#1
I've been playing funk for years just for fun (I'm primarily a classical/flamenco guitarist), but have been invited to do some session work in a funk style. Being the perfectionist I am, I want to ensure I have all bases covered and brush up on my technique/playing style, and would like to ask the people of ultimate guitar for some advice. Firstly, I am using a Fender Lonestar Strat (humbucker at the bridge, but its sounds pretty light and funky), and I don't yet know exactly what I'll be playing. Now on to my questions;

1. I tend to favour a very floppy pick for funk, but there are times where I miss the control of something thicker, such as for more riff-based things. Should I just deal with this and keep it light?

2. Is it worth going to the effort of deadening unstrummed strings? It does make it sound tighter, but I'm wondering if this would be audible after being recorded and mixed with other instruments.

3. What equipment do you recommend taking? I quite like the sound of it clean through my amp (high treble, low to medium mid and bass), but are there effects in common use in funk that I might want to take with me?

4. Any recommended tunes to learn for stylistic purposes? I'm used to controlling myself for the lazier parts (eg James Brown's "Sex Machine") and am very tight with the busier 16th-note parts (eg Patrice Rushen's "The Hump")

5. For improvised parts, is it standard to use pentatonics rather than full major/minor scales?

I reckon that's everything I've been thinking. Please let me know your thoughts and show me a warm welcome to ultimate guitar (this is my first of potentially many posts)
#2
Quote by sdjknights
I've been playing funk for years just for fun (I'm primarily a classical/flamenco guitarist), but have been invited to do some session work in a funk style. Being the perfectionist I am, I want to ensure I have all bases covered and brush up on my technique/playing style, and would like to ask the people of ultimate guitar for some advice. Firstly, I am using a Fender Lonestar Strat (humbucker at the bridge, but its sounds pretty light and funky), and I don't yet know exactly what I'll be playing. Now on to my questions;

1. I tend to favour a very floppy pick for funk, but there are times where I miss the control of something thicker, such as for more riff-based things. Should I just deal with this and keep it light?

2. Is it worth going to the effort of deadening unstrummed strings? It does make it sound tighter, but I'm wondering if this would be audible after being recorded and mixed with other instruments.

3. What equipment do you recommend taking? I quite like the sound of it clean through my amp (high treble, low to medium mid and bass), but are there effects in common use in funk that I might want to take with me?

4. Any recommended tunes to learn for stylistic purposes? I'm used to controlling myself for the lazier parts (eg James Brown's "Sex Machine") and am very tight with the busier 16th-note parts (eg Patrice Rushen's "The Hump")

5. For improvised parts, is it standard to use pentatonics rather than full major/minor scales?

I reckon that's everything I've been thinking. Please let me know your thoughts and show me a warm welcome to ultimate guitar (this is my first of potentially many posts)


My recommendations :

1) pick - thicker is better - more precise, better attack and tone.

2) deadening - seems like overkill

3) equipment - strat - amp - if you want to bring effects I would suggest - autowah ( or wah wah), chorus ( for the faux John Scofield leslie effect) and a delay in case you want to get a little crazy.

4) Songs to learn : Learn some lines from Grant Green's solo in Sookie Sookie - that's some pretty great funk soloing - great phrasing. Check out the A Go Go album from John Scofield if you want some amazing examples of funk rhythm and improvised lead guitar.

5) I favor pentatonics, but it depends on the tune and context. Scofield uses everything to great effect. It's all about the phrasing really.
#3
Quote by reverb66
My recommendations :

1) pick - thicker is better - more precise, better attack and tone.

2) deadening - seems like overkill

3) equipment - strat - amp - if you want to bring effects I would suggest - autowah ( or wah wah), chorus ( for the faux John Scofield leslie effect) and a delay in case you want to get a little crazy.

4) Songs to learn : Learn some lines from Grant Green's solo in Sookie Sookie - that's some pretty great funk soloing - great phrasing. Check out the A Go Go album from John Scofield if you want some amazing examples of funk rhythm and improvised lead guitar.

5) I favor pentatonics, but it depends on the tune and context. Scofield uses everything to great effect. It's all about the phrasing really.


Ahh autowah of course. I knew there was something fairly obvious, and chorus is always fun. I'm not really after soloing, just the occasional bit of filler if it needs it but I shall still check them out for inspiration. Cheers for the reply
#4
check out some earth, wind and fire stuff. the guitarist always plays 16th notes. when he mutes the chord, he uses both his left and right hand to mute the strings to get that funky chunky percussive sound. and that's all I know first song I thought of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNNaK0hSkrA&t=0m37s

chill man, you'll be fine and have fun
#5
Chilling: definitely the most important part in funk. When I've recorded funk in the past, I've found a marked difference in the takes where I was concentrating hard and the takes where I was shaking my booty. The latter always won
#6
I say don't put anything in the recording you don't want heard. Mute the unused strings, unless doing so is a distraction. Keep it simple and go for feel.

And bring any gear you might even want to use. You probably won't use it, but bring it. Bring a second guitar in case something stupid happens. If you're going into a real studio, don't use any modulation or time-based effects like phaser, flanger, delay, chorus, unless the engineer wants you to. Bring them, just in case, but don't use them in a professional studio unless you get the effect pedal sound checked and everything. Unless your pedal is very unique sounding, any real studio should have the ability to very simply add those effects to you track (through multiple means).

For solos, there are three categories you'll find in Funk, for the most part

1) Blues tonality - songs based on a dominant quality root, such as G7. The chord is major, but it's pretty to use minor pentatonic/blues scales and throw in blue notes (m3-M3 melodic movement). Listen to blues music and you'll hear good use of blue notes.

2) Major tonality - Straightforward major, but you can still use the minor pentatonic for short phrases to get a "mean" sound. Use major pentatonic for a soulful, melodic feel, and apply the whole scale/arpeggio for a jazzier sound

3) Minor tonality - song built on a minor triad or m7, often using the dorian mode (i IV). Use any form of relevant minor mode. Use non-chord tones on minor triads to avoid a cheesy "dramatic minor key" effect; you don't want to sound like Toccata and Fugue.

Overall with solos in funk, you're going for a pretty lyrical feel, and you don't want to get too far into a jazz or rock feel. Pentatonics are pretty good for simple, lyrical melodies.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 3, 2014,