Funk guitar lessons can greatly differ from other styles and genres. The techniques and methods of playing funk guitar are very secular from its cousin’s rock and pop guitar. The following article will cover what funk guitar is and what to expect when taking funk guitar lessons.
Funk guitar is very rhythm oriented and often in the background. The fretting hand usually does very simple chords, but is released immediately after it is strummed to “mute” the sound since chords are seldom supposed to ring out in funk. Long durations of a song may be a single chord played repeatedly. Funk is all about locking into the “groove” with the drummer. Funk guitar lessons will be taken on an electric guitar, usually with single coil pickups because of the bright clean guitar tone used in this style, but can be played on a guitar equipped with humbucker pickups as well. A popular guitar among funk guitarists is the Fender Stratocaster.
Since funk guitar is usually played on the higher strings of the guitar, the use of partial chords or only a few notes at a time is most common; power chords that are used in rock and metal almost never are used. When taking funk guitar lessons you will learn to use chord voicing’s such as the 9th chord and to not play the lower strings and notes of the chord. You may also learn the 13th chord, a chord usually used in jazz, but used as a passing chord in funk. In funk guitar lessons you may also learn to “invert” major and minor chords so that the “root note”, the note from which the chord derives its name, is on the first string. Since funk is all about rhythm and timing, your funk guitar lessons should include counting and playing 16th notes and odd combinations of ¼, 1/8th, and 16th note rhythms. Single note rhythms that are “popped” with the picking hand and muted with the fretting hand are also very common. During funk guitar lessons you may study music from genre bench marks such as James Brown’s “Sex Machine” or The Temptations “Shaky Ground”. Other popular funk songs from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool and the Gang, Tower of Power, Rick James, and George Clinton to name a few.
As you can see taking funk guitar lessons will be quite different than learning other styles and genres. It’s a unique style of its own with specific techniques not shared by many other styles. Funk guitar lessons are for a disciplined type player that doesn’t mind not being in the foreground of the band, funk guitarists seldom get the spot light that guitarists are used to in a rock or pop band.