Watch the Creative Comping Choices online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Chord Revolution: Foundations
We've covered a lot of ground here. We've talked about triads, inversions of triads and ways to use them. We've talked about thirds. We've talked about sixths. We've talked about seventh chords. And also playing fewer notes, more notes, times when things are called for, the use of fifths as power chords, impact chords. We have all these things at our fingertips at all times. In each individual situation, different things would be called for. When a musical situation is very full, you will want to play less. If there's some big bodied chords being played by somebody else, you might want to play thirds, sixths, octaves or fifths. You're making choices all along the way. Certainly for myself, I'm an improviser. I love to improvise. That's kind of always been my M.O. I didn't really grow up as a session player. I used to do sessions in Los Angeles but I was never one of the guys who really did a lot of sessions. I've always just been a player. Over the years I found a way to fit in to pretty much any musical situation. I know how at least not to hurt that musical situation. I won't do something that will make that go down. I won't distract from the good things that are going on. I'd rather not play. That's my first instinct is to not play, quite honestly. So I've learned how to fit in, and by basically looking for what is not being played. What's called for, or what could be played that isn't already being played.
That's where you come from. So we have thirds. We have sixths. We have chords. We have power chords. We have all kinds of wonderful harmony that we can use. And, once again all of this is straight out of the major scale. I always like to refer to it as the white keys of the piano. You can't hit a wrong note. As long as you know what key you're in, basically you're going to be working with A major scale at all times. Therefore, you have the seven harmonized chords that come out of that major scale, and those are the things that you play. In any and every musical situation that's going to be the case. So, we're going to do a little jam here on a blues progression with a rock beat, and hopefully I'll be able to demonstrate for you the use of a little bit of all of these things. And this is just how I play.