Get Started

Barry Harris Harmony

jazz comping Feb 12, 2015


Question by Jack Mitchell
(ChiangRai Thailand)

Barry Harris Harmony and Harmonic Method for Guitar (Alan Kingstone)

I don't even know what questions to ask; but I have been studying jazz a while now and I never heard anyone say 2-5 was obsolete.

As a matter of fact almost everyone agrees you simply can't play jazz without tons of 2-5's with or without resolutions -- maybe just lots of 2-5's strung together.

So, I'm interested in this revolutionary new way (Barry Harris Harmonic Method for guitar, see below) of thinking for guitarists; but I would like a little more info before I buy this book and stop pursuing mountains of other jazz methods available.

Hello Jack,

View my review of the Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar here...

I understand your concerns and I agree with you : II-V (and their resolutions) are an essential part of jazz harmony. The point I was trying to make in the book review is : many jazz guitarists/pianists simply comp "by shape" without exploring the full harmonic potential of tunes and progressions.

Here are some resources on my website to better understand Barry Harris Harmonic Method for guitar :

  • DOWNLOAD PDF with many examples!


  • Check out this video. A simple demonstration on the first 8 bars of the jazz standard "Out of Nowhere". I am using some ideas directly (or indirectly related to Barry Harris harmony...)

First 8 bars of "Out of Nowhere" Chords :

|Gmaj7 / / / | / / / / | Bbm7 / / / | Eb7 / / /|
|Gmaj7 / / / | / / / / |Bm7 / / / | E7 / / / ||

|Am etc.

Plus, I believe there's no substitute for experimentation. Read about this topic and try it! See what you can come up with for your comping.

View my review of the Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar here...

I hope this helps!


No Overwhelm: Boost Your Guitar Abilities By Stacking Jazz Skills


Up Next: Browse More Free Lessons On the Blog ...

How to Improvise on Jazz Blues for Guitar

Five Chord Melody Tips and Stuff for Jazz Guitarists of ALL levels

Why We Need To Re-Think Jazz Performance

5 Tips for Avoiding Back Pain While Playing Your Guitar

The Chromatic Scale

Jazz Guitar Bios - Master List