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  #1  
Old 01-18-2021, 09:58 PM
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BoneDigger BoneDigger is online now
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Default Breaking down the Robbins/Martin Cowboy sound?

I realize this could easily go in "general", but since the archtop group tends to be more into jazz and similar sounds, I want to post this here. As a big fan of Marty Robbins cowboy music, I have come to love his album Cowboy Ballads and Trail Songs. My understanding is that the lead "ranchero" style guitar was played by Grady Martin on archtop, while I "think" much of the rhythm was Robbins on a flat top (I could be wrong here).

I am also a fan of western swing music (Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills, etc.). I know there are a few videos on western swing, but not a ton. It seems like the comping and chord work in western swing isn't too far removed from jazz.

So, in relating to the sound I am looking for, is learning the basics of jazz helpful here? Or should I concentrate solely on WS music? Or should I scrap both and concentrate on Ranchero Mexican music?

Thoughts? As a young 51 year old, I don't want to spend years of intensive jazz study and am more interested in learning the basics to build on. I'm just not sure WHICH basics to build on!
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Old 01-19-2021, 06:36 AM
darkwave darkwave is offline
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I'd look into Ranger Doug, from "Riders In The Sky" and "The Timejumpers":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_B._Green

He has some instructional material available and is in general a great introductory resource to cowboy music (and how he differentiates it from Texas Swing).

-Douglas C.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:05 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Hi Bone Digger, I sympathise.

I own three archtops primarily to learn western swing style, and yes I was influenced by Ranger Doug and even have his DVD on playing style although I didn't find it very helpful. .... and thus far, I've failed.

However, I believe it is effectively comping.

With the chording following the running bass lines, using the I, III, and V (bass) notes up and down the fret board of the chords in the progression as a bass player might do but adding in in inversions from them.. . which, of course, means scampering up and down a fair bit.

Knowing where the inversions and substitutions are (kinda like "CAGED") helps a whole lot.

Here is the great Whit Smith working really hard to explain all this far meter than I can ('cos I'm still strugglng with it)

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Old 01-19-2021, 08:22 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Really interesting take on very simple chords and comping. Comping, to me, is rhythm foremost, and he really takes that pulse to a great level. Interest with the walking bass lines, but the kicker was the simple chords, mostly just three notes. I never thought of doing that!
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Old 01-19-2021, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the video link and explanation! So, how does that compare to comping in Jazz guitar? Admittedly, I'm a beginner with all of this.

On a side note, is "comping" basically the same as what bluegrass rhythm players call "vamping"?
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:59 PM
JimCA JimCA is offline
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That was a really “AHA!” Video for me. Fun to practice and play. Glad I was browsing in the archtop forum today.
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:31 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwave View Post
I'd look into Ranger Doug, from "Riders In The Sky" and "The Timejumpers":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_B._Green

He has some instructional material available and is in general a great introductory resource to cowboy music (and how he differentiates it from Texas Swing).

-Douglas C.
I second this recommendation. He's very good as are the materials.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:31 PM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
On a side note, is "comping" basically the same as what bluegrass rhythm players call "vamping"?
Comping is short for accompaniment. It is the jazz equivalent of rhythm guitar, but improvised both harmonically and rhythmically, rather than banging out chords in a consistent pattern.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:34 AM
dougdnh dougdnh is offline
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Just a heads up for any western swing type jazz fans. A hidden gem of an album is 'Brisbane Bop' by Jimmy Rivers and the Cherokees. A virtual geyser of very cool western swing guitar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2SeC0P4Ymg
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2021, 06:49 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi Bone Digger, I sympathise.

I own three archtops primarily to learn western swing style, and yes I was influenced by Ranger Doug and even have his DVD on playing style although I didn't find it very helpful. .... and thus far, I've failed.

However, I believe it is effectively comping.

With the chording following the running bass lines, using the I, III, and V (bass) notes up and down the fret board of the chords in the progression as a bass player might do but adding in in inversions from them.. . which, of course, means scampering up and down a fair bit.

Knowing where the inversions and substitutions are (kinda like "CAGED") helps a whole lot.

Here is the great Whit Smith working really hard to explain all this far meter than I can ('cos I'm still strugglng with it)

Wow! That was some really fast chord work.
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Old 03-10-2021, 06:03 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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I can't even hold a flat pick without carpet tape, but I have to say that he is a great teacher, and the producer did an ace job with the camera work.

However.......the two things I noticed above all: He needs a fret job desperately! It doesn't seem to be affecting his intonation, though.

More glaring, though, is that it's one of the rare instances where I've seen a band-sawn cutaway on a factory non-cutaway guitar.

That's an early 40's L-5, or was.

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Old 03-10-2021, 12:22 PM
CoryB CoryB is offline
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If you want to hear more of Whit Smith’s playing, search YouTube for Hot Club of Cowtown. They are a great Western swing-ish band and put on a great show if you ever get the chance to see them.

And yeah, his chord changes can be blindingly fast.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2021, 08:45 PM
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Also check out Leon Grizzard's Western swing videos on YouTube. They are very good.
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