the book for a year or so you'll be a walkin' fool!

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