Guitar Lesson: Chords, Comping, Licks, Riffs & Rhythmic Stuff Part 2

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

Guitar Lesson: Chords, Comping, Licks, Riffs & Rhythmic Stuff Part 2


Starting with a simple funky chord progression that might pop up in blues, soul or funk, Figure A takes a C9 chord and an F7. Already split up from your basic strumming full chords idea, it takes the root note of the chord on the first and third beats and intersperses the rest of the chord voicing in between (on the 2 and the 3 e + a).


Figure B keeps the same progression but adds some variation both melodically and rhythmically. Bar 1 uses the same root note and C9 voicing for the first two beats but then plays a dominant 7th/ mixolydian type lick to fill the rest of the bar. The second bar changes the first beat rhythm to two quavers and just uses the Eb from the F7 voicing on beat two. This still hints at the chord quality but is lighter in sound as a smaller voicing/single note. The rest of the bar takes the F7 voicing and plays a run of 6ths ending on the Eb (dominant 7th of the chord). Bar 3 uses some slides/half steps from a semi tone below the intended chord (C9) to create movement and add a James Brown type guitar sound whilst Bar 4 plays some double stop type fills with another dominant 7th/ mixolydian lick to finish the section.


More of the same with Figures C and D. A simple-ish progression in Figure C outlines a rock/pop/folk feel. Figure D stretches this progression a little; starting with an arpegiated Em9 sound on beats 1 and 2. This voicing creates interest due to its almost clashy sounding F# and G notes (just a semi tone apart). The D/F# sound is kept on beat 3 with a descending run adding some movement into the C major chord on beat 1 of the next bar. C major to G major is embellished with a D note on beats 3 and 4, which create some repetition. Bar 3’s A minor voicing is moved up the neck allowing us to hold most of the chord whilst playing an A Minor descending run over the top, which ends with three groups of diatonic 3rds. The whole progression then ends on the same Fsus2 with a major 7 type voicing from Figure C.


Whilst not earth shattering or out of this world, hopefully these continue to give you some ideas. Of course you need to understand some of the concepts with chords and scales behind these examples but a
lot of them are experimenting with both rhythm and melody (licks, scales, fills etc) to create something more interesting than just chugging on chords. Again, there’s nothing wrong with chugging on chords and the beauty is then that when you do play some more straight ahead comping it’s a great contrast to your funkier playing – perfect!