Guthrie’s East City Lights Rhythm Chord Ideas
Keeping with the semi-tone run down ideas like the semi-tone solo run I covered for the Digitech Jam Man Post (I’ve used that run on these Govan Jam Tracks a bit also), I wanted to document some ideas for similar, but in a rhythm guitar context after jamming to Goven’s Late Night Session jam tracks, which can be purchased from iTunes and elsewhere.
If you are into learning improvisation, these albums are great, not just for guitarists of course – John B had a blast over them on my DJX having never heard them before. This vid will give an idea what a half competent player should aspire to – being able to play over a track due to experience of the common chord progressions that are used in most popular music – 1,4,5 and 1,5, min6, 4 for example, amongst others – without having heard the actual track you are listening to, before, The Best of Times in this case:
City Lights is in A# Minor.
Just for my ease of writing, I’ll just put all the chord shapes you need for each section that work without the note names. It’s up to you to find out where they go when you jam to it. The first A#min section chords that I found can utilise a semi tone descent (red note) in the rhythm chords is simply moving one note each bar over the A#min – playing only the top 2 or 3 strings mainly:
This red note follows the bass line which is a semi tone descent.
This is why it’s an interesting track to jam to (Guthrie knows what he is doing as a teacher here) as the track moves through 3 main sections whilst keeping a nice easy reggae groove, that can be strummed along with just using minor7, dominant7, ½ dim7, and maj/min7 chords, in its simplest form, or put the above type of chord substitution or other passing chords you might like, in each bar to make it less boring as a rhythm guitar (or keys etc.) part.
The second section is simply two chord shapes – G#dom7 to C#maj7 – then the same moved up 3 semitones to Bdom7 and Emaj7, then back to G#dom7. These 2 shapes are:
The third section – a A#min/D#min7, has a nice interesting jazzy turnaround to take it back to the first A#min section above.
Chords shapes that work here are below – A#min, D#min7, D# ½ dim7, and Fmaj/min7:
This 3rd section above has the staggered timing accented chords on the 2 ½ then 2 bar counts. I found this tricky to learn initially, having to count it out loud while trying to play it.
I’ll do a vid to clarify this:
All that remains now is to pull off 5 mins of nice soloing WITHOUT any bloody mistakes! Yeah, right… already tried a million times and failed.
The problem with improv is the balance between playing slow and safe but boring, and going for those runs that will make the day, and keep it interesting but carry a high error risk factor.
Still, it was an interesting comparison playing to these Jam Tracks using the Vox instead of the Guvnor2. The Vox sounds great also, particularly the US Hi Gain setting with Tap Tempo.
I’ll put something up of the Vox lead tone, if I can find anything that isn’t error riddled – I’ve video’d a lot of stuff the last few days, but most of it is crap so far and I got sick of reviewing it…
This will have to do for now – still got mistakes, keep tripping up over the first G# key change mainly, but it shows the tone of the Vox AD30VT on US Hi Gain setting:
As with anything, the more you play to it, the better you will get, and will discover different runs and licks that work, and find different ways to view the fretboard for a particular track in its particular key.
Learning the rhythmn chords for any track first is always a good idea as even if you cannot “hear” the key change note you need whilst soloing up to it, you can just visually move to a note in that chord shape at the change – the root being the obvious choice – until the sound of that change is learned and added to your “sonic vocabulary” so to speak. Over time you will gain sonic associations for where you are on the fretboard in a particular scale, to where you need to go for a given key and chord type change. (Well, let’s hope so!).
Remember – playing ability is directly proportional to the hours spent playing your instrument. There is NO shortcut for this, as you fingers have to learn where to go as second nature, which is ONLY accomplished through repetition. The motor cortex of the brain is a different area from the the emotional, sound and language processing parts that decipher music intuitively, logically and subjectively.
I will cover more of these tracks in future as there a few that I really like to play over for different reasons.