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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Comping Do you?

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parlour player - Posted - 01/03/2019:  02:20:15

Hi I have just been watching Don Vappie on youtube

Comping on the Banjo, he makes it so so easy .
So do any of you Comping Masters have any tips for me?
such as Tab, video?



Alegria - Posted - 01/03/2019:  03:44:58

He is such a great player! I have no advice for you, sorry. I only recently got my first tenor banjo. My best guess would be to learn some jazz chord progression and practice the rhythm.

Ryk - Posted - 01/03/2019:  05:43:58


PM me your snail mail address and i'll send you a copy of an old article about Don where i believe he talks about this a little. There's some other notes i have from Don Stiernberg the mandolinist that might be helpful, because the chord 'grips' will be similar but because of the difference in tuning they'll be different keys.


davidcava - Posted - 01/03/2019:  06:22:20

Good Morning Jan. I'm only a Journeyman in the tenor jazz, but I'll throw my dime in. I don't know how far along you are in your playing, but the first thing to do is learn the 3 chord formations in maj, min, and 7th's. This will take you very far in the comping dept.

I went to a workshop by Tenor Banjo Master, and Jazz Scholar Bob Barta last year, and he mentioned playing along with your favorites on the net. I would suggest bands with no banjo. If you record yourself, you can make judgement of your own playing progress.

 This is one I did this morning after reading your post. I'm too loud in the mix, but you get the idea. As you can hear......I was NOT in the groove with the Marsalis Family........I hear myself pushing the beat.....and getting lost, but that's what practice is for right? When I get lost, I usually try to just chuckmute all the strings until I feel like I'm back in. Anyway, I won't leave this up for long, but you the idea.

Judith511 - Posted - 01/03/2019:  07:34:15

That is a great idea. I think I will try it. There is so much on the internet to see. I have not got the skill of playing along quietly. I am assuming it is also called chopping or Bill Evans calls it Vamping. That is a great way to practice without embarrassment :). You sound good davidcava

aintbrokejustbadlybent - Posted - 01/03/2019:  07:46:23

parlour player
Hey Jan,
I’ve watched Vappies vid numerous times. I personally try to do what he suggests.
Do you have someone local that you can either play with or take lessons from? If not Steve Craddick is a fine player and gives Skype lessons at a very reasonable fee.
Please don’t overlook the importance of the right hand while you are focusing on the left hand and neck. Speaking of that Buddy Watchers homespun video is very good.
Not sure what your playing experience and music background are but why not start off with a simple tune. I posted a video on YouTube a couple of years ago playing St. James Infirmary (I can send a link if you like). It’s an easy tune to grasp. I could make a tutorial video if that would help.
I’ve benefited so much from Eddy Davis’s videos. David Cavage has done a number of tutorials that are easy to follow and very instructive. Highly recommend.
It’s great to see a number of people discovering the tenor banjo. I’m relatively new at it. I was glad to find this site and all the generous souls.

Ryk - Posted - 01/03/2019:  07:55:06

Plus one for Steve CADDICK.


mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 01/03/2019:  10:23:31

Every chord and it's possible inversions are on this chart. Learn in every detail the red major triads first and then start moving fingers to generate the other 58 chords.


parlour player - Posted - 01/03/2019:  17:31:08

Thank you All for a great response to my request,
and the solid advice .

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