How to Play Funk Guitar

Funk guitar is marked by a heavy emphasis on rhythm. Strummed string mutes play a very important part in creating the driving rhythm associated with funk music. As a funk guitarist, you have to lock into the rhythm created by the bass and drums. This can be a bit tricky for a guitarist to learn if they are not used to doing this. Although funk guitar is heavily rhythmical, there are several guitar leads and solos in funk songs.

Learn chords commonly used in funk music. Normal major and minor chords are not used very often in funk guitar. Instead use 7th chords, 9th chords, 7#9 chords (what is often called the Hendrix chord) and 11th chords.

Practice playing funky rhythms. Basic funk rhythms are created by constantly strumming sixteenth note string mutes while throwing chords in at certain intervals. Play along with a metronome to keep yourself in time.

Work on adding single note and double stop fills to your funk rhythms. Many funk leads are little more than single notes and double stops played in the midst of a funk rhythm.

Play with a bassist and a drummer that know funk music. Nothing can help you learn funk guitar faster than playing with live musicians well-versed in the style.

Clean guitar tones are usually used when playing funk.

The wah-wah pedal is commonly used in funk music. By simply rocking back and forth on the pedal while playing funk rhythms, you can get a very authentic funk sound.

When learning funk guitar, it is a good idea to listen to a lot of funk music and learn different funk songs. There are several quality funk guitar tabs available in music books and for free on the internet.

Approved by Jesse Anderson