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How to funk on guitar in under 5mins!

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Mooncat84, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Check out these 5 quick steps! Includes some beginner (and a couple of pro) techniques and a couple of famous riff examples. Hope you enjoy it! Based off the funk styles of Nile Rodgers, Prince, and Jimmy Nolan (James Brown), who I think are the finest funk players ever! Who else is an amazing funk player? Leo Nocentelli as well, certainly...

     
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  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Isn’t your example of quarter note rhythm in 4/4 actually 8th notes? 1and2and3and4and.... That is what I feel and count there. If not, then your example for 16th notes is actually an 8th rhythm in 4/4. 16th notes in the count of your ‘4/4’ would be incredibly fast, would it not??

    I’ve been ‘funking’ since funk was born....with James Brown.....lots of ways to funk...




     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  3. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Hmm the way I saw it was 4 strums per beat (1-e-and-a, 2-e-and-a etc) and 4 beats per bar. In 8th note strumming the AND is the upstroke, but in 16th note strumming the E is the upstroke and AND is down, which is what I'm playing. Not saying that's for sure 100% definitely right, but that's the way I was seeing it.
     
  4. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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  5. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    A good intro to your vid would be a few seconds of you playing something well, before going into the nuts and bolts of it. If you are teaching funk, start the video with you playing something that has a great groove and makes people want to move, to capture their attention.

    You are listening to all of the greats, yet I disagree with videos that teach funk as playing "waka waka". It's not about that. It's a group art form. The funk is the result of putting parts together, more often than not very simple parts that are not syncopated or impressive, and coming out with a dance impulse.

    It's about being able to compliment your bandmates and add dance impulse to the music. It's about taste and groove, understanding that less is more and that each note you play is important and should add pocket. It's about being humble and leaving lots of space for the other musicians to add their piece. It not about "waka waka" and this common concept is immature and prevalent.

    In other words, do your parts add groove to what your bandmates are putting down? Or do they add clutter? Waka Waka adds clutter in most situations.

    Truth is, few people understand this, and there are hordes of people who think playing a busy, syncopated part is funky and that they have it dialed. Tasteless people who over play, clutter up grooves and think they are sweet while doing it. Get a clue! It's not about the guitar, it's not about showing off to people how cool your waka waka is....it's about being humble and complimenting your band mates. I will end my opinionated rant now.
     
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ime, up and down do not establish the beat count, and yes I have been strumming for almost 6 decades. Do this....play those 4 strikes at that speed....1-2-3-4. Then, at that same speed...beats per minute...play this...1&2&3&4&.... Then, at the same number of beats per minute, play
    1-e-&-uh, 2-e-&-uh, 3-e-&-uh, 4-e-&-uh. See how fast things get. I have never heard a funk dance song played as fast as your first four strokes are played IF those strokes are quarter note beats.
    Ex: using an electronic metronome, I find that the James Brown cut above is roughly 120 BPM. Your example is roughly 200bpm..IF it is counted as quarter notes. Ime imho, there will be no one on the dance floor for a 4/4 funk song played at 200bpm. I hold that your first example is actually 8th notes at roughly 100bpm, and your second example is 16th notes at the same BPM.

    I just set this metronome to match what you are calling quarter notes....200BPM. Then, with a flick of a switch one can listen to 16th notes at that same BPM. It sounds like a machine gun....twice as fast as you are playing in your second example.
    when I set the metronome for 100BPM, then the 8th note count sounds like your first example, and the 16th note count sounds like your second example. The only thing wrong with your example, imho, is that there is no quarter note count in your example. It takes some serious strumming to hit 16th notes at 200bpm. It would take some very serious single note playing to hit 16th notes at that 200bpm tempo. John MacLaughlin comes to mind....but he wasn’t playing funk rhythm at that speed. And...he was probably playing 32nd notes at a slower bpm tempo.

    I wish I could record this metronome and post here. But...here is 200BPM quarter notes in 4/4. Compare that to what is in your first example. This is why I say your first example is 8th notes.

