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Tutorial: Funk 101

Funk 101 - Example 1

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Funk 101 - Chords and Strumming Funk 101 - Example 2

So, for the first example we have a slightly syncopated funk rhythm. This particular rhythm is quite common in Funk, and can be found on countless of groovy funk tunes from the 60’s and 70’s (the hey-day of funk!)

One way off approaching this pattern is to think that the accents are punctuated 8th notes, with two 16th notes in the end. If you try this way, just try to forget all about the right hand, that should be driving away at the 16th note strumming, just as your foot should pumping the beat. Once you get your strumming down, the right hand should never be an issue at all, but rather all your focus should be on accentuating specific rhythms in the left hand.

As with any other exercise, start out slow and gradually build up speed. Also, pay attention to the strumming pattern. The “up-down” method described in the video, where you check if the accents fall on a down- or an up-stroke and use that to guide you, is an excellent complement to the leg-clapping exercise mentioned earlier. For all these examples, remember to practice with the backing track as well. Because, as mentioned earlier, since the guitar is not the main priority in funk, it is only when in the context with bass and drums, that the guitar comes to life and you can really start felling the funk!

Got this one down? Then turn the page will ya!