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Watch the Doobie Mod online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Funk Fission

The variations on Doobie Mod are split into four bar chunks, which is a valuable concept in itself. When improvising comping ideas or even just straight up chord soloing, it’s a great idea to organize your ideas in even numbered sections of bars (quotients of two or four are best). First and foremost, this keeps you in check so you don’t go off on such a grandiose chordal tangent you forget what it is your embellishing in the first place. When that happens not only is what you’re playing a lot of nothing, but most likely your pocket is off as well. In addition to your policing your own chordal output, organizing ideas in this manner lets the musicians you’re playing with link up with what you’re playing enabling them to better play with you.

Whether you practice with a metronome or drum machine (in regards to preference, I suggest an easily programmable drum sequencer whenever possible) you can start to get your head and hands into this mode of playing with a simple exercise. This exercise is meant to help develop a feel for time. Start out with a one bar vamp—which Doobie Mod is—and play that over a drum loop. Play the riff in time and then stop, let a bar go by, then come in on the third bar. Continue to do so until you feel confident enough to set up a situation where whatever it is you’re playing over cuts out with you during those in-between bars. This will put your four beat feel to the test as you have to keep time when taking that whole note tacet between playing the one bar riff. Try it, it works wonders. With a solid feel for four beats or one bar in 4/4, you can begin to expand that feel into two bars and so on. Once that’s established you should begin to start playing ideas in organized groups of bars as I said before.

Steve Jenkins