Open Up Your Comping

In rock, folk, country, Celtic, and countless other guitar styles open strings are regularly included in chords and progressions. But a lot of jazz players tend to comp almost exclusively using fretted chords with no open notes. That wasn’t the case with the late, great GP columnist Lenny Breau. “Open-string voicings usually contain close intervallic spacings, and have a textural quality that is quite unique,” wrote Breau in January 1982. To hear how nice these chords sound—and how Breau applied them in I-VI-II-V progressions—play through the three examples below. “One of the best ways to learn new chords,” Breau reminded, “is to practice them in a progression.”
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