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Watch the The Big Paycheck online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from 30 Funk Rhythms You MUST Know

There are two hugely important concepts in Rhythm 8, which is a two bar take on James Brown's "The Big Payback." Let's start with the rhythm. Bar 1 lays down the funk rhythm, something I call the "funky hemiola", where a simple three-over-four polyrhythm (a hemiola) is laid down by way of accented staccato chord stabs on the first attack of a sequence of three followed by two scratches. These sequences of chord-chank-chank are played within sequences of four 16th notes per beat thus throwing off the groupings as you play due to the stress of the chord. The rhythmic tension is finally resolved at the downbeat of beat 4 with eighth notes. This, my friends, is the genius of Jimmy Nolen and his quintessential funk rhythm. Be sure to keep a consistent 16th note motion in your pick hand and aim for the top two strings only.

The second concept rests with the Dorian vibe first mentioned in Rhythm 6. There the Dorian sound was heard in the form of an essential voicing approach where a m7 chord is voiced sans 5th. Here in "The Big Paycheck" you stay within Dorian, but this time from just two notes – the b3 (Db) and 6 (G) of the mode played together as a tritone dyad. The angular crunch of a #4/b5 dyad in this role as opposed to the ubiquitous 3/b7 dyad heard in dom7 chords is what makes this rhythm that much more brooding and cool.