In this Funk edition of Trading Solos with Chris Buono, you’ll jam together over five frequently encountered funk grooves, in a variety of keys and feels including a 12-bar blues, a James Brown-style jam, a slow jam in 6/8, a hip-hop vibe, and a cool fusion groove. Along the way, Chris will share some of his go-to moves, comping techniques, and other key approaches to help you develop a versatile funk vocabulary.
"Rhythm playing is the forefront of funk guitar, but soloing is just as vital. Funk music is not just what comes out of your hands. It’s a deeply groovin’ style of music and it takes soul to make it sound real."
Jamming and trading solos with other players is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary of soloing ideas and rhythm playing techniques. When you're comping for another soloist, you're picking up on their lines and ideas. When you're soloing, you get to try out your own ideas while being inspired by their comping.
For each of the five grooves, Chris will show you a handful of licks and comping approaches that you can use. Then, you'll take turns applying those ideas, trading solos and comping.
Track 1: E Blues ”The track we're going to solo over is a funkified 12 bar blues in E. The overall vibe rests in the drums and Steve's repetitive line that grooves hard. As for guitar parts, you and I are soloing over what I call a bedrock track underneath. I'm playing simple tritones made up of the 3rds and b7ths of the I (E7), IV (A7) and V (B7) chords. This is a cool comping trick I picked up from the late Danny Gatton's Hot Licks video course called Strictly Rhythm Guitar.”
Track 2: J.B. in D ”This track is all about James Brown's main man: Jimmy Nolen. While James is regarded as the Godfather of Soul, Jimmy is hands down the King of Funk Guitar. The bedrock track is classic Jimmy Nolen vibe that plays off of the three-over-four funky hemiola. The tightness is the main ingredient. Steve Jenkins delivers his signature groove with grace and space on this one.“
Track 3: Slow Am 6/8 ”Going for it on another static jam, I give you this slow jam in 6/8 in the key of Am. I think you'll be surprised at how natural the three feel will be for both comping and soloing. There's a riff driving the jam, and Steve even doubles that riff. Consequently, the riff offers you and me more freedom since there are no chords. Remember, funk is freedom! All the rhythm and improvisation disciplines we've been talking apply both to the comping and soloing ideas.”
Track 4: Hip Hop 13's "The next track is where my head was in the '90s, listening to Groove Collective and starting to play in New York with independent hip hop artists. This is a fun vibe to get lost in. Check out the phat drum groove and what Steve Jenkins plays along with it. The bedrock track is just chunky-sounding 7(13) chords that start out a half step above the intended destination they arrive at via a slide.”
Track 5: Bm Fusion ”Our final jam is set to the infamous "F" word: fusion! We'll rock over a cool Roy Ayers-inspired Bm groove that moves in and out of two vibes. The driving rhythmic force, parallel m7 chords and even the chunky chorus effect I have on my bedrock guitar track make for a deep track for us to rock together one last time.”
Chris will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs. Plus, Chris includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.
Grab your guitar and let’s trade some solos with Chris Buono!