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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fuzzyweazel, Sep 24, 2000.
What are some tips and tricks to playing funk?
That's a pretty Broad Question there, FUZZ. Do you mean James Brown, motown style funk, Hip-Hop, SKA, Reggae,or
Rocco Prestia style (TOP),or just spankin' it?
Herbie Hancock funk
Old Herbie Hancock Funk (via the 1966 headhunters album style) or New age (Rockit)? For the latter, you may want to switch to bass synth.
...Headhunters weren't around in '66. Herbie had just departed the 2nd Classic Miles Quintet at that time & begun his Blue Note recordings.
Anyway, Funk...big question with a lotta possibilities.
One facet I like about Funk is the use of SPACE; you don't have to be "busy"(like Rocco, Jaco, or Bootsy). If you're goin' the economical route(& FEEL it), where you place your notes & how you articulate them(accent, pop, mute, staccato, full note value, etc)can make something "funky".
A simple bass line could be...
Here, you're nailing the "1" & playing ONLY the UPbeats on the remaining beats. You "CAN" play the "1" FULL value, the rest can be played like a 1/16 note(very staccato). Or you can do some sorta combination thereof(like alternate between FULL value & staccato?).
Now, from there, you can experiment & SHIFT or displace some of the beats while adding a couple other notes for spice...so the above example becomes-
Basically, what I did was to play the 1/16 note on each side of the "&" note in beats 2 & 4.
As you see, there's a ton a stuff available to you even in a simple 1-bar phrase...
Something else I like doin'-
I take a DRUM book(like one written by Gary Chaffee or Frank Briggs), pick a funk drum figure, & play ONLY the kick drums' pattern on my bass. After that, I'll around with ONLY the SNARE drum's pattern...finally, I'll play both together(which will yield a very busy 1/16 note bass figure...fun stuff!)
Heh, at least somebody was paying attention. I agree, though, note placement is everything to a good funk feel.
your use of off-beats and on-beats is important in funk.
as jimK said, you don't have to be "busy". some of the best funk basslines are really simple -- the rests are just as important as the notes and accents.
try plucking the strings really hard, and then quickly releasing with your fretting hand to get a really staccato, funky sound.
flea uses this quite a bit, and it's less work than slap
I agree with Smuttley on the muting technique. It's
a FEEL as much as a technique. The main thing is to
LISTEN to guys like Rocco Prestia (TOP), Verdine
White (E,W,& F), Jerry Jemmott, Chuck Rainey, and
the various James Brown bassists for great finger-
funk work. These guys rarely slap, and are all funkier
Slapping has its place, but it CAN be overdone. Listen
to Larry Graham and Louis Johnson for great slapping
IN THE CONTEXT OF GREAT SONGS.