Hello! Seeking advice on learning Kompa

Hello all!
As the title (and my screen name) says, I’m interested in learning to play the genre of Kompa, the national music of the Caribbean island of Haiti. I have always loved the sound of their music, so I’ve decided to pickup the guitar for the first time in my life and learn to play.

For those of you not familiar, here are samples of Kompa music with the guitar section:

I love the dreamy tones the guitarists create by combining their picking techniques with chorus, flanger, and delay effects. And the ensemble with the drums and keyboard just make me smile…I don’t know how else to describe it. Lol.

My plan is to first build a solid foundation. So I’m currently working through Justin’s beginner course. I have 1 hour per day to practice, so after the 20-minute beginner routine, that leaves me with 40 free minutes per day.

Unfortunately there are not many resources online (including this forum) for learning Kompa specifically, so I’m interested in any tips and advice from other members. For those of you with knowledge of music theory, for example, is Kompa guitar similar in its structure to blues, jazz, funk, R&B? Wikipedia says it’s in the merengue family. Would I benefit from studying these other styles?

Thanks in advance. I am excited and grateful to have found Justin and this wonderful community.

Welcome to the forum
Interesting style of music. This songs seem to be a catch riff using the Root 2nd 3rd and 4th of the A major scale followed by a riff using the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th of the scale. This is just the basic vibe of this song so learning the major scale will give a good start to understanding this song. Does all this style of music have this same vibe? If so it would be hard to learn once you have a good understanding of the major scale. The chords seem to be just A and Bm vamp with varying licks out ot the Major scale.

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Would not be hard to learn I think you meant

@stitch Thank you for the response! I appreciate your explanation of the riffs using the A major scale. I’m currently in Grade 1 of the beginner course, so I’ll check out the Scales course to see if anything make sense at this point.

That is a happy style of music. Fun.

Don’t put the cart ahead of the horse, though. Playing a rhythmic style and understanding the common cord patterns (not to mention effects) it uses is at least a little beyond beginner, I would imagine.

You will get to it, but start with just basics and as you eventually choose more advanced material to practice, look for things in your specific interest.

It may be hard to find specific lessons in this genre. If they aren’t available, learning from videos like you posted will be easier if you have gotten a good base and at least up towards the grade 3 transcribing lessons if not a bit more advanced.


Excellent advice, just what I’m interested in receiving. I also appreciate the reminder to go slowly and to focus on the fundamentals at this early stage. I’m currently in Grade 1 of the beginner course, so I have a lot more to learn.

I’m not familiar with transcribing, so I’ll also put that on my to-do list for research.

Thanks again!

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