Blues School: 12-Bar Comping

Improvisation is not just about soloing. It's also about having a range of comping styles in your bag.


Blues Comping Idea #1

The C6 chord is a commonly-used change of color from the usual C7. This pattern works great at medium to fast tempos...

12 Bar Blues Comping

Reminder: Don't forget to shuffle the dotted quarters and eighth notes.

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #2

Here is a variation of the above with a double-pumping left hand. This pattern works great at slow to medium tempos...

12 Bar Blues Comping

Technique Tips:

  1. Never throw your hands at the keys. Use a prepared attack and let gravity drop the weight of your arms/hands/fingers into each chord with just enough support to keep your hands and fingers from collapsing.
  2. There should be no flams between the left and right hands.

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #3

A bouncy, two-fisted shuffle...

12 Bar Blues Comping

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #4

This one, with some tasty chord voicings, is great at slow to medium tempos...

12 Bar Blues Comping

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #5

This one is great if you are need of a thicker texture...

12 Bar Blues Comping

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #6

A walking bass in the left hand and syncopated chords in the right hand...

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #7

Here's something a little more complicated, great at a very slow tempos...

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #8

Repeated notes and big skips in the left hand are quite a challenge, but don't give up. The time you spend studying this will pay off big time in all the music you play!

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #9

A slow Blues pattern based on Mixolydian triads...

12 Bar Blues Comping

Remember to shuffle the eighth notes in the bass.

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Blues Comping Idea #10

Something a bit more complicated, but there is nothing random here. It's all based on very basic patterns...

12 Bar Blues Comping

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Blues Comping Idea #11

Again, there is nothing random here. It's all based on very basic patterns...

12 Bar Blues Comping

Reminder: Don't forget to shuffle the dotted quarters and eighth notes.

Hint: Use the right hand from the last two beats in measure 12 as a pickup into the top.

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Blues Comping Idea #12

There are always exceptions to rules. The key to playing this pattern in style is to NOT shuffle the eighth notes. Play them straight!

12 Bar Blues Comping

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