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Lyle Ronglien >> Jam Sessions - Smooth Jazz >>

Jam Sessions - Smooth Jazz Style

Lesson 5 - Jam in Cm

Lyle: This jam has a strong Latin jazz sound, mainly because of the rhythms. Here's your simple 4 measure jam track:

chord chart

Lyle: Here's my suggested way to play these chords:


Lyle: Here's how to play the rhythm pattern you hear in the jam track:

Lyle: This video clip shows you two ways to strum these chords:

Picky: How much room would you normally have with improvising the strumming patterns?

Lyle: Depends. Sometimes a different rhythm part will "break" the groove. You don't want to be a "groove killer" when jamming. That's why in the video example I start by play a simple 1 beat strum for each chord to avoid breaking the groove.

Lyle: How's everyone doing so far?

ico: no problem so far

jax: cool i like it!

Mike: I'm doing good

Lyle: Good. When improvising over a jam like this, a good scale to use is the C natural minor:

Lyle: C natural minor is also the relative minor, related to the Eb major scale. This means you could also use the Eb major scale to improvise with.

Lyle: Many guitar players struggle when playing the Eb major scale because it's not a key they are used to playing in. This jam is a great way to get in extra practice playing in this key of Cm - Ebmaj.

Lyle: Another great scale to use is called the C harmonic minor:

ico: Is it because they are used to the E major scale instead?

Lyle: Well, most guitar plays don't play in the key of Eb, Ab, Db.

Lyle: They'll play in E, D, C, A, and G.

ico: Right, I see.

Lyle: Here's an example of a smooth jazz riff using notes from the C harmonic minor scale. Notice how the sliding of the notes helps give it the "smooth jazz" vibe:

Lyle: Take that same riff and add octaves to it just like this:

Lyle: Here's how I played the solo from the lesson sample. It's made from the C natural minor scale and the harmonic minor.

Lyle: The combination of the clean, neck position pickup sound, the use of octave riffs, and the sliding into the note riffs really help give this the smooth jazz sound.

Lyle: Here's the second half of the solo:

jordan: Lyle, did I hear a little SRV style lick in the first half?

Lyle: A little blues lick, yes.

Lyle: In the blues and rock guitar styles you would be bending lots of notes. In the smooth jazz style you can lay back and just slide into the notes or riffs.

Lyle: Here's a couple more riffs that use the harmonic minor scale:

Lyle: Next I copy that riff but play the ending harmonic minor riff at a higher location:

Lyle: Here's what this solo might sound like if you added a thick overdrive and played single note lines:

Pacer: nice!

jax: Yea dude that is very nice!

Lyle: Thanks. It's a fun groove to jam to.

Lyle: That's all for this jam in Cm. Hope you're having fun with this one. All the jam tracks from this series are available for download off my web site, in a high quality MP3 format. Email me if you have any questions. Thanks! - Lyle

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