Gypsy Jazz In The Style Of Django Reinhardt

A guide to play Gypsy Jazz in the style of one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Django Reinhardt.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
10
Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) was one of the most innovative guitarists of all time. At 18, he was injured in a fire, leaving his third and fourth fingers heavily burnt and paralyzed. Years later, he became an amazing player, using only two fingers for soloing (he reportedly managed to use his third and fourth digits for chords). 1. Rhythm In Gypsy Jazz, a rhythm called "La Pompe" is commonly used. Using a pick, play a Up-Down-Down pattern. The Up-Down part is done in very quick succession, almost like a grace note, but with a whole chord. 2. Chords Due to the fact Django could only easily use two fingers, he often would use triads. He also rarely used barre chords, with a few exceptions. A good example would be the chords to Djangology. Djangology:
Amaj  9x79xx
Cm6   8x78xx
Gmaj  7x57xx
Bbm6  6x56xx
Am6   5x45xx
D7    x545xx
G6/9  x55455
Ab6/9 x66566
A6/9  x77677

Amaj Cm6 Gmaj Bbm6 Am6  D7 G6/9
/ /  / / / /  / /  / / / / / / / /  

Ab6/9   A6/9    Amaj Cm6 Gmaj Bbm6 Am6  D7 G6/9
/ / / / / / / / / /  / / / /  / /  / / / / / / / /
3. Arpeggios Arpeggios are the bases for many Gypsy Jazz solos. In this section, I'll show some common Arpeggio pattern that can be moved all over the fretboard.
Sixth String Root Am arpeggio:
e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------8-------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------7---------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------5-7-8-----------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------5-----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-5-7-8-------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
Cmaj Arpeggio:
e|-------------8-----------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------5-8-------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------5-----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-----5-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---7---------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-8-----------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
Fifth String Root Dm Arpeggio:
e|-------------------10----------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------10-------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------7-9-10----------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------7-----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-5-7-8-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
4. Diminished Runs/Chords/Arpeggios Diminished Runs, Chords, and Arpeggios are common part of Gypsy Jazz. Diminished runs consist of playing diminished chords every three semitones, i.e.:
e|-3-----3-6-----6-9------9-12-------12-15-------15------------------------|
B|-----2-------5-------8----------11----------14--------etc.---------------|
G|---3-------6-------9---------12----------15------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Diminished Arpeggio:
e|-----------------------8-11----------------------------------------------|
B|------------------7-10---------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------5-8--------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------4-7------------------------------------------------------------|
A|------3-6----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--2-5--------------------------------------------------------------------|
Here, we started the arpeggio on an F. Then, on the B string, we jump two frets to F, instead of Fb. 5. Chromatic Runs Chromatic Runs are used quite often in Gypsy Jazz. A good example would be the chromatic run from Minor Swing:
e|-3-2-1-0---------------------------------------1/4-7-7-5-----------------|
B|---------4-3-2-1-0---------------------------3----------5----------------|
G|-------------------3-2-1-0-----------------1-------------5---------------|
D|---------------------------4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3----------------7--------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Here's another example:
e|-------------------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10--|
B|---------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-------------------------|
G|-------------------------------0-1-2-3-----------------------------------|
D|---------------------0-1-2-3-4-------------------------------------------|
A|-----------0-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------|
E|-0-1-2-3-4---------------------------------------------------------------|
Keep practicing those until you can play it as sixteenth notes at a tempo of around 200.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    libertines4ever
    "Keep practicing those until you can play it as sixteenth notes at a tempo of around 200." yeah he plays damn fast
    TOMMYB22
    its even more impressive when you realise he played with only 2 fingers
    |Long|
    Decent explaination, but it would be worth to note that Django played most of his runs around 2 notes per string. Since it's 'in the style of' there should be more focused on his style.
    gonick1220
    I can play 250, but only with a technique I picked up from flamenco & hardcore spanish and only on three strings or lower.... damn he's fast!!!!!
    Saitenstechen
    Explains some basics, but merely scratches the surface of Hot Jazz. Maybe some more references to songs by Django would have been useful.