putting the pieces together...comping/soloing

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by leumasjames, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. leumasjames

    leumasjames Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    When improvising, my goal is to go from comping to soloing and back to comping smoothly. I find this hard to do especially when I find myself on a different part of the fretboard than which I started. It is like my mind is set on doing one thing and when I try to go from one to the other, I find myself falling apart (Same goes for singing and playing at the same time, but that is another topic). Ideally, I would like to be able to meld the two together smoothly without flubbing and losing it completely.

    Any suggestions??? Players who do this well???

    I have been trying to incorporate clusters and non-standard voicings into my playing. Playing over non-diatonic stuff complicates things even more. I can hold my own with standard progressions and blues, but I am trying to expand my horizons...

    I would love to hear any input and some techniques that could open my brain up a little. I seem to be stuck in a rut as of recent times...
  2. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Learning to play your stock licks in all positions helps. This way you can avoid a lot of movement around the neck. Same with chords. Learn grips so that you can grab one from anywhere.

    For certain styles, thumb-over chording facilitates this.

    Mostly, however, I think it is about being cognizant of the chord changes as you play leads or insert fills. You need to think of the leads as being integrated with the rhythm part. Perhaps a good exercise for you would be to play a rhythm part. Somewhere in the progression play a short melody line, like, 2 beats long. Make sure that the melody flows directly into the following chord. That is, the last note of your mini-melody is a voice in the next chord you grab.

    This will get you to put the two pieces together. Hmm. I think I will try this. As I progress, I'll experiment with putting the melodies in different places and using different durations.
  3. countandduke

    countandduke Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    I too have this same problem and a lot of my recent studies have been learning and practicing my chord inversions for Major7, minor 7, Dom 7, and minor 7b5 chords and then knowing chord tones and lines for each inversion. It's not easy but I admire guys like Joe Pass who seemed to do it effortlessly...

    Good luck, hang in there.

  4. JonR

    JonR Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Try taking just 2 or 3 notes from each chord shape and playing a rhythmic pattern with them. Continue playing rhythmically on the nearest 2 or 3 notes on the next chord shape.
    Follow guide tones. Play just 3rds and 7ths on each chord - these lead naturally from chord to chord (at least they do in a standard cycle-of-5ths sequence... ;) ).
    When the nearest chord tone on the next chord is a whole step away, play the chromatic note in between to link them. (If you have more than a whole step between nearest tones, you're voicing your chords wrong... ;) )
    IOW, between any two chords, work out some kind of transition shape if possible - blur the changes.

    This is about making some exercises where you play lead AS IF you're playing rhythm: limit yourself to a couple of notes per chord and strum them (muting other strings of course). Think about rhythm, not scales.

    Then try it the other way round: use fuller chord shapes, and work out what notes you can add using a spare finger or two. There's always ways you can "decorate" a chord shape with extra extensions, momentarily.
    Eg, use your pinky to add a 13th to a 9th chord, or a maj7; or to add an 11th to a m7 or m7b5 - not for the whole bar, just on and off. You should know the scales involved as you go, so you know what other notes are available. (If in doubt, use notes from chords either side.)

    These are all strategies to break down the boundaries between chords and single-line melodies. (Those boundaries are artificial anyway!)

    For solo lines, chord tones are both stepping stones and targets - jumping off points and end points for solo phrases. So you have to know them intimately. ALL the chord tones (arpeggios), all over the neck, for all the chords in the sequence.
  5. GBStratman

    GBStratman Member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Work on arpeggios. This is the natural place to begin transitioning back and forth between chord and lead.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice