Thumbs Up With Tal Farlow

When it comes to the art of chordal accompaniment, Tal Farlow (1921-1998) was one of the greatest compers the guitar has ever known. Here are some fat grips he sometimes threw in during the first eight measures of the famous “Satin Doll” song form. “Tal stresses that these chords are only to be used when the soloist is improvising, because they might clash a bit with the original melody,” wrote Arnie Berle in the July ’80 GP. “In some of the larger forms, Tal uses his thumb [T] on the sixth and/or fifth strings. He also occasionally frets two notes on adjacent strings with the tip of one finger, as in A7#5#9.”