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Lyle Ronglien >> Jam Sessions - Smooth Jazz >>

Sessions - Smooth Jazz Style

Lesson 1 - Jam in Em

Lyle: Hi and welcome to this jam session in the smooth jazz style! The smooth jazz guitar style is very bluesy and can be played on acoustic or electric guitars. Most of the time you will want to use a clean sound from your amp along with a touch of reverb. Also try using the neck pickup for a fatter and warmer tone. I'm going to teach you the guitar parts from the media clip above. It's a solo from a song I wrote off my first solo CD (Lyle Vol. 1) called "Spinner". I wrote it one night after coming home from a concert by virtuoso guitarist Pat Metheney. A very inspiring performance that night. Let's start with the rhythm grooves for the lesson then you can learn the solo. In this lesson you'll be jamming in Em. Here's the jam track for the verse groove and the chords you'll need to know for it:

chord chart - verse

Lyle: Here's how to play these chords:

chords - verse

Lyle: This is a typical ii - V chord progression. The Em is the second (ii) chord in the key of D major, the A13 is the fifth (V) chord in the key of D major. Using the first set of chords, I suggest a rhythm groove that goes like this:

Lyle: Now try that against the jam track.

Lyle: For the second set of chords, try this rhythm pattern which is very much the same groove:

Lyle: Here's a TAB for the whole verse rhythm riff. On any of these TAB's you may want to click the loop button to help play along, or just play along to the jam track!

Lyle: If you wanted to work on your improvising, you will need a few scale choices to help come up with cool riffs. Since this jam is in Em, the ii chord in the key of D, the E Dorian minor scale is a great scale to start with. Listen how the scale fits against the jam track:

toya: I was trying Emin pentatonic licks between the chords. Will that work also?

toya: I can see now that E Dorian contains Em pent...

Lyle: Yes!

zz: Could we use F# Phrygian?

toya: Ah, that's great. It shows the intervals also.

Lyle: Yes you could use F# Phrygian.

Lyle: The A13 chord is a dominant chord and is also the V chord in the key of D. This means you could play the A Mixolydian mode over the two chords like this:

Lyle: I just got a request for the bass riff, it goes like this:

Lyle: That's it, but much faster.

Lyle: Since both chords are in the key of D major, you can use the D major scale too!

Lyle: It's true and I slaved over this tune for a couple weeks getting it to sound right for me.

Lyle: Bm is the relative minor in the key of D major, just three frets lower. This means you could play a B minor pentatonic against these two chords - Em and A13:

Picky: How do you chose your beginning and ending notes?

Lyle: I just choose any of the notes in the scale to start on and end on, if it doesn't sound good, I try not to do that again, I'll use a different note.

Lyle: You've been working on the "verse" section of the jam, now let's learn the chorus section.

chord chart - chorus

chords - chorus

Lyle: Here's the CHORUS section jam track:

Lyle: Try this rhythm riff for the chorus section:

Lyle: Got your hands full I bet.

wp: This is a great lesson

zz: good stuff...sounds great on the acoustic

Lyle: Thanks, glad you like it.

Lyle: Let's look at improvising over the chorus section. All four of those chords are dominant chords, and they all belong to four different keys. One way to handle this is to play Mixolydian modes for each chord like this:

Lyle: Ready for the big jam session?! Here's the jam track for both the VERSE and CHORUS back to back:

chord chart

Lyle: I made a solo using all of the scale options described in this lesson. Also, one of the things that makes a "smooth jazz" sound on your guitar is to slide into notes instead of bending notes like in blues and rock. Check out all the little slides going on in this solo:

Pacer: Explain slide into a note please...

Lyle: slide up from 1 fret below the target tone you're after. see solo

Pacer: thanks, it is still loading

Lyle: The solo is over the whole verse and chorus. Watch and listen to it on the virtual neck. Notice how close it is the scale options. You'll also notice it sliding up to different notes.

Lyle: You can find little riffs inside the whole solo that you like and learn pieces of it at a time.

Lyle: The video is uploading to you now.

Mike: Boy! I really like the sounds of this Lyle, that B9 chord form is to die for

Lyle: Here's the original song I wrote and recorded years ago. It features my guitar synth playing all the solos. Even the electric piano solo is me playing my midi guitar. I constructed the whole song and played all the parts from my midi guitar.

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