What type of "La Pompe" rhythm do you play?

harlemjoysharlemjoys Central Jersey✭✭✭
edited October 2008 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 105
Ok so I have MH's Gypsy Rhythm book and I notice he goes into various forms of "La Pompe" rhythm. I decided that my favorite based on the recordings on the Instructional CD and also by what are my current favorite Django recordings (late 30's stuff) is the "Traditional La Pompe" rhythm and soon I'm playing it 24/7. I then took a private lesson with a local more experienced GJ Jazz player and he's telling me that A) that type of "La Pompe" doesn't swing (I couldn't disagree with him more on that) and that B) I will have trouble playing my type of rhythm with other types of "La Pompe" like the Alsatian style which he plays (that there's rhythmic compatibility issues) when I start jamming with other GJ guitarists. He also claims that the majority of GJ guitar players around the world play this style of "La Pompe" that he's playing (Alsatian).

Basically I was wondering whether peeps on the board agree with what he told me and I was also curious, what type of "La Pompe" rhythm do you play?

Thanks for any and all feedback!


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,153
    I'd say the Alsatian type rhythm is much straighter then traditional la pompe. Nothing wrong with that...but to my ear it has less of a triplet like swinging feel. I like both...

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    haha i know that teacher you're talking about, he definitely feels strongly about it... it's evenly divided, i know of a few famous guitarists who are t he exact opposite ...

    so really it's a personal choice... and if you happen to play with someone who doesnt agree with you: don't play with him or change your playing style to suit his...
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    dennis wrote:
    so really it's a personal choice

    You know, one of the things I really appreciated about Denis's instruction, both at Django in June last year and on his great DVDs, is that he gives you a lot of options and then leaves it up to you to decide what works best for you (as does Michael).

    One of the best bits of advice from DiJ (sorry, I forget who said this) was to find out what your soloist likes and do that.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • The LosThe Los San DiegoNew
    Posts: 71
    I don't know what style I play but I've received compliments from people I meet in this style. I guess in the end if people like what you do that's what really counts (also if you like doing it). Sometimes if I go to a jam and people are playing a variation of la pompe that I don't agree with or doesn't "swing" I just play louder. Not the best way to make friends with other guitarists but many of my buddies are now bass players ha ha!
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I know that teacher as well! I worked hard to get that little upwards flick in my Pompe, which Pablo Robin of Am Ketenes taught at a class in NYC. I really love that sound! When I proudly demonstrated what I'd learned in one of my lessons, I got a severe glare and told, "We don't need that sh_t!" I still play it, but only when La Pompe Police aren't lurking about.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    For me the best would be to become reasonably good at various styles and use them depending on the song, the tempo and who you're playing with.

    That's my goal for rhythm right now, to learn the traditional, german, dutch and pompe four variations and be able to use them at will.
    Sometimes you can even mix them in the same song. Like on a rhythm changes you can do an upstroke pompe for the A sections and go for the more modern pompe four for the bridge.
  • Phydeaux3Phydeaux3 New
    Posts: 22
    I agree with BBHarry on all the points he's raised. Each song has it's own individuality and feel. Couple this with how you wish to interpret the song, you will instinctively begin to mix the different nuances in the rhythm.
    The main thing is to keep it light, full and swinging as well as keeping the tempo even throughout.

    I've not personally recognised regional differences in the rhythm just different interpretations of the rhythm, but I think you will also need to listen throughout the differing phases of the rhythm from early Hotclub up to Django's later recordings where I think the rhythm section and Django played more 'American' straight swing.

    I suppose if you're more of a Hotclub oriented band then you would need to employ the rhythm played around that era to become 'authentic'.

    I've not read Dennis or Michael's books as I've been fortunate to sit in with some of the main players in this style in UK and Europe and learned from them. However, my main frame of reference is still the 'Swing' as created by the giants of the jazz era from USA; as I believe this is the main basis of the rhythm in this style.
    Alors, un, deux...
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