When working on jazz guitar comping, learning chords all over the neck is essential, but one topic many guitarists often neglect is working on is their rhythm skills. In today’s instalment of the 30 Days to Better Jazz Guitar Comping series I will be showing you a great way of learning how to play the charleston on guitar which I learnt from the great guitarist Jamie Taylor.

The Charleston rhythm is simply a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note.

This rhythm is used all the time and sounds great in both single line playing and comping, but one progression that it is especially suited to it a 12 bar jazz blues.

The first step is to feel confident in playing the Charleston rhythm on any beat within a bar just using one chord which is in this case a Bb7.

Play through the following exercise and note that the charleston rhythm has been displaced by an eighth note in each bar so that you  get a firm grasp of how it feels and sounds when starting on different beats.

 

charleston on guitar

 

When practicing all of the rhythms in this lesson, it is important that you keep time with your foot or by using a metronome in the ways discussed at the beginning of the book.

If there’s one particular bar that you find the rhythm harder to play, isolate that one bar and keeping looping it until you feel comfortable. You could also try clapping the rhythm before playing on the guitar.

Once you can play the rhythm on each beat of the bar move on to the next exercise.

 

 

Charleston on Guitar Blues

 

The next step in learning the charleston rhythm is being able to play it on different beats of the bar while switching between the chords of a progression, which is in this case, is a 12 bar jazz blues.

Although some bars of this exercise might not sound completely musical and you would not just use this one rhythm at a gig, the exercise will help ensure a thorough understanding so that you have the ability to use it anywhere you want. The exercise will also help develop your sight reading skills.

Here is the first exercise, adding the Bb Lydian dominant as a passing chord in bar 7 helps the phrase sound more musical.

 

 charleston on guitar

 

When you have the first exercise down, try the next one.

charleston on guitar

 

Have fun with playing the charleston on guitar and once you feel confident playing the two I have wrote have a go at making some of your own.

Make sure to practice the rhythms over different tunes and mix them with other jazz guitar rhythms that you know.

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Did you find this article useful in develop your jazz guitar comping rhythms? Share your comments in the section below this article.

 

 

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