Interview: ANU Associate Lecturer Greg Stott on the Art of Jazz Guitar Comping, Practice Tips in The Woodshed and More

Interview: ANU Associate Lecturer Greg Stott on the Art of Jazz Guitar Comping, Practice Tips in The Woodshed and More

Today I want to share with you a fabulous conversation I had with Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer and Resident Jazz Guitarist at the Australian National University.

In this podcast, Greg delves into:

  • The biggest mistakes jazz guitarists make when it comes to practicing
  • Greg’s thoughts on jazz online education and how it compares to more traditional university based teaching
  • A sneak peek of Greg’s brand new albums coming out soon
  • and much more…

We also talk about the latest FretDojo Academy jazz guitar comping course that Greg Stott and I collaborated on, and the reasons for why mastering comping is an essential requirement for anyone wanting to call themselves a pro jazz player.

 

Check out the podcast here:

New Comping & Chord Soloing Online Course: I’ve recently released a brand new course entitled Comping & Chord Soloing Deep Dive, presented by Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer of Jazz Guitar at the ANU School of Music and the featured artist on today’s podcast.

Simply put, this new course is brilliant.

Greg Stott has put together a comprehensive and step-by-step methodology for building up essential comping & chord soloing skills. This was the course I wished I’d had when I was first building up my chordal techniques.

The best part:

You can access this course FREE by signing up to a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to the new course as well as my entire collection of video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

Thanks guys, let me know what you thought about this interview by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

Cheers,

Greg from FretDojo

Greg Stott

Greg Stott

Greg is an Australian guitarist and teacher. He teaches jazz and contemporary guitar at the Australian National University and has been a featured performer at numerous events including the New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival, the Sydney Olympics Festival, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the National Folk festival and a number of international sporting events. He has also played for Australian Prime Ministers and foreign dignitaries and performed original compositions for national broadcast on ABC FM. Greg has returned to study and is currently completing his PhD at the Australian National University but still maintains a busy performing and recording schedule.

In addition to performing with The Greg Stott Band and the Utopia Collective, Greg has performed or recorded with a range of jazz, classical and pop artists including:

Hetty Kate, Grace Knight, James Morrison, Andrew Gander, Tim Kain (Guitar Trek), Tim Strong (USA), Don Johnson, Miroslav Bukovsky, Brendan Clarke, Wayne Kelly, Craig Scott, Gery Scott, Craig Schneider, Ra Khahn, The Idea of North, John Mackey, Mike Price, Eric Ajaye, Col Hoorweg, James Greening, Dave Panichi, Ben Hauptman, Peta Gammie, Jackie Love, Rhonda Birchmore, Hayley Jensen (Australian Idol), Steve and Rae Amosa, Kirrah Amosa Gabby Birmingham, Elana Stone, Meg Corsen, Adam Sofo (The Voice, Silverchair, Guy Sebastian), Robbie Zootster, Steve Allen, The RMC Duntroon Big Band, and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

Guide Tone Chord Voicings – Everything You Need To Know

Guide Tone Chord Voicings – Everything You Need To Know

Guide tone chord voicings (also known as ‘3-7 voicings’) are the essential building blocks of chordal playing on jazz guitar.

In this video you’ll find out how guide tone chord voicings can made comping astonishingly easy in any comping situation you might find yourself in.

That’s not all:

You’ll also learn how you can ‘dress’ up guide tone voicings to make instantly cool sounding chord solos so you can wow the crowd at your next gig.

Now the exciting bit:

​​This video is a free sample lesson from our new course I’ve been talking about lately, “Comping & Chord Soloing Deep Dive”, presented by special guest Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer of Jazz Guitar at the ANU School of Music.

This brand new course includes a complete walkthrough of the essential chordal techniques required by any jazz guitarist, including drop 2 voicings, drop 3 techniques, chord soloing shortcuts and more.

This course is an excellent opportunity for you to fill in any gaps of your comping knowledge so you can conquer your comping – so you can get more gigs!)

The best part:

You can access this course FREE by signing up to a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to the new course as well as my entire collection of video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed this video.

What are your exciting ideas and thoughts on this topic?

Let me know in the comments.

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

5 Reasons You Should Focus On Comping In The Practice Room

5 Reasons You Should Focus On Comping In The Practice Room

Comping, i.e. playing the chords in the rhythm section, often considered to be an afterthought for many a jazz student.

But here’s the thing:

Ironically, as a jazz guitarist it’s the MOST important skill you will probably ever acquire.

5 reasons why:

#1. It’s the thing you spend 90% of the time doing on the bandstand. At some gigs you might only take a few solos here and there, but without a doubt – you’ll be comping the whole night long.

#2. Comping can be just as creative as soloing – the possibilities in rhythmic placement, chord inversions, and interactions with the other musicians are endless.

#3. It helps you develop the rhythm feel in your playing overall, which is the most important thing in jazz.

#4. Getting your comping solid can improve your “fretboard literacy”, which will in turn enable you to have more security when you solo. E.g Joe Pass often talked about the way he thought in terms of chord shapes to help him navigate the fretboard. and…

#5. If you are a skilled at comping and can keep the rhythm section moving, you’re much more likely to be booked for more gigs in the future.

Now the exciting bit: I’ve recently released a brand new course entitled “Comping & Chord Soloing Deep Dive”, presented by special guest Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer of Jazz Guitar at the ANU School of Music.

Simply put, this new course is brilliant.

Greg Stott has put together a comprehensive and step-by-step methodology for building up essential comping skills. This was the course I wished I’d had when I was first building up my comping techniques.

The best part:

You can access this course FREE by signing up to a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to the new course as well as my entire collection of video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

Wrap Up

I hope you found awesome tips  in the video.

