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Have been learning finger style funk bass

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by smither12, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    I have been wanted to become a more funkier bass player, so I have been listening and trying to imitate a lot of Paul Jackson and Jaco Pastorious basslines. I think I am improving a lot just by listening and immersing myself, but anyone have any other funky finger style bass players that you think I should check out. Also, if any one has any exercises that helped them become a funkier bass player please comment them.

  2. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Learn from the best. Muting and dead notes are the most important part. Stacatto and articulation is what makes a bassline go from flat to funky. And check this out.
  3. h60


    Nov 30, 2007
  4. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks guys!! Yeah I defiantly learned from Jackson and jaco the importance of articulate notes as well as the syncopation, specially landing on the e and a's of the beat. I have two questions:
    1. From listening to Jaco and Jackson (specifically jaco does this a lot) I noticed a lot of times where they play eight notes a little differently, like in a different feel. A good example of this is the way Jaco plays the melody in "Chicken", or the way that he plays the bass breakdown at 1:00 in "Come on come over". Also the bass fills by Paul Jackson in the Herbie Hancock tune "Spank a Lee". I think it is some kind of syncopation or maybe a triplet feel...if anyone knows what it is called when they play the eight notes like that please fill me in. Like I know how to do it from listening but i'm just curious on the theory behind it i guess.
    2. I have been trying to understand more about the ghost notes or dead notes, and other things related to muting like that: Can anyone help explain to me how that is used in funk bass lines? And also, what would be even more helpful would be if someone could send me the song where it is used prominently in the bass line.

    Thanks, I appreciate taking your time to help me out.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    One thing you can try/practice...and keeping it way simple by sticking to one(1) string & even one(1) note-
    Mute/ghost everything but the "e of each beat"
    Playing the "E" on the A-string...
    l1--- 2--- 3--- 4---l
    lxexx xexx xexx xexxl

    Then add the "a of each beat"-
    l1--- 2--- 3--- 4---l
    lxexa xexa xexa xexal

    I listened...at about 1:00 minute in, Jaco really gives the muted/ghosted 1/16th- note Funk-thing a workout...and this is 1/16th notes & not 1/8th notes.
    Jaco is playing very typical notes over a D7/D9 chord change...he using D-A-C-B + a chromatic climb F#-G-G#-A; his feel, very staccato & muted, is what pumps it along.
    Compare this to Chuck Rainey's line/figure to "Rock Steady" by Aretha Frankin...the notes are almost exact...the feel is different but no less happening (about 1:15 into the song).

    BTW, Rainey's figure during the Verses is in an 1/8th note feel....the chorus is a 1/16th note feel.

    I tried a bit above..."What Is Hip" by TOP is a very good example of muted/ghosted playing.
    The concept: Think of your two(2) plucking fingers as "drumsticks"...keep them in constant tempo (may help act as a metronome) & alternating (requires a level of technique/discipline).
    Play 'key' notes where you want them to pop within the beat...mute/ghost the others. The result may be a busy line but with a small amount of notes actually being sounded.
    Caveat: Inexperienced bandmates, drummers, etc not versed enough in this style may find it distracting & busy. Been there...
  6. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Check these songs

    Splashdown Time
    Let the dance begin by Bohannon
    Kansas City Milkman
    Soul Vaccination
    Funk the Dumb Stuff
    Tonight (show you how to part right) Cheryll Lynne)
    I need your loving (Teena Marie)
    Talking Loud, saying nothing...James Brown
    Soul Power (james brown/bobbt byrd)
    Give it up or turn it loose (James Brown) Jungle remix


    Just to name a few.
  7. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Thank you guys so much!! Specially JimK, you have so much knowledge! I am very interested in finding more about the concept of ghost notes, and keeping your fingers like drumsticks for playing funk. I am going to start doing the exercises you said but could you PM more information about this?? I would love to know more. Thanks.
    Also thanks to Phillybass101 for the songs I will be sure to give me them a listen - and the ones I already heard - another listen!
  8. aprod

    aprod Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    The king of finger style funk is Rocco Prestia from Tower of Power. Check anything by him and you will get an education.
  9. Emilym80


    Sep 15, 2011
    Some players that I listened to when I was trying to get an idea for funkier feels and styles are:
    Geddy Lee, he uses a lot of dead notes and grooves really well. Check out Leave That Thing Alone.
    Chris Squire- Roundabout. The bassline to Roundabout was really helpful when I was trying to get used to playing lots of dead notes.
    Jaco- The Chicken, you might have found that one already, though.
    Rocco Prestia grooves incredibly well, too.
    Hope this helps.
  10. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    I don't know man...the funkiest player IMO is by far Paul Jackson....his finger funk is mind blowing. Listen to the album "Thrust" by Herbie Hancock: Paul Jackson at his best.
  11. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    But I will for sure give Rocco Prestia a listen!!!
  12. kudzoorude


    Oct 31, 2007
    Jackson, MS
    I thought Rocco invented the style. j/k

    Get the Fingerstyle Funk book/CD series by Anthony Vitti. The best instruction on the style I've seen.

    I would also recommend listening to some Shout music for amazing basslines from the Gospel world. Some of the best players I've heard play each Sunday morning but aren't famous.
  13. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Just listened to him and he is amazing! His extensive use of muting is really outstanding, and thanks for all the suggestions as well.
  14. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    One of my all-time favorite tracks: http://youtu.be/4tUTsZ78xIw - Alphonso Johnson! I love his use of effects on this song too. He was the bassist in Weather Report before Jaco.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I dug up a zombie thread from 2000...I was searching for posts by TB's Chris Fitzgerald (I think he is still a Moderator here). Anyway, Chris is an real educator.
    Check out Chris Post #7 (for starters).

    I would also suggest getting your internal clock happening (i.e hearing the subdivisions in your head)...and listen to your internal drummer.

    From 2001...more or less the same topic (comes up a lot around here)-
    Chris Post #6 for starters...
  16. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Are yall dreaming? geddy lee etc finger funk???? Listen to anything James brown from 64' to 75'. That's finger funk.
  17. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks JimK I will definitely check those out!!
    @mcm Yes, I was also getting worried when I saw Geddy Lee listed as finger funk! And I love James Brown, I think i need to pay more attention to the low end next time I give him a listen.
  18. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    @Hiermonyous I'll give it a listen!
  19. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Yo smither, check out the album "in the jungle" by jb. It's bootsy before he was a star and its tremendous. The whole dang album, especially "got to move". Sick
  20. RED J

    RED J Lol Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2000
    Rocco is the Jaco of fingerfunk.