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Lyle Ronglien >> Jam Sessions - Funk Style >>

Jam Sessions - Funk Style - Lesson 1

Lyle: Grab your guitar and jam along! Join in on these jam sessions, which are designed to teach you theory and technique, rhythm riffs, chords, scales, riffs, and solos, as you play along to the jam tracks. Listen or watch the media clips below to see and hear what you'll learn in this lesson:

Jam Sessions - Funk Style - Lesson 1

Jam Sessions - Funk Style - Lesson 1

Lyle: Let's get jammin'! The Funk style is a lot like the Smooth Jazz style but with more of an aggressive attack. Most of the funk style for guitar has cool rhythm riffs using a clean sound. Here's your jam track which is made from just two chords:

Jam Track in Em - without guitar

chord chart



Lyle: Now you're going to learn 4 different funk guitar rhythm riffs to play over this jam. Here's your first riff and probably the toughest:

rhythm riff 1

rhythm riff 1

Ak: I cant play barre chords .. ahh

Lyle: Ak, don't worry, soon you will be able to, just keep trying. The next rhythm riffs are simpler. Rhythm riff 1 is made from those two chords, Em7 and FM7. You slide into them from a fret below, just like I talked about in the Smooth Jazz lessons.

Lyle: You can click the loop button on each of these TAB files to play along with me and slow down the tempo to make it easier, or just use the jam track.

Lyle: Here's the next riff that uses the same guitar sound and chords but played in a different place:

rhythm riff 2

rhythm riff 2

Lyle: I'm using the bridge and middle single coil pickups (position 2) phased, with a little chorus, delay, and reverb on the guitar sound. Now try playing rhythm riffs 1 & 2 back to back against the jam track.

Lyle: Rhythm riff 3 is still made from those two chord, but again played in different places on the neck:

rhythm riff 3

rhythm riff 3

Lyle: Rhyhtm riff 4 is an agressive funk rhythm played on just one string. The "v" means down stroke, the rest are up strokes. Try to just strum the 3rd string, mute all the others in case you hit them with your pick.

rhythm riff 4

rhythm riff 4

Lyle: Each of the 4 rhythm riffs are two measures long. Try playing all four rhythm riffs together like this:

all 4 rhythm riffs

Lyle: You can use the jam track from the beginning of this lesson to play along with, or you can use this jam track that has the rhythm guitar in it:

Jam Track in Em - with guitar

Lyle: If you were to improvise over this jam, the first scale of choice is the E minor pentatonic scale:

E minor pentatonic

Lyle: These two chords are in the key of C major. The Em7 is the iii minor chord and the FM7 is the IV chord in the key of C major. This is a iii - IV progression in the key of C major.

Lyle: This means you could play the C major scale against this jam track and it would sound good.

C major scales

Lyle: Here's a little sample of me improvising over the jam track while using the C major scale:

C major scale example

Lyle: Since the Em7 is the iii chord in the key of C, this means you can use the third mode in the C major scale - the E Phrygian mode.

E Phrygian minor

Lyle: The Phrygian is like the natural minor scale but with a flatted 2nd degree.

Lyle: Here's a little solo I made using the E Phrygian and E minor pentatonic scales:



cowboy: Why did you use two guitars?

Lyle: I used one to record the rhythm, the other to record the lead because there are many guitars to choose from here :-)

amedeo: Your scales are so smooth, is there a daily exercise you do?

Lyle: I try to practice many different scales with and without jam tracks everyday, mostly as a warm-up exercise.

Lyle: This is a good time to take a break. One last question?

ralph: Is there a logical progression to learning scales? I have always heard the blues scales are the first step?

skips: What is a good starting mode to learn?

Lyle: The major scale is the Ionian mode. Learn it forwards, backwards, sideways, and upside down, in every key. Then do that for the next mode. :-)

Lyle: That's all for this lesson! If you are interested in receiving your own customized private lessons from me using Riff Interactive technology, you can. I can teach you more about this lesson, more riffs, theory, or even your favorite songs. Email me at for more info. Thanks – Lyle

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