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Funk: Space, Sustain and Staccato

The Essential Funk Guitar Lessons

In this lesson we're looking at three very important concepts in Funk Rhythm Guitar: Space, Sustain and Staccato. These three aspects of music are very important to the Funk genre and understanding what they are and how they relate to grooves is super important, a very big deal.

Video Lesson

Additional Help

"Chips" on 2 & 4 - make sur eyou get tight with the drums!

Funk Guitar Course Scratches Example 1

Sustain & Staccato - be sure beat 1 is long and the two hits on Beat 3 are tight (staccato!)

Funk Guitar Course Scratches Example  2

Adding in some scratches too, but stay aware of note lengths!

Funk Guitar Course Scratches Example  3

All sustained, but can you play it with short notes (staccato) too?

Funk Guitar Course Scratches Example  4

To Practice...

1. Grooves
First thing to work on (obviously) is being able to do the grooves above and make sure you know what the focus is on each - they're trying to give you cool things to check out in each one.

2. With A Metronome
Again when you feel confident with each then try playing along with the metronome - don't be in a hurry to play them fast - be in hurry to make them feel good and stay in time with the metronome!

3. Explore
See what else you can make of the grooves - explore them, make them your own, and if at all possible, start jamming with them!!

4. Have Fun
Next lesson we're going to be putting these hits into specific places to create common funk grooves - so important here is for you to have some fun and just jam around with them and see what happens!

Additional Resources

Real World Examples
Pretty much every funk song uses these techniques!, but off the top of my head, try looking up:
I Feel Good - James Brown (SPACE: in verses guitar only plays a chip on beat 2, every 2 bars!)
Sex Machine - James Brown (SUSTAIN & STACCATO in the main guitar groove both are used!)

Recommended Album
You ain't never going to get the Funk if you're not listening to the greats! So with each lesson I'm going to recommend a funk album for you to sink your ears into and help you get in the groove - some of the all time classics and maybe some slightly lesson know albums too that I really dig.


Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (1971)

There are a lot of Funk elements in this album but it's also kind rock and experimental too - but I love it and so included it here. There are some superb guitar parts in the record and some aweosme wah wah guitar and some super tight grooves. Well worth a listen and soaking up some of the trips these guys were on!

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Lesson ID: FU-507