How to Play The Funk Using Rhythm Guitar Techniques

Welcome back! In this article I’m going to dive into Rhythm Guitar Techniques and more
specifically, Funk.

Who doesn’t enjoy funk? Seriously. This genre plays a huge role in today’s music, whether it is
Pop, EDM, R&B, Progressive, to name a few. Let’s take Daft Punk as an example and their
massive hit “Get Lucky”. This song is what it is because of those tasty guitar licks by who else but the master Nile Rodgers; his guitar rhythms and chops simply make the song. I personally go crazy everytime I listen to it, it is just so groovy; and if I’m home, I pick up my good old American Telecaster and start jamming to it. Here’s one of the rhythms I always end up playing:


The example above is in Em but you can obviously transpose it to any key you want.
Funk is all about subtleties and knowing how control the dynamics with your right hand. Here’s
my personal advice on how to master the this particular Em rhythm:

● At first, always practice with a metronome; it will really help you achieve a better timing.
● When you are muting the strings, try to move your left hand a little bit further away from
the frets, to avoid unintentional harmonics.
● For the open notes, put more emphasis on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.
● Let’s just establish that funk is a very staccato rhythm. I know I’ve written all 16th notes,
but just imagine they are 32nd notes followed by a rest.
● Just feel it.

In this case I used chords, but you can totally go with single notes, by either outlining the Em
chord tones or by playing any melodic idea from E Pentatonic or E Dorian.

Another thing you could is invert the pick pattern. Right now the example starts with a
downstroke, but you could change it and start with an upstroke. Eventually you could mix it up a
little bit, by starting with a downstroke in one measure and with an upstroke in the next

This is all for today! Please feel free to explore our huge database of rhythm guitar lessons:

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