     
  7. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Haha that did get quite ranty! For the record, I 100% agree with all you say. The point of the video though is to teach the absolute beginning blocks of funk on guitar. The waka waka, as you call it, is about understanding time at this juncture. IE how 16th note strumming works and how it all fits. It would be down the line (and a future lesson) where you would begin to leave out more of the muted string strikes and just play the syncopated chord stabs (unless you're going for that Nile Rodgers type vibe where he leaves a lot of them in).

    And yeah, I usually do start off all mu videos with a playing demo. I just left it out of this one because I really wanted to keep the runtime under 5mins.
     
  8. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    I went back and timed it with a metronome. The sequence I'm playing at 1:30 of the video is quarter notes at around 70bpm give or take, with 4 strums per quarter note/beat. That is 16th note strumming. Perhaps if you posted a video of you playing what you mean?
     
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  9. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    I thought the video was much better than you are giving it credit for, but that's as good a description of what makes funk 'funky' as anything I've read. The majority of bands that think they are funky, including 100% of jam bands, screw this up. It's the syncopation of interlocking simple parts that make a groove funky, not some goofy bass player slappin' the bejesus out of a bass.

    @Mooncat84 -- I liked your video and thought it was a good intro to funk playing for someone new to that style of playing. Nicely done.
     
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  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I agree with you in that example. I just think that you are playing eighth notes in your muted example at 1:00...not quarter notes. That makes your 16th notes correct to the BPM for quarter notes. However, if you count the first muted example at 1:00 as quarter notes, the the second example...which does have twice the number of strokes I agree...is made up of eighth notes. And....16th notes at that speed would be twice as fast as you are playing..... iF that first muted example is made up of quarter notes, then the BPM is far faster than the 70bpm of the example at 1:30.

    whatever.....just get the funk out, right?
     
  11. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Ahh I see what you're saying now. Yes you're technically correct. Although the example I'm playing at 1:00 is literally me just playing it at half the speed so that people can see what's happening more easily and count the 16 strums.
     
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  12. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! :)
     
  13. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Tele-Meister

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  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    IMO, you are playing at about the right speed for a funk rhythm but are simply misidentifying that the first example as eighth notes instead of quarter notes at that BPM. Imho, it would be good to give the quarter note beats so as to establish exactly what the BPM is. The eighth notes double the number of strokes from the quarter notes and sixteenth notes double that strum count again. You end up at the right place..,but the road signs you give are misleading.
     
  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yes, the 1/4 note 1/16 note thing is correct.
    I will point out though that the 'Sex Machine' guitar groove, which emphasizes the down beats 1, 2, 3 and the last 16th of 3 with a rest on beat 4 employs very very little, if any, muting and strumming of the strings in between.
    That's the funk ... and it's what 90% of all guitar players miss. It's not what you play - it's what you don't play.

    Listen carefully to Catfish Collins ...

     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  16. Mooncat84

    Mooncat84 TDPRI Member

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    Yep I totally agree! I include the muted string strokes at this point as it's a beginner lesson and so getting your head around 16th note strumming and its timing is more important at this point, rather than down the line when you'd begin to leave out the muted string strokes and just play the syncopated chord stabs.
     
  17. allthatjazz

    allthatjazz Tele-Meister

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    Do you just stay on that chord for the verses or the whole song?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  18. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    This is going to sound dense; and maybe I am. I get the part about which beats are emphasized. But what does "in between" refer to? Are you saying, for example, that the strings ring out free after beat 1 and aren't touched again until beat 2?
     
  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There are no 'dense' questions.
    The strings don't ring free. They are muted (preferably with the fretting hand) but not strummed. The idea is to have silence in the spaces between the actual chord hits. No strumming, no ringing, no nothin'.
    Not to get too tangential but the reason you don't want the chuka chuka between the accents is so that the hi-hat and the congas can speak in that part of the beat/groove.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  20. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Most instrumentalists, not just guitar players - though we are the main culprit, play way the f__k too much when they try to play funk and R&B. Settle down. Pick a simple part that locks with the rest of the band and don't urinate all over the track.

    Check out this Meters cut, "Look-Ka Py Py". Leo Nocentelli hits on all the funk and soul bases. Muted riffs, sliding chords and accented strumming with absolutely no mess in between. Dead silence. And listen for how long those silences go for, especially starting at 0:55.



    You wanna play funk. Learn this song.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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