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Watch the The Basics online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Funk Fission

Punch comping is an evolved form of hybrid picking that enhances the string percussion concept. It involves making contact with an adjacent set of strings—almost exclusively the 5th through 2nd strings—by literally punching them with my pick and remaining pick hand fingers (P2, P3, and P4) curled even tighter than when I conventionally hybrid pick. The resultant sound heard from the punch is yet another tone in our burgeoning percussive palette. The actual punch or palm punch will be notated as “PP” in the Power Tab charts.

More often than not after making the punch I use my remaining pick hand fingers to pop the top three strings of the group either percussively (like a faux scratch) adding yet another tone to the mix or to make a chord sound with more snap. I use this technique to break up the sometimes monotonous sound of Scratches. In addition, Punch Comping serves a catalyst for comping from a completely different head and therefore helps spark fresh sounding chordal ideas that benefit your playing from every angle.

The idea for punch comping came from a few sources, but none more than my studies with Wayne Krantz back in the mid 90’s. Hybrid picking is a huge part of Wayne’s incredibly rhythmic-rich style and it was seeing how he attacked the strings that got me thinking. Along with frequent visits to the 55 Bar where Wayne held court on Thursday nights for years with various combinations of New York’s finest (musician’s, that is), I noticed Wayne always kept his pick hand fingers in that tight, curled position you see mine are in when I slip into this technique or ones related to it. When I would be in the shed trying to emulate his approach I gravitated towards aggressively making contact with the strings probably out of frustration since no one, including myself, can play Wayne’s licks!

My approaches to harmony and the inclusion of open strings is also attributed to Wayne’s style as well as David Fiuczynski—more on that and Fuze later.

Wayne Krantz