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Comping during Guitar Solo

pitzelberger

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Hi, I play in the rhythm section of a band (guitar, bass, accordion) and in a duet with guitar. Music is somewhere between swing and jazz. In both settings, my biggest struggle is how to comp such that the guitar can solo. Usually the guitar is doing the main rhythm work and I do more some kind of syncopated cord or fills or play melody, but then when the guitar wants to solo I have to jump in and somehow have to fill the gap such that the grove continues. Of course an accordion cannot replace a guitar and it seems that many bands simply solve this by having two guitars. And of course there are also artists like Richard Galliano who can perfectly accompagnat a guitar in a solo setting, but his kind of coming feels like out of what a normal guy than me can do. Anyway any thoughts and ideas are welcome.
 
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jozz

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Here is a great example of Richard after his own solo he goes into guitar accompaniment.

I would say key words to "rythm accordion" are:
  1. Having some idea and preparation how you are going to fill in each piece/song.
  2. Less is more: well placed ghost notes are important to 'feel' the groove
  3. Use and timing of bellow changes / shakes.
cheers



 

Pipemajor

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Here is a great example of Richard after his own solo he goes into guitar accompaniment.

I would say key words to "rythm accordion" are:
  1. Having some idea and preparation how you are going to fill in each piece/song.
  2. Less is more: well placed ghost notes are important to 'feel' the groove
  3. Use and timing of bellow changes / shakes.
cheers



Bireli Lagrene was one of my heroes a few years ago, after Django. I even bought a "Petite Bouche" to try to emulate them then realised later that I was about 50 years too late to start. It now languishes in the closet :(.
Returning to the" comping" question, most Scottish Country Dance Bands use a second accordion as rhythm accompaniment ,(or they used to during the 50s and 60s). I know it's a bit different to jazz, but the principle must be similar :unsure:
 

Tom

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Seems like it's necessary to be able to "feel the rhythm" and to just groove with it on the bass and chords, using the less is more technique noted by losthobo. No particular pattern will work with every tune, but if you learn to feel the groove and chord with it you'll go a long way.

Then try to add some fills near the end of a line, when the soloist is not playing. Start with simple two or three note phrases descending to the root of the chord in play. In time, of course. Scaler, chromatic, arpeggio, 3,2,1.

Repeat 100 times and gradually (re)invent for yourself more interesting comping and fills.

Just my 2 cents, might not even work but that's what I try to do.
 

pitzelberger

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Am I the only one who was puzzled by the wish to adjust one’s hair while a guitarist is playing?
Sorry my fault. Shouldn't have used my phones auto complete. I have corrected the title and text.
Seems like it's necessary to be able to "feel the rhythm" and to just groove with it on the bass and chords
Yeah I was also thinking that by using the bass and chords I can get more of a groove, but usually I don't touch the bass when I am playing in the band.
Here is a great example of Richard after his own solo he goes into guitar accompaniment.
I was expecting to get some Richard Galliano video as example. But as said in my post, I think his kind of comping is far from what I expect to be able to do. I would be more interested in some video of some average dude doing some decent accompaniment on the accordion πŸ˜‰
 

Valski

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There is a lot of missing information here. Are you playing acoustic or digital? Are you looking to practice this on your own before playing it with the band?

I have a Bk7m backing module and sometimes pick a rhythm and improvise some comp to the style of backing track that's being played. Since I don't have a steady combo that I play with this has to suffice, but I remember when I was doing this with a live group. Perhaps you could find yourself something to play along with and by repeating the groove over and over again you should be able to play something that you find pleasant to your ear. If you keep it simple you stand a better chance of getting the right feeling to your groove.

As a bit of a purist, I don't see why you don't use the left hand to add to the music. You can omit that as required, but the bass on the accordion is there for a reason and it will add to your fills and accompaniment.
 

pitzelberger

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There is a lot of missing information here. Are you playing acoustic or digital?
Acoustic
Perhaps you could find yourself something to play along with and by repeating the groove over and over again you should be able to play something that you find pleasant to your ear.
I can use Ireal Pro and can just have the bass play. The problem for me is not comping in general in a band setting. It is when the guitar stops playing rhythm and switches to soloing and it is only the bass and me left for doing the rhythm work.

