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Advice on short chord based fills please

Hi guys, I play an acoustic guitar in a New Orleans and Gypsy Jazz band. I've only ever play rhythm and feel a bit lost with lead. Another guitarist in the band does all the solo work and I stick to rhythm, except every now and again the band leader wants me to do a short fill. (usually 2 to 4 bars long).
I'm not amplified and single line solos would not be heard over the crowd, so it has to be a chord orientated solo. I pretty much just play the rhythm changes but a bit louder. Does anyone have any suggestions for more interesting "chord based fills" that I could play, or point me in the right direction to learn short chord phrases. I don't even know what the technical term would be.

I read the forum a lot and can usually get your advice and experience without posting, but this query has me stumped. Cheers, John.


  • I'm no expert and you probably know this trick, but using tremelo and taking a diminished 7th chord up the neckneck every third fret is simple and effective.
  • Tremolo is a good technique and @rgrice suggestion is a good one in the right place. In the right spot you could also do something along the line of Say starting in C69 C7/E Fmaj7 F#dim C69 further up the neck and synchopating the rhythm

    Moving the bass line or the melody line through a series of chord changes in a rhythmically interesting way.

    Loud chord shots synchopated to the bass line

    A few ideas to think on
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Great ideas @rgrice and @jazzaferri. I'm particularly interested in learning some more quick chord phrases like the C69 chord change example from @jazzaferri, exactly what I was hoping for. Djangobooks never fails, thanks!
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Posts: 290
    When Chuck Berry wanted to make an impactful statement between singing, he used two string pull offs, bends, and walk ups. They're loud enough to be heard in an all-acoustic environment. Gypsy jazz versions of the same thing will work well in this situation.

    When I was taking lessons from jazz guitar master Chip Wilson in New Orleans, he showed me a number of basic walk ups and downs between chords. They are straightforward efficient three finger versions of chords in the base range of the strings. If you contact Chip, you can arrange for a few lessons that will set you straight. There's also a recent video post about inversions that will do the trick.

    If nothing else, using a couple of variations of the chords you're playing with added variations of rhythmic strokes will usually fill in and do the job.

    I am in New Orleans myself. Tell me the name of your band; I'd love to come out and see you guys and promote you among my friends. PM me and we can get together for me to demonstrate what I'm talking about. I've concentrated primarily as a lead player in this music and most of the music I've playing throughout my life. I'd be happy to share what I know with you about lead and chord work in this music.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    @John Paul Vaughan ( I don't think PM will make it to you there seems to be issues with some names )

    If you check out any of @MichaelHorowitz guitar demos when he starts playing chords you'll get some great FREE LESSONS
    check out around 120 in this you tube..

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