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Funky Grooves

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ThePaste, Feb 10, 2001.

  1. Um, is there a forumula for making a songs groove funky without slapping?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    C'mon...no formuli, it's about FEEL.
    Too, think about playing the spaces.
    A prime example? Check out Weather Report's "Barbary Coast"(from BLACK MARKET).
  3. Well in other places I see things like "Emphasize the off beats". Could someone tell me what those are?
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Good question, Paste. I imagine for youger players, it seems like all funk is about slap and it sure as hell ain't.
    Shoot, I play Allen Wentz's line to "Play That Funky Music White Boy" all the time in clubs. Average White Band's bassists were so funky they snapped peoples' spines. James Brown's bassists practically invented funk. And NONE of it is slap. Samples can be heard at cdnow.com.

    "Fingerstyle Funk" is an instructional video by Rocco Prestia.

    Bill Dickens, ("The Buddah"), also has a video, "Funk Bass and Beyond" at http://www.bassplace.com

    Or, check out, http://www.wildtonemusic.com/setitoff.html if you have time for an mp3 download. ("Over the Rainbow" and "Purple Haze", et al).

    But, as JimK said so accurately, "it's about FEEL." If yo' butt don trip you cain't get hip.

  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Off" beats=UPbeats, maybe?

    So, instead of emphasizing the DOWNbeats(in 4/4, that's 1-2-3-4), the other "beats" within the bar are considered. These are sometimes called subdivisions.
    For this example, I'm gonna subdivide each beat into 4ths or 1/16th notes which = 1e&a etc.

    Hopefully, you can read my version of compooter rhythmic notation-
    /1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a/= all 1/16th notes
    /1..a2..a3..a4..a/= dotted 1/8th notes on 1-2-3-4 + 1/16th notes = all the "a"s

    Now, IF that makes any sense, try playing this sorta figure-
    The count is in "4"-
    ...see, only the "1" is played, the rest of the notes are played in the cracks of beats 2-3-4. Too, practice varying each note's DURATION; that is, you CAN play each as a 1/16th note(staccato feel)&/or play some as 1/8th notes. One reason why we all sound different is 'cause of the way we play/hold certain notes. Some of us like long notes, some prefer short notes, some mix it up. Experiment!

    For Ss & Gs, mix/match the above rhythm(play beats 3 & 4 FIRST and beats 1 & 2 LAST)that becomes-
    ...now, a downbeat occurs ONLY on the "3rd" beat.

    Think up your own permutations; it's fun!
  6. Playing funk doesn't need to involve slap as previously said. It may sound cool, but in some songs it just doesn't belong. Fingerstyle funk is cool. Sometimes playing near the bridge will get you a cool funk sound. Try and it and see how it sounds, personally I like to play a basic groove for awhile with a few notes, but at parts soup it up.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    To add to what Jim has said - these shorter notes can feel like anticipation of the stronger beats, so the listener is feeling a displacement, which is funky! It doesn't mean you have to play more notes in the bar - sometimes a lot less, but just in places in the bar that you wouldn't get in standard rock/pop.

    The other thing I hear a lot is two bar patterns or riffs that cross the bar line. So like the first bar you emphasise the one and establish it, then avoid it on the second bar and play around it - this makes the one feel stronger, when it comes back in again.
  8. Hey guys thanks for helping.

    JimK, could you explain how to use your "compooter rthymn".
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Can you read rhythmic notation? 'Cause I'm making an attempt at using what's available on a computer keyboard in lieu of actual black notes, rests, barlines, etc found in standard notation.
    I'm using / as a barline
    I usually write everything in a 1/16th note subdivision, so each little "." equals a 1/16th note or rest.
    So, if I'm trying to relate 4 QUARTER notes within ONE bar of 4/4 time-
    /1...2...3...4.../=play only on beats 1-2-3-4

    If I'm trying to convey a standard 2-beat feel(bass usually plays ONLY on beats 1 & 3)-
    /1.......3......./=play only on beats 1 and 3

    A samba/Bossa feel(or even a Shuffle; depends on how much swing is involved + YOUR choice of notes)-

    Now, if it's something like the rhythm to the verse of The Police's "Roxanne"-
    /..&.2.........../..&.2.........../=play ONLY on the "& of beat 1" and beat "2".

    So, in my previous example of an upbeat/Funk rhythm-
    1)Beat 1=play on "1" and "the a of 1"
    2)Beat 2=play on the "e of 2" and "the a of 2"
    3)Beat 3=play on the "e of 3", the "& of 3", "the a of 3"
    4)Beat 4=play "the & of 4".
    If you have a drum machine, program that rhythm into it & listen; then, add YOUR choice of notes( 92bpm-100bpm would be a decent tempo). If not, COUNT /1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a/, slowly if you're not used to counting & playing at the same time ;)...then play a note(actually, mute the strings with your fretting hand)ONLY on the above rhythm. If you're used to play a lot on the strong beats(1-2-3-4), it will be difficult at first; believe me, I know! ;)
    ...in fact, my problem now is getting back to play on the beats! :D

    BTW, I know that's a lotta stuff; any more questions, I'm sure, can be handled by the guys.
    ...and I especially like Bruce's 2-bar phrasing comment & crossing the bar line.
  10. Hey, thanks for that, that was really helpful. And also, what are the "a"s and "e"s in your line mean? I think I understand everthing else.

