Jamming with and interacting with other musicians in a performance context is one of the best ways to get better at playing. This holds especially true for bebop and other forms of jazz. Tuning into the rhythm section helps you get better at comping. And, taking your turn as a soloist can be a catalyst for improving your lead playing skills.

In her course, Trading Solos: Bebop, Sheryl Bailey will jam with you over five commonly played bebop progressions. You’ll take turns comping for Sheryl, and then she will open the floor for you to take a solo while she comps for you.

Here are four video bebop guitar soloing lessons from the course. For The cull course, check out Sheryl Bailey’s Trading Solos: Bebop on TrueFire!

Bebop Guitar Lesson – Track 1 – Overview

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“Say What?” is based on the modal jazz staple by Miles Davis, “So What”. This is certainly an important situation to know how to navigate, a static, modal groove. How can you make the comping interesting from chorus to chorus? How can you develop hip melodic lines, that go beyond running scales? That’s what I’m here to share with you!

Bebop Guitar Lesson – Track 1 – Comping Approaches Demo

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Grooving in the pocket and keeping it simple is the key on this modal tune. I like to use “open sounding” voicings in 4ths to keep the harmony open for the soloist and creating an open vibe. Locking into the rhythmic pattern gives space for the bass and drums to fill in the spaces to make the groove deeper. As I move to the next couple choruses, I add more color to my voicings and let the bass player cover the roots. In the last chorus, I explore creating movement on the static harmony by making them into II-7 V7’s.

Bebop Guitar Lesson – Track 1 – Three Licks Ideas

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The secret to making this simple chord progression sound slick is in the comping rhythms: Locking in with the rhythm section to really be a section, strong together to support the soloist. In the first chorus, I just lock in with the R.S., using an open sounding min7/11 voicing.

In the 2nd chorus, I lock in with a syncopated rhythm, keep it in the pocket and steady to make the groove heavier. Also, I imply a II-7 V7 progression on the static Dorian sound: This is commonly used by bebop players to create harmonic motion: “waves on top of stillness”

On the last chorus of comping, I use the II-7 V7 sound, but share some variations in the voicings by adding 9’s and 13’s, to sweeten the sound. The licks I’ve shared with you follow the concept of creating a II-7 V7 line over the static Dorian: Lick #1 uses the G7 bebop scale combined with a Dmin7 arp. Lick #2 outlines a Bmin7b5 over the Dmin7 – that equals a dim6 sound! Lick #3 outlines an Fmaj7 arpeggio against the Dmin7 – that equals Dmin7/9. So, the trick is to imply harmony against a static modal jam.

Bebop Guitar Lesson – Let’s Trade Solos – Track 1

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Let’s jam! I’ll start things off with a solo, and then it’s your turn to take lead while I play rhythm. Listen for the comping techniques and soloing licks we talked about, and then try them out yourself. Don’t forget to back me up while I’m soloing!

Digging these free bebop guitar soloing lessons? Check out Sheryl Bailey’s full course, Trading Solos: Bebop.