Okay, I have been playing for about 4 years, I know many basic chords, and I know some the standard chords that belong to different keys. (ex. I know the chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim can all be played in the key of C)
But I want to start playing Funk (my favorite band is Red Hot Chili Peppers), and I don't know which chords can all go together.
Obviously, you should go with what sounds funky rather than what makes musical sense. BUT, that doesn't mean there aren't a few things to be said along the way. I will break it down for you the best way I know how:
Learn all your basic 7, 9, 7#9, m7, m6, and 13 positions. And no worries, either. You don't have to learn all the fat sounding 5 note positions. Simply learn the abbreviated chords that have only 3 or 4 notes. When in doubt, just include the 3rd and the extensions. You can play a nice sounding 13 with just the 7, 3, and 13. You can also play a nice 7#9 voiced as 3, 7, #9. Let the bass do the root work.For instance: G7 = B, F; Gm7 = G, Gb, F; Gm6 = Bb, E; G7#9 = B, F, A#; G13 = F, B, E; G9 = B, F, A
And God forbid: DON'T USE OPEN CHORDS!!!
lol.... or at least try not to. 2)
Start out your progression experimentation by taking a minor pentatonic scale, and putting a 7th or a 9th chord to each scale degree. Then replace the V chord with a 7#9. So if you were in the key of G, you'd use G7, Bb7, C7, F7, and D7#9. This is an early and easy approach used a lot in the beginning. Many people like Steve Cropper, Bootsy, Stevie Wonder, and RHCP have used this "framework." Think Soul Man.3)
When in doubt, try either a 7#9 or a m6. I know this sounds stupid as hell, but these chords just work in funk. And consequently, they both have a nice tritone personality to them. The m6 can carry a song as the tonic and be super funky. It is based on the dorian scale. Remember the music for En Vogue's "Never Gonna Get It" or Herbie Hancock's Chameleon?? Yeah, that was some dorian funk. ---The 7#9 (also labeled as "the Hendrix chord") works so well for a few reasons: One, it has a tritone AND a minor 2nd interval. It screams nasty. Secondly, if you take a minor scale and note that you will use a b7 in the pentatonic, it lets more of a pentatonic "feel" prevail when you throw in the V chord since technically, the V chord shouldn't have a b3 (which is the b7 in terms of the tonic). Finally, since it has the tonal equivalent of BOTH minor and major thirds, you have TONS of playing options with it.4)
As far as putting the chords together, think traditionally. For instance, start out with an E, A, B7 progression. Now, change it to Em7, A9, B7#9. See what I mean? Or take A, G, D and change it to A9, G9, Dm7. Then you can start getting freaky and try some things like take a C, Am, F, G progression and change it to C7#9, Am6, F9, G9.
Just biggest thing is just to play around. Use a particular voicing or progression that you really like and simply build on it. Try chromatic chord changes too. Hell, Chopin used to do that in classical. And Stevie did it in Superstition. And don't be afraid to "hang" on a chord or groove you like just because it may "sit" there forever. Junior Walker let Shotgun ride on one chord through the whole song. No changes! (Well, he does go I, I, IV, I in the chorus, but it's more a passing chord than an actual change) Listen to Joe Slam and The Spaceship from Harry Connick Jr. He was backed by various members of the Meters on that one. And it rides on one chord for quite a while.
Hope that helps.