The third eBook from Bill Farrish offers a practical look into the world of comping. There are a lot of books that teach basic jazz guitar voicings from shell voicings as well as drop-2 and drop-3 voicings. But, there is still a lot of room for books that guide the jazz guitar student on how to apply the voicings within the context of a tune.
Some that come to mind include Bret Willmott’s Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing and Complete Book of Harmonic Extensions for Guitar. Earlier works that are popular include Barry Galbraith’s Jazz Guitar Study Series #3: Guitar Comping and of course Ted Greene’s Modern Chord Progressions. Other lesser known works that are pretty cool include Ron Anthony’s aptly named book “Comping: A Practical Method for the Accompanying Guitarist”.
All in all, the purpose of these books are to put the chords in context.
In this regard, Bill Farrish delivers on the promise of the book.
The format is simple. Bill chose three jazz standard chord progression and has notated his choice of voicings that he use when working with a bassist. The result are three studies that are worth memorizing and practicing to help develop your comping skills. The rhythms are kept simple for the first two studies to help keep the focus on the voicings.
The third study is more involved and includes the comping rhythms.
There’s a lot to digest here! What I would suggest is to learn and memorize the original basic chord changes first for each tune (if you haven’t yet) and then compare what you might play and what Bill has suggested. Using a lead sheet and having some classic recordings of these tunes to refer to can be helpful as well.
Playing these along with a friend (another guitarist or bassist) can help accelerate connecting your ears and hands to these sounds. Alternatively, you can also use a backing track with just bass and drums to help you hear these in context.
In conclusion, if you enjoyed Bill’s previous eBooks (Long Arpeggio Studies by Bill Farrish and Fretboard Essentials Book 1 by Bill Farrish that I previously reviewed), you might enjoy working on this eBook too.
UPDATE (Feb 26, 2023): Since this review was published, Bill has updated the eBook with a new introduction that gives more context to the material and how to practice it. This is a helpful addition. Thanks Bill!
Pros: Good examples of how voicings are applied in context.
Cons: Minimal explanation of the voicings, tensions and added approach chords/reharmonization choices.
TLDR: If you already know voicings for jazz guitar playing but are not sure of how to put them in context, this eBook might be able to help you connect the dots and apply the voicings in songs.
Get your copy of the eBook here: https://guitarschool.billfarrish.com/fretboard-essentials-book-3
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