What are your exciting ideas and thoughts on this topic?

Let me know in the comments.

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

Learning Jazz Guitar Scale Patterns – Tips for Success

Learning Jazz Guitar Scale Patterns – Tips for Success

In this video you’ll find out the answers to the following:

  • How do you ensure that you actually remember those jazz scale patterns you’re spending so much time learning in the practice room? 

  • How do you stop tearing your hair out with boredom and start practicing scale patterns in a more musical way?

  • How do you practice scales efficiently to get best results in the shortest possible time?

Check out the above video for the secrets revealed!

Pro tip: If you’re looking for jazz standards to build your set-list, with all the resources and backing tracks in one place, it might be worth giving my FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy a try.

It’s got a huge collection of lessons on the site and features many courses focussed around learning classic jazz standards (melody, comping, soloing, chord melody and more).

The best part:

You can get a no obligation, 14-day FREE access pass to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy to see if it is a good fit for you, no credit card required. To get instant access, go here: https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial/

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on strategies for learning jazz guitar scale patterns.

Now over to you:

what tips can YOU share with your fellow readers?

Leave a comment below with your ideas and thoughts on this topic…

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

How to Kickstart Your Jazz Guitar Practice Routine After a Lull

How to Kickstart Your Jazz Guitar Practice Routine After a Lull

If you haven’t been playing your jazz guitar lately, and finding it hard to get back into a practice routine, then today’s post is for you.

I’ll be honest with you:

It’s not easy to maintain a jazz guitar practice routine.

Whether you’re a student at jazz school seeking to be a pro player, or retired and just want to learn a few jazz standards for your own enjoyment…

The pressures of life can easily disrupt the practice routine of even the most well-intentioned.

But:

There’s a simple approach to firing up your jazz guitar routine and getting back on track.

It’s my ‘Three Day Set-List’ Method. 

Let’s check it out!

Step 1: Choose 3 jazz standards you’ve learned (or half learned) in the past

Go back through your set list or song collection and choose 3 songs that you enjoyed playing in the past. This is going to be your “mini set-list” for the next few days.

 

 Step 2: Get all your ingredients in order

One of the biggest obstacles preventing you from kickstarting your practice again is when your tools and resources are hard to find.

Make sure you have all the “ingredients” at hand to cook your jazz cake, namely:

  • Your guitar is tuned and ready and waiting on a guitar stand (rather than in the guitar case).
  • Get backing tracks for each of the songs you chose in Step 1, and assemble a playlist on your computer or audio player. (Hint: as a shortcut, my FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy has high-quality backing tracks for loads of jazz standards at multiple speeds). Otherwise, find some backing tracks on Youtube or elsewhere.
  • If you don’t have them already, get copies of the charts by looking online, or have your real book handy on a music stand.

In a nutshell, I want you to be able to just go straight in your practice session without having to look for tracks or charts. It’s a great feeling to be able to walk straight into your room and begin your “set”.

Step 3: Commit to practicing daily for the next 3 days

When you’re trying to get into a routine again, I find it works better if you don’t focus so much on the analytical and technical aspects of playing.

Instead, what you should do for the first 3 practice sessions is to just “get in the thick of it” and start playing the songs again that you chose in Step 1, running them through as if you were playing your set at a gig.

Don’t be too concerned if it’s all a bit rusty. I just want you to get started again making some music and not trying to get everything perfect. Put self-judgement aside!

So for the next 3 days, play through each of the tunes once or twice through doing the following:

  • Play the melody (reading from the Real Book or charts is perfectly okay)
  • Play through the comping
  • Improvise around the melody for a couple of choruses or do some simple lines you know
  • Play a chord melody version of the head (if you’re skill level permits)

Rinse and repeat for each of the 3 tunes you chose earlier. That’s it!

Benefits of the ‘Three Day Set List’ Method

Try this for 3 days, and you’ll be surprised at what’s happened:

  • You’ll feel like you’ve made a strong start back into your playing.
  • You’ll have the confidence of knowing you’ve got 3 tunes under your belt.
  • You’ll have given yourself a general workout on the guitar and things won’t feel so rusty.
  • You’ll have a good stock of material to develop specific soloing, comping, and chord melody approaches.
  • You’ll be more motivated to practice jazz guitar regularly, and feel like you’ve “gotten over the hump”.

Why this method works

By avoiding self-judgement, and simply committing to playing a set list daily for 3 days in a row, you’ll instantly have a set of tunes under your belt that you can improvise over a little.

That’s a very satisfying outcome for just 3 practice sessions, and it will give you the confidence and encouragement to continue your studies.

Here’s the thing:

Often players start to lose interest in jazz because they get too caught up in analytical approaches, technique, and “trying to get it right”. In doing so they miss the heart center of jazz, which is beautiful melodies, cool harmonies, and a living rhythm.

Once you have a solid set-list, it then becomes much easier to build more advanced approaches to soloing and so forth.

If you don’t have a set-list, it’s hard to put the various jazz techniques you’re learning into context. It’s very important to make sure you have a set of tunes you can play with familiarity.

If you’re stuck in a rut, I highly recommend you give this ‘3 Day Set-List’ method a try.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for jazz standards to build your set-list, with all the resources and backing tracks in one place, it might be worth giving my FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy a try.

It’s got a huge collection of lessons on the site and features many courses focussed around learning classic jazz standards (melody, comping, soloing, chord melody and more).

The best part:

You can get a no obligation, 14-day FREE access pass to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy to see if it is a good fit for you, no credit card required. To get instant access, go here: https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial/

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on this very important topic of re-kickstarting your practice routine for jazz guitar.

How about you – what ideas do YOU have for getting your practice routine “back into gear?”

Leave a comment below with your ideas and thoughts on this topic…

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

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