6 Funk Guitar Rhythms You MUST Know

6 Funk Guitar Rhythms You MUST Know

These 6 free guitar lessons are from Chris Buono’s 30 Funk Rhythms You MUST Know. This course will not only majorly expand your funk rhythm vocabulary and technique, you’ll also learn how to craft your own funk rhythm parts for virtually any style of music.

Chris will show you short rhythm patterns that bounce between chordal patterns and single note lines, medium tempo jams, how to lock in with classic funk approaches, NOLA funk from the French Quarter, odd-time funk grooves, deep down and gritty grooves, Lone Star funk grooves, mashed up Latin and metal funk, how to sweeten up your funk rhythm phrases, upbeat funk grooves, and dozens of other funk rhythm guitar approaches.

Funk Guitar Rhythm #7: P-Fuze ’72

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Departing from the funk classics for a moment, we go to the first rhythm born of my approaches and composition values. Rhythm 7 was created through a process called “hunting & gathering”, hipped to me by this lesson’s namesake. Hunting and gathering is a concept Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski uses and teaches where you explore the vast pantheon of licks and riffs out there already and collect what interests you. From there, you piece together parts into something unique all its own. Such is the case here in “P-Fuze ’72”, which makes use of ideas from “Flash Light”, Fuze’s “Vinnie” from the first Screaming Headless Torsos record, and finally “Soul Power/Soul Power ’74” from James Brown and Maceo Parker respectively. The m7-m6 change you just learned in Rhythm 6 is the foundation while we’ll also introduce a vital new tool: perfect 4th dyads!

Funk Guitar Rhythm #11: Super Duper Cool

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Circling once more back to James Brown and the funk rhythm playing of Phelps “Catfish” Collins, Rhythm 11 looks at the 1970 hit “Super Bad” with “Super Duper Cool”. This Dm rhythm idea is split into two parts. The first eight bars call for a strict staccato technique on the single note idea played on the D string. To get that tone, notice how I pick as close to the bridge as possible. This is a technique I call “clav picking” because it reminds me of the tone heard from a Hohner Clavinet – at least I’m hoping it does! The second half is four bars long with a piquant-sounding Dm9 voicing that makes use of an open high E string along with a pair of notes (F-A) on the 10th fret of the second and third strings. This is a good representation of the overall harmony played by the guitar and horns and will serve as a fun challenge fingering-wise when you’re going from chord to scratches.

Funk Guitar Rhythm #12: Frankenstein

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Rhythm 12 is called “Frankenstein” because it officially makes an effort to combine single note and chordal ideas into one glorious funk rhythm. There’s a specific discipline in technique that comes with going from one approach to the next, and it’s something we’ll continue to work on for the remainder of the course.

Set in a C# Mixolydian vibe, this two-bar rhythm bounces from a C#7 idea to a descending C# minor blues lick that pops an open high E string at the end. The second bar throws a raunchy C#7#9 – a chord we’ve seen in Rhythms 3 & 7. While the 7#9 is tempting to throw down at every turn when playing funk rhythms, learn to practice some restraint. Doing so will protect its potency and make those moments that much more awesome when you do play it!

Funk Guitar Rhythm #20: Greazy

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“Greazy” is a loose, down-and-dirty 12-bar blues in E that’s just plain funky. While precision is not the M.O. in Rhythm 20, the groove absolutely is. The intention here is a relaxed, behind-the-beat feel with a dash of reckless abandon as you truck through the changes. Notice how my pick hand motion is almost always forcefully going up and down while not sounding overpowering. I’m also purposefully laying down varying dynamics through accenting and staccato phrasing. As for raw technique, watch for the use of my fret hand thumb for the B9 chords in Bars 9-10. All together this jam is scrappy and raw – embrace it and get down with it!

Funk Guitar Rhythm #22: Pony Up

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Early on, I noticed there’s a connection between funk and country. I often find myself using the same techniques to play each style and find a lot of similarities in the grooves. Watching my friend Mark Lettieri do his thing drove that point home big time. Makes sense – he’s the funkiest Texan I know! The goal here is to play the single note B major blues lick as well as the chords that follow with extra tightness. Another thing country and some approaches to funk rhythm guitar have in common is the propensity for ultra-tight playing on all fronts. This is not “Greazy”. This is to be played with lock tight pocket and right on top of the beat.

Dig these funk rhythm guitar lessons? Download Chris Buono’s 30 Funk Rhythms You MUST Know for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!