Jazz Comping - Figuring Out How…

I thought I’d start a thread to see how folks are working through getting good jazz comping rhythms going, especially for guitar. I’m getting tantalizingly close, using a combination of Scaler 2 and Native Instruments Session Guitarist, specifically its Electric Mint preset.

  1. I set up a track in my DAW (Studio One) and drop in a Scaler 2 progression (I’ve been using the first 8 bars of “All the Things You Are” for my test). I set the voice grouping to Guitar. In the edit window, I fiddle with inversions and octaves to get the chords just right.
  2. I go into Performance/Rhythms. I’ve been trying out various Scaler rhythm patterns, and there are quite a few that have the nice off-beat patterns you associate with bebop jazz. Two rhythms I like are Common 2 and Intermedio/Libretto. But there are many more. My suggestion: search!
  3. One immediate problem you’ll find is that great jazz comping varies a lot within a tune, and even from bar to bar. Scaler’s playback performances function inside the edit window is your friend! It’s very simple to vary the rhythm, bar by bar if you want. (I wouldn’t have known this until watching the Scaler tutorial course - well worth the $15!)
  4. I’ve been outputting my guitar comps to NI Session Guitarist Electric Mint, set to Mint Pop Melody. That way, it plays back the Scaler rhythm, and not the preset rhythmic patterns.
  5. I’ve been trying to figure out how to edit the Scaler midi so that it replicates the classic bass-chord comping style of a lot of great guitarists (Joe Pass, e.g.). It’s easy enough to drag the Scaler midi, rhythm and notes, straight onto the Session Guitarist track. But when I try to edit down the chords to just output a bass note, I’m still getting the full chord. Not sure why, but I’m guessing it has to do with how Session Guitarist does its samples. I’d love to know if anyone has solved this.
  6. Alternatively, I have found that I can drop these Scaler jazz comp midis into other instruments (like the Shreddage 3 Archtop) and edit them to get bass-chord patterns I’m looking for. But I don’t like Shreddage 3’s sounds as much as Session Guitarist.

Anyway, that’s where I am so far. Learning Scaler’s playback engine has been a blast. It’s breathtaking how simple yet profound Scaler is once you get under the hood!

when i’m using the Mint guitar melody mode - i’m usually setting the fret position to 0 (depends on your playing), and the voicing to “as played” setting. also checking to make sure the bass notes are not falling into the articulation / riff section (i.e. keeping the notes into the blue section).
in performance mode - if i like the riff - the chording generally works as expected as well – but making sure the notes are still in range (otherwise my “session guitarist” suddenly starts “improvising” lol)

Glenn, this works perfectly! And it sounds pretty terrific - much better than I expected. I set Scaler to alternate between Common 2 and Intermedio / Libretto, and wrote a straight walking bass in the thumb position and it’s just great. Thanks so much for the tip!

the timing of your question was perfect as i had just done some walking bass on guitars for two new(er) songs so had sorted this out just a few weeks ago. cheers!