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Lyle Ronglien >> Jam Sessions - Smooth Jazz >>

Jam Sessions - Smooth Jazz Style

Lesson 2 - Jam in F#m

Lyle: Ready? Here we go! 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. Set your amp tone controls all to medium or about 50% and adjust from there.

Lyle: Now let's get going on this jam session in F#m. Here's the two chords used:


chord chart

Lyle: Here's the main rhythm riff using just these two simple chords:

Lyle: In the main groove of the jam track there are a couple other rhythm guitars playing little parts. Here's what they are in case you have a couple of you jamming on this together, you might find it fun to work out these other parts.

Lyle: Here's another rhythm riff using a higher F#m chord:

Lyle: If you had three guitar all playing these three parts together you'd end up with the rhythms on the jam track. All three look like this

Lyle: Try looping the last TAB file and play along, then switch to one of the other rhythm riffs, or just use the regular jam track to play along with. The circled notes just help highlight the riff.

Lyle: Let's move into soloing with the jam track. You're in F#m so a simple scale to use would be the F# minor pentatonic scale.

Lyle: One of the key elements to the smooth jazz style for guitar is what I refer to as the "secret slide". It's just a legato slide effect:

Lyle: Strike the first note and then slide the same fret-hand finger up or down to the second note. The second note is not struck.

Lyle: Now take the basic F# minor pentatonic scale and slide into every note that comes along to your index finger within the scale pattern like this:

Lyle: You can practice sliding all the notes like this:

Picky: I like how that half-step slide really adds that "jazz" sound.

Lyle: It comes in handy as it seems the smooth jazz style for guitar doesn't bend the strings too much, maybe because they are a heavier gauge.

jax: Wow, I like that slide into every note!

Lyle: Try it with other scales too, like the F# minor blues scale:

Lyle: These two chords, F#m and G#m7 are the ii and iii chords in the key of E major. This means the F# Dorian minor scale is the basic minor mode you would want to use:

Lyle: We are in F#m, but it's the ii minor of the key of E major.

Lyle: Try playing the EMaj scale against the jam track and you'll hear how well it fits.

jax: That's weird how both Emaj and Amaj scale sound good?

Lyle: A Lydian major would work better:

Paul: A Lydian is what scale degree?

Lyle: The 4th.

Paul: Same as E major then right?

Lyle: A is the 4th of E Major.

Lyle: The A Lydian shares the same notes as the E Major.

Lyle: It's like starting on A and ending on A within the E major scale:

BradB: Good thing I can slow down the jam track, I can't play the scales fast enough.

Lyle: Brad, you can also just play the scales a little slower, with more "feeling" too, instead of slowing down the jam track. If you're playing the scale notes slow, use vibrato when holding/sustaining notes.

Lyle: I tabbed out the solo from the lesson sample. It uses these scales and the sliding riff technique. Here's the first riff:

Lyle: As you see, I just started in on showing you a solo I made up for this jam using the scales I've just shown you. Notice I'm sliding around to help give it the smooth jazz sound. Practice that riff to the jam track over and over like I did in the video clip and you'll get it down in no time.

Lyle: In the next riff I play an Emaj7 arpeggio in the first measure, then an E major scale descending in the second measure:

Lyle: The next riff is a repeating variation of the very first riff in solo 1.

Lyle: The F# minor blues scale is used to make the next riff:

Lyle: The next riff is just a weird arpeggio made from stacked tri-tones (flatted 5ths):

Lyle: The last riff of this solo is made from a descending arpeggio, this time it's the C#m arpeggio which is the vi minor in the key of E maj.

Lyle: Put all those riffs together and you have this:

Picky: the first note sliding up..actually a fill tone or is it really part of the scale?

Lyle: Good question, most of the time it's a "passing tone", a note that isn't in the key, sometimes it is though.

Lyle: Good time for me to take a break.

Lyle: Fun jammin' with you all.

Lyle: Have a great week everyone and see you next time.

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