As a bit of a purist, I don't see why you don't use the left hand to add to the music. You can omit that as required, but the bass on the accordion is there for a reason and it will add to your fills and accompaniment.
That's actually a very interesting topic on its own for me: wether and how to use the bass in a band setting πŸ€”
 
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Tom

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Play the same rhythm the guitarist was playing when (s)he stops playing rhythm to solo?
 

dan

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Music is somewhere between swing and jazz. In both settings, my biggest struggle is how to comp such that the guitar can solo. Usually the guitar is doing the main rhythm work and I do more some kind of syncopated cord or fills or play melody, but then when the guitar wants to solo I have to jump in and somehow have to fill the gap such that the grove continues.
Yes that's a challenge. I used to play gypsy swing in a quintet (bass, guitar, mandolin, accordion, clarinet), as well as in larger jam sessions (2-4 guitars most weeks), and found that accordion can do a better job than mandolin at keeping the rhythm going while guitar solos (more low end), but it's not as full and crisp a sound as you get with a second guitar player. Most professional gypsy swing groups have a dedicated rhythm guitar player, and then the accordion player can stick to the syncopated chords and fills, like Gus Viseur does here during the violin solo on Minor Swing.

I think his kind of comping is far from what I expect to be able to do. I would be more interested in some video of some average dude doing some decent accompaniment on the accordion πŸ˜‰
My approach was to use right hand on solos, and comp using left hand only, with bass button on downbeat, bass+chord buttons on the off-beat, and sometimes a little grace note. I'm using this technique plus a backing track while I sing on this video--this was part of Tom's "learn a song a week" challenge, so "average" and "decent" may be overstating the quality of my performance.


I don't often see accordion players using left hand only to accompany other musicians but I recommend it because it allows you to grab a sip of beer while playing. ;)
 
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losthobos

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If I'm backing guitar soloist... Less is more.... So bare bones of the groove
Try playing just the 3rd and 7th of the chord with the right hand on beats 2 and 4 of the measure with perhaps a little push here and there before the beat...a simple trick on a 3 chord trick say in C is
Play E and Bb (3 and 7 of Root C) slip downa semitone Eb and A (7th and 3rd of 4th F) or slip up a semitone to F and B (7th and 3rd of 5th G)
Hope that makes sense... Then follow same mentality for your 6,2,5,1 changes...
This amount of space leaves harmonic space galore so the soloist can roam free and your still stating the essential bones...
 
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Tom

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check out @NigelB

his accompaniment is great and you might find him a bit more real than Richard

good for inspiration

Wow, what a great live stream, thanks! Great backing, fills, and vocals here. Loved the opening tune of episode 76, Quando, Quando, Brazilian beat with triangle, Italian and English lyrics, so cool. Yeah, I'll donate.
 
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NigelB

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Gosh thanks so much Jazz and Tom! I’m literally blushing now. Your appreciation as fellow accordionists means more than all the applause or payment I might get out there in the world! :)

To add to the great points already made to pitzelbergers question,

In a band setting I do use the left hand quite a bit. If there is a bass I switch registers to remove the low reeds and play quite simple chords without any oompah bass. I still use the single notes to navigate and flesh out chords and add rhythm but I have to be very careful not to get in the way of the bass or guitar.
Definitely no root-fifth stuff, just the root in a higher register same as the chord buttons. If you don’t have bass registers you can just turn the bass eq down on a mixer to get out of the way of the bass player.

I know what you mean when the guitar stops it seems like there is a hole that needs filling.
One thing you can do is to be already a major component of the rhythm section. That way there is no hole.

Accordion is a king of instruments with all sorts of textures and the whole range of pitches, rhythms available. Use them all. You can emulate the rough frequency range of a guitar and approximate the rhythmic pattern much of the time. Again you can do it better with two hands. Especially the rhythmic elements.

Check out tutorials on gypsy jazz guitar rhythm. Le Pompe style accompaniment. Translating that to the accordion really helped me and opened up doing duets with guitar.
 

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