Good beginner funk songs?

cantstoplt021

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1,217
What are some good beginner funk tunes to start with? Something that isn't too difficult and can be picked up off of the record easily enough?

Thanks!
 

ksandvik

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6,328
Start with the classics. James Brown's Sex Machine. Simple riff but you need to learn the pattern. Hard to be a funk guitar player if someone does not know that riff. And yes, the original song never went to a V (instead IV) even if many cover bands insists on doing that.
 

dewey decibel

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10,769
Lotta different styles in the genre. You have stuff that is just one chord the whole song, all the way up to songs as complex as a modern jazz standard. James Brown is a great place to start, lots of minor vamps and of course the ubiquitous 9th chord vamp. Anyway there's definitely a guitar vocabulary for this stuff- one common move is a single note line coupled with chord stabs here and there. That single note line will often touch on the bass line a bit, on the melody, horn part, etc. It's sort of connects all the parts together.

I'm rambling, is there anything specific you want to learn?
 

cantstoplt021

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1,217
Just general funky stuff. I really love when bands do funky jams and stuff. I just saw lettuce on Saturday and I loved it. Really renewed my interest in funk, plus it would be a big help to my right hand in terms of rhythm playing and all that jazz
 

Banditt

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Learning "Sissy Strut" will serve you well for the rest of your life. I've played or heard it played in every imaginable way possible.
 

thesauce

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Yeah sissy strut. The scofield version is amazing but stick with the meters to get the fundamentals down. Work that metronome.
 

JonR

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Is there a standard funk progression that most tunes follow like a blues does? Or is everyone different?
The groove on I is really all you need to develop your funk chops. Just forget about chord sequences, and think time, 16ths, and different articulations. And keep it simple - 3-string chords at most. Remember James Brown would use 2 or 3 guitarists, each playing very minimal parts - often single-note riffs not chords - that all locked together.
On Sex Machine it was just one guitar (I think), but on tracks like Get Up Offa That Thing, or Get on the Good Foot, you can hear two guitars at least.

To be honest, funk guitar is not a lot of fun; you're a small cog in the machine. Better to be the bass player - that's where it's all going on ;). (But then when the machine is working, even being a small cog feels pretty good...)

As for blues, btw, JB did use blues forms at least twice: Papa's Got a Brand New Bag; I Feel Good - both 12-bars. But that was back when funk was still emerging from its blues/R&B heritage...
 

RLD

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Learn both guitar parts on this and you'll have a nice vocabulary of funk 101.

 

funkycam

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2,287
Pick up James Brown's funky people vol 1.
SO much great stuff on there.
Play along with every track & tell me funk isn't fun!
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
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30,250
Search "funk guitar" on YouTube

These people

Tony Maiden
Cornell Dupree
Bruce Conte
Al McKay
Nile Rodgers
War
The Meters
Rufus
Tower of Power
Earth Wind & Fire
 

Lucidology

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27,252
To be honest, funk guitar is not a lot of fun
Yo Jon ... that's the first thing I've ever seen you write that was really kind of dumb and/or very opinionated ...
Makes me think you must be a super nerd ...

Funk guitar is super, super fun ... nothing else like if for many of us...


(mind you... I'm teasing... but that was out of character & well, out of line ...
Doesn't seem like you would be biased enough to make such a silly, uncalled for statement ...)
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
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30,250
Yo Jon ... that's the first thing I've ever seen you write that was really kind of dumb and/or very opinionated ...
Makes me think you must be a super nerd ...

Funk guitar is super, super fun ... nothing else like if for many of us...


(mind you... I'm teasing... but that was out of character & well, out of line ...
Doesn't seem like you would be biased enough to make such a silly, uncalled for statement ...)
I used to play with a sax player who was the band leader at The Apollo. We were playing some Grover Washington one night, probably Mr. Magic and he nodded to me to solo. I smiled and told him I was having way too much fun grooving on the rhythm.

Funk guitar is FUN!!
 

Zappafreak

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218
I used to play with a sax player who was the band leader at The Apollo. We were playing some Grover Washington one night, probably Mr. Magic and he nodded to me to solo. I smiled and told him I was having way too much fun grooving on the rhythm.

Funk guitar is FUN!!
That may be the most awesome thing ive ever heard. I consider myself a funk guitarist and i know 95% of guitarist would only be like "about time."

Way to keep it real man!
 

newb3fan

Silver Supporting Member
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1,353
We were playing some Grover Washington one night, probably Mr. Magic and he nodded to me to solo. I smiled and told him I was having way too much fun grooving on the rhythm.
That was going to be my answer for a tune - Mr. Magic. That vamp on two chords with the Wurly or Rhodes (whichever it is) laying down the rhythm is a killer funk groove for my taste.

Nice story too BTW Brian!
 
Messages
9
I for sure second The Meter's recommendation. Learning Cissy strut, look-ka py py, funky miracle among others teaches you to groove!!! and not just with the chords. One thing I frequently hear guitarists do incorrectly is forget that you have to play the style and the syncopation whether your soloing or playing rhythm.

The meter's single note runs were instrumental (pun intended) in helping clarify that for me as well as teaching me what if felt like to play single note stuff in time. Of course JB is a fantastic choice as well.
 






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