Looking for Funk Guitar Lessons?
Funk guitar lessons are invaluable to anybody wanting to play in the genre, and also offer valuable rhythmic lessons and teach useful techniques to any player. An eclectic mixture of soul, jazz and R&B, funk is a very distinctive genre. James Brown is the major pioneer of the genre, and it has since been furthered by artists such as Sly & the Family Stone and more modern acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The “groove” of funk is the central element, rather than technical wizardry and mind-boggling fret-work.
For students looking to learn funk guitar there are more options now than ever before. Guitarists who learned before the explosion of the internet spent hours sight-reading from dog-eared text books in front of an apathetic teacher, but now there are a multitude of options. You can learn from online websites which stream lessons to subscribers or through DVD courses in the comfort of your own home.
Our research has uncovered the top courses offering funk guitar lessons. Check out the comparison chart below to compare the courses side by side.
Funk Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
The most important thing to remember when you’re learning funk guitar is that it’s all about the rhythm, or the groove. Melody takes a back seat, and the songs frequently revolve around one single chord, rather than a progression incorporating several chords. Funk rhythms are also typically more complex than those found in other genres such as rock and blues, and place additional strain on the rhythm guitarist. For rhythm guitarists, regardless of the genre they’re interested in, funk is therefore a valuable genre to learn. Lead guitarists can also pick up the basics if they want to improve their rhythm work.
Fretting Hand Muting
To maintain these eccentric rhythms, an extra technique is required. “Staccato” is the musical term for notes in short, sharp bursts, and it is central to funk playing. Chords are silenced virtually straight away in funk, creating a staccato sound where the chords aren’t allowed to ring out. This is usually accomplished by fretting hand muting, otherwise known as “dead” strums. Any series of funk guitar lessons should cover fretting hand muting, because it is included in almost all funk rhythms. Check out the course content to make sure the technique is covered. Look in the rock or beginners section if you can’t find it, because it may be included there.
There are also specific funk chords used to create the characteristic sound. These are usually ninth chords, so there should be a lesson incorporating them on any course you are considering. The “ninth” is a music theory term which should also be explained during the course of the lessons. In essence, it’s an additional note added onto a chord which makes it sound funkier. Many websites offer humongous chord libraries which will contain all of the ninth chords, as well as any others you’ll encounter in your playing.
Many courses for learning funk guitar have lessons focusing on specific artists and teaching the techniques most closely associated with them. These are great features if you want to play like your heroes, but don’t know the names of the specific techniques used. Players like Jimmy Nolan (from James Brown’s band) and Freddie Stone (Sly & the Family Stone) might be discussed in detail, and the lessons will teach you how to play in their signature styles.
Almost all online or DVD courses for funk guitar teach through videos, and the quality of the recordings is therefore extremely important. A good video will be shot in high resolution, with multiple camera angles and close-ups used so you can see the guitarist’s hands. Many lessons will use split-screen so you can see everything you need to clearly. There should also be supporting text either included in the video or available on the same web page. Look at a sample lesson or some screenshots to determine the video quality.
Funk Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
There are several options for funk guitar lessons, but JamPlay is the best course available. There is a specialist funk course which includes 15 lessons, devised by a professional instructor. The course comes with useful extras like a chord library with over 950,000 entries and backing tracks to jam along to. The videos are all shot in HD, and use multiple camera angles, close-ups and split screen display to ensure you know what the instructor is doing. There is also a thriving online community on hand to help you with anything you’re struggling with.