Freddie Green Style Comping

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by drmilktruck, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Did he do that on purpose or just not care? I can't see a reason somebody would go out of the way to set up a guitar like that.
  2. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I can see it. With the action that high he's free to bang the living bejesus out of the bridge cable strings he supposedly used. Maximum projection was the goal.
    wildeman and drmilktruck like this.
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    Yep. It was a different approach, entirely.
    drmilktruck likes this.
  4. dlew919

    dlew919 Synchromatic

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Some Purist jazzers will tell you that you should never bend strings - they cite Freddie as someone who never did.

    Looking at the strings and actions, I don't think he CHOSE not to -I don't think he COULD.
    Paul in Colorado and new6659 like this.
  5. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    Afire’s post, above, alludes to the explanation. Rhythm guitars were the replacement for banjos as music developed. This happened as the Big Bands were coming into their own and the role of the rhythm guitar was to provide a smooth pulse which served to drive the band. Listen to Basie and you’ll hear what I mean. The rhythm guitar was as much for the other musicians as it was for the listeners. Basie’s Band was said to have breathed as one, and that’s hardly an exaggeration. They defined the word “tight”, as it refers to a musical ensemble. Green was a big part of that.

    Now rhythm guitars of the Big Band era were acoustic instruments. If you wanted volume adequate for playing rhythm in a big band, it required a big guitar, many were 18” or even 19” across the lower bout. String sets of 13-56 were all the fashion. I’ve played a bespoke rhythm cannon and can tell you that these guitars are loud. Bear down and your ears will ring from the volume.

    When The War ended and amplification really came into its own, many players added DeArmond pickups to their traditional rhythm cannons and jazz guitars were, for the most part, every bit as hard to bend strings on as a rhythm cannon.

    About that time, circa the late 1940s, the guitar world began to branch. Where it had been a world of flattops and archtops, solid bodies came into being. Even archtops changed. The ES-150 of the ‘30s was a solid wood, 16” archtop with Gibson’s bar style pickup. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the first production electric guitar to have any significant degree of market influence.

    But in 1949, Gibson changed everything by bringing out the laminate topped ES-175. This was a change in how hollow body electric guitars were conceived. The laminate was not a cost saving measure, it was intended to reduce feedback, which is another way of saying it gave up acoustic performance as a trade off for feedback resistance. It was a conceptual change because it was not in any way a descendant of an acoustic archtop. It looked like an L4, a 16” acoustic archtop, but it was a bespoke electric archtop. It was also the spiritual patriarch of the Gretsch 6120 and numerous other archtops with laminate wood tops. (There was a laminate topped Gibson archtop before the ES-175 in the form of the entry level ES-125, but early versions lacked a cutaway, even as an option, and was positioned as a low cost, even student, instrument.)

    I came from the Jazz guitar world and, like many old-school jazz guitarists, I did not bend strings much, if at all. Some of this is probably the nature of the genre itself. Jazz guitar, at least the old-school approach to Jazz guitar, tended towards understatement in delivery. Perhaps some of this resistance to bending stems from the fact that many old-school Jazz players were probably playing “bridge cables” that weren’t prone to being bent more than a quarter tone, or so, unless you possessed exceptional hand strength. In my case, I broadened my choice of genres and adapted, becoming quite comfortable bending to pitch, but it took a while.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice