Funk Basics - Guitar 1

Animated Funk Basics - Guitar 1 tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This ActionTab is from the Jamzone on Funk Basics. It shows the first of 3 guitar layers - read the associated article in the Jamzone to find out more about Funk style. Also make sure to watch the Introduction to Muting video in the Core Skills Section!

Funk guitar is great fun to play, sounds ace, and vastly improves your overall rhythm technique. Every guitarist should know how to get down and funk up! The style isn't too hard once you know the basics, and even with the simplest rhythms, you'll be guaranteed to get heads nodding to your grooves!

First things first, we need to understand what funk guitar is all about. Funk guitar is all about rhythmic muting and chord stabs. Here we do a moderate speed funk rhythm. The same riff repeats throughout, use it to get tight.

Tight rhythm strumming is essential for funk. There are only 2 chords for this guitar part, but it is the backbone of the whole tune so work at getting it right. We use the same chord shape to keep things as simple as possible.

Listen to the normal speed audio to see where the tune will go over the next few exercises as we add layers. This will also be a good exercise for learning about song construction. If this ActionTab is too fast or busy for you, go to the slower version (found in the Jamzone article) first and practice with that until you can come back to this one. It's important that you develop speed with funk.

The 2 chords we use here are C minor and B minor - both using the same E minor barre chord shape. This sounds good, and also means you can concentrate more on your strumming hand than your fretboard hand. That's simply because your fretboard hand is doing much of the same, so there's no awkward chord changes to worry about. However, you will still need to co-ordinate your hands together at the right moments. Applying pressure quickly onto the frets to get the chord stabs, and releasing pressure to get that funky rhythmic 'click'.

Keep your wrist semi-relaxed, and play from it - not your elbow. Watch the video again to see how to use your strumming hand. Funk is all in the wrist. When we start adding more guitar layers, you'll see how important this poise is for fast strumming.

It's very important to get the 'groove' in your blood. Listen to the tune looped until you 'just know' the rhythm. This will help your fingers find their way - particularly your strumming hand. The Rhythm is Cm x Bm Cm x (repeat) where 'x' means a muted strike. Notice that every stroke is a downstroke except the Bm, which is an upstroke. Doing this may take practice, and if you are struggling, try playing along with this slowed version (in the Jamzone) on loop until you get it. Then work on speeding up, and return to this ActionTab to test your skills!

Once you can get this basic funk rhythm down tight, let's look at developing things further in the next Funk Basics - Guitar 2 ActionTab.

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