Funk Scales?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bigbadwolf1314, May 17, 2005.

  1. What scales are funky sorts of stuff usually played in? Major sounds almost too happy and Minor sounds too sad. In the notes I think sound good with funk, some of the notes are in a major scale and some are in a minor. Is there one main scale funk is played in or is it just alterations of other scales?
  2. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Pentatonic scale?
    Blues scale?
    Look those up in a simple dictionary. I'll give you an example of each.
    Pentatonic scale - C Eb F G Bb C
    Blues scale - C Eb F F# G Bb [C]
  3. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    On this topic, does anyone know a website which has a list of scales on it so i can teach myself please?

    I can't afford lessons yet but will hopefully in the near future, not many though so the more i can learn before i can go the more techniques and more advanced stuff i can learn during my lessons.

    thanx very much,

  4. Check out they have scale and chord generators that have helped me learn on my own a bunch.
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Hell of a lot of funk and disco stuff is based on Dorian mode (Root, 2nd, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, minor 7th, Octave). So in D this would just be DEFGABCD. Classic example starting on bottom E (so EF#GABC#DE) is "Good Times" by Chic (as also used for "Rapper's Delight").

    When playing in major keys the 2nd/9th or minor 3rd/10th will often be used as a passing note on to the major 3rd/10th. Also the 6th tends to be used to lead on to the (minor) 7th rather than the other way round.

    Try it, have fun.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    To Lorenzini - Pentatonic scales are THA BOMB!!! learm 'em, use 'em, then learn some more. Remember, it's not only the notes that make something funky, it's the time too!

    To ChilipepperFlea - The "Instruction" thread here is good and also check out the Harmony Central site!! Wow, tons of good instructions there!!
  7. Chili


    Mar 8, 2005
  8. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    ...Mixolydian, Dorian...
  9. The Beast

    The Beast

    Jul 19, 2004
    Evil Town
    I've found that its not the scale thats funky, it the notes that you pick out from it. Try copping licks that you hear that you think are funky, find out what they are doing. However, Dorian and Pentatonic scales are a good place to start. Rythym is also an essential ingedient to the funky stew.
  10. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    dorian mixolydian heavy on the 6th and 7th
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    A lot of Funk also relies on chromatic tones, often times between the 4th and 5th degrees. Also, a lot of Funk lines sometimes use a minor and major third in succession.
  12. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    My take on things is that what makes funk funky (in terms of harmony - rythm would take 10 other threads) is the same thing that makes blues or a lot of jazz. Most funk tunes start with a blues-type progression or just one chord, usually dominant. What makes it really funky is when you throw in notes from a blues scale (flat 3 or flat 5), the flat 7 . . .

    Funk bass usually emphasizes the first, sixth, and seventh scale degr
  13. metalguy2


    Dec 26, 2004
    A passing flatted 7th sounds very funky.. 3rds sound very funky(ala Jaco)
  14. xpcapox


    Nov 19, 2004