Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Flatpicked Guitar Lovers Online

Discussion Forum

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Playing Advice
 Playing Advice
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Swing or "sock" style guitar

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Jim Yates - Posted - 11/25/2008:  08:25:50

I know there are a number of people on this site who play swing style rhythm guitar. A Hamilton player, Jackie Washington sparked my interest in this type of guitar playing in the early sixties and I learned a bunch of chords from Mickey Baker's black & yellow Jazz Guitar book. Here are a few turn-arounds that I've picked up over the years - I've put them in G, but they may be transposed to any key:

[G / Bm7 Bbm7 ,Am7 / D7 / ]
[G / G#dim / , Am7 / D7 / ]
[G / E7 / , Am7 / D7 / ]

Each of the major chords can sometimes be replaced by a Ma7 or 6th chord.
The last D7 can be altered by flatting the 5th, adding a 9th... any dominant 7th substitution.
Anyone else have any tricks to share?


Dear God please help me to finish what I sta

Edited by - Jim Yates on 01/20/2009 11:09:44

djangonut - Posted - 11/26/2008:  00:40:05

As well as the Mickey Baker chords, there is also a set of chords for comping style guitar in "Swing and Big Band Guitar" by Charlton Johnson published by Hal Leonard.

These chords are based mainly on the sixth, fourth, and third strings. Six string chords are considered by many to be too "muddy" for big band work.

There is a fabulous website dedicated to Basie's long time guitarist. It seems that Freddie Green played one note chords (!) for much of the time - that is fingering a chord shape but only letting the note on the fourth string sing, so you got a percussive guitar sound with only the one note ringing out.

Bucky Pizzarelli has recently, (2006 Arbors Records,) recorded a CD called 5 for Freddie as a tribute to Green. Bucky plays with drive, restraint and swing. Fabulous.

As well as playing substitutions to make rhythm playing more interesting, like adding sixths and major sevenths to major chords, and substituting minor sevenths for dominant sevenths, I like to make melodic progressions with the chords.

When I am on the same chord, say Bb, for two bars, I would play Bb Cm7 Dbdim Bb with two beats on each chord as a rising progression, starting at the 6th fret. Or as a falling one starting at Eb7 at the 11th I would try Eb7 Dbmaj7 Cm7 Eb7.


backline steve - Posted - 11/26/2008:  20:53:20

I've had call to play quite a bit of Big Band Swing. Of course Freddie Greene, with Count Basie, wrote the book.

One thing I always try to do (no matter the chord) is to give a bit more emphasis to the 2 & 4 beat while chopping wood. If the drummer and bass player will go with you it really starts to SWING!

Jim Yates - Posted - 11/27/2008:  10:06:20

If you want to be able to hear, rather than just feel Freddie Green, listen to an album called Rhythm Willie (with a limberjack on the cover) with just Herb Ellis and Freddy Green on guitars joined by pianist Ross Tompkins, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. I'm not sure if it's available on CD.


Dear God please help me to finish what I sta

Edited by - Jim Yates on 11/27/2008 10:09:17

backline steve - Posted - 11/27/2008:  11:38:00

Thanks for that heads up!
I've heard a couple things with Freddie Greene but you have to wait to hear a glimpse between the lines. Usually he's just doing his job buried in the mix. He drives the band, but listener's would have to sit with the trombones to hear him.

I always thought it was a cool concept, and Wynton Marsalis thinks Big Band is missing something without it.

Tom Jordan's book, "Rhythm Man," is a good read.

musekatcher - Posted - 12/18/2008:  15:17:42

There's so many different styles that we describe this way. I've been stuck on Eddie Lang, and the Delmores of late. I've especially enjoyed my newly acquired tenor guitar.

Jim Holland
Athens, AL

lwmguy - Posted - 12/23/2008:  11:32:07

I am getting into swing guitar. The banjo person that I am playing with is doing things like "Sweet Georgia Brown" , " Bye-bye Blues" , "Little Rock Get Away" I am using swing chords behind him. I don't know it these are typical swing songs but they work well with them.

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories