Watch the Lemon online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Funk Fission
Throughout the The Lemon Riff is my go-to-for-coolness-factor altered sus chords and, as usual, they’re serving as the hot sauce for this tasty Dorian morsel. The overall sound I’m going for is a biting m6/9 vibe through half steps tucked away in the sus chords. For instance in the beat 1 of the first bar I kick it off with a Bsus2b5b, which is spelled B-C-F. The bottom two chord tones are where the half step interval resides and against a D root they are a 6th and m7th respectively. The Fmaj7sus#4 played on the last 16th of the same beat that follows an upbeat palm punch is spelled F-B-E giving me a b3rd, another instance of a 6th, and perfect to a cool sounding 9th. Together these opening chords set the stage for the coolness of this riff and somewhat of a call to the responding Fsus#4 that’s played on the downbeat of beat 4 in the same bar.
Be sure to play very close attention to the spaces within The Lemon Riff. The first example is the eighth note rest on the downbeat of beat 2 in the bar 1 where it would feel very natural to drop a punch before that upbeat triplet 16th roll. Even more difficult to relax on the punches is in-between the quartal harmony in bar 2 where I 1/4-step pull the chords but soon after take a breather to really exploit the syncopations I’m going for there. Reason being, the Rhodes players I copped this idea from never punch comp’d and those spaces are what helps make it sound so slick.