    Also, could you write up a couple more of those "formulas" like the Bossa and those other ones, those were cool.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    The "e"s and "a"s, eh?
    OK, a little math...in 4/4 time
    Whole note = 1 note held for a 4 count, right?

    Half note = 1 note held for a 2 count.
    TWO halves = a whole, right?

    Quarter note = 1 note held for a 1 count
    FOUR quarters in a dollar; 4 quarters = a whole.

    Eighth note = 1 note held for a 1/2 count
    ONE beat is subdivided into 2 equal parts

    Sixteenth note = 1 note for a 1/4 count
    ONE beat is subdivided into 4 equal parts

    So, the "e"s and "a"s are the the notes between the DOWNbeat(1-2-3-4) & its own UPbeat(the "&"s).
    If you have ever seen a "typical" Rocco Prestia line in standard notation, like "What Is Hip", you'll see an endless stream of 1/16th notes(in MY computer rhythmic language, that's /1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a/ etc).
    Something like The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" is in an 1/8th note feel(or /1.&.2.&.3.&.4.&./)

    Other rhythmic "formuli"? For starters, try these 1-bar Latin-esque figures...

    Possible notes? G(E-string)on "1"; D(A-string)on "& of 2"; B(G-string)on "4".

    Possible notes? G(E-string)on "1"; D(A-string)on "3"; A(D-string)on "4".

    /......&.....4.../ etc
    Possible notes? D(A-string) on "& of 2"; G(E-string) on "4".
    In this example, there is NO DOWNBEAT on "1" and the 5th of the chord is played on the "& of 2" while the ROOT is played on beat "4"(& may even cross the bar line IF YOU decide to hold it long enough). This figure looks simple enough, though, IMO, it's pretty tricky due to the amount of space & not playin' on the first beat of the bar.

    ...there's a bunch more; hopefully, Bruce will awaken soon & carry the baton for awhile.
    Does the computer rhytmic notation make any sense to anyone besides me & RobW?
  12. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    It makes sense to me, Jim, but I've also been reading standard notation for 5 years, so it comes very easy to me.

    It is hard to explain this stuff to people that have no training in reading standard notation. I've attempted to explain to some of my aspiring friends, but without formal lessons, its next to impossible.
  13. Jim K I can read standard notation but that confused the hell outta me.

    Now as far as the topic at hand, and speaking as a hardcore devotee of "space bass" and James Brown disciple(sp?). My formula is: "The more space in your groove the more asses will move"

  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Phat - That's no joke. I was watching the Tonight Show and the band broke into, "Cold Sweat" without any pauses in the riff. It sounded like music for a margarine ad. Just one note after the next. Totally hookless. I felt sorry for Robert Hurst (bassist). Must have been Ewbank's "arrangement."
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...that's cool. Now how do we go about trying to communicate a rhythm/figure using the available tools?
    How would you write out a rhythm with:
    Beat1=a 1/4 note
    Beat2=2 1/8 notes
    Beat3=4 1/16th notes
    Beat4=a dotted 1/8th + a 1/16th

    FWIW, I think it would be cool to swap some ideas IF we can agree somewhat on a standard.

    Bernard Odum & Tim Drummond played with a whole lotta space while with JB; with Bootsy's playing, though, I'd say the spaces got "smaller".
  16. Thats true JimK Bootsy was a whole diffent animal that the other bass chair cats. While I like him, he's a whole oppposite direction that I take as far as style and effects go.

    I also undestood the value segment to your notation, I got all confused when it was together
  17. To me, slap is NOT funk (except maybe Larry Graham). Rocco is funk, Jaco is funk, James Jamerson is funk, Anthony Jackson, Paul Jackson, JamesB's bassists are funk. Slap, Flea et al? Never!!
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Funk is a feel, you can be a funkologist to any scale and any note you play. A really great instructional video that id recomend is Stu Ham, Slap Pop and Tap For The Electric Bass. He has an in depth review about slap and pop.

    Another excellent instuctional video is John Patitucci, Electric Bass

    And another is by Louis Johnson, sorry dont know the name of it because a friend made a copy of it.

    But the Louis Johnson one is old school funk, and the Patitucci one is well worth it too, cos he funks and grooves in many different styles, Id recommend that one the most.
  19. What I would do, if I were you, is expose myself to as many great funk/groove recordings as I could, like:

    James Brown
    Tower of Power
    Sly and the Family Stone
    Graham Central Station
    Bootsy's Rubber Band
    The Gap Band
    Con Funk Shun
    (the list goes on)

    If, after absorbing all this material, you don't get any ideas on how to groove, you may want to hook up with a Korn cover band.[​IMG]

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