Help me expand my funk lick/fill vocabulary!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Dan Yoder, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Dan Yoder

    Dan Yoder

    Mar 20, 2017
    Kansas City
    Hi everyone,

    I trust that if this topic has been covered here you'll tell me and I can redirect. Until that happens, let me expand on the thread title:

    As a preface, I would consider myself an intermediate to pro electric player. I gravitate to funk, including all of funk's siblings and cousin genres. I am committed to, and deeply involved in, developing my knowledge and mastery of music theory. I have a long way to go, but I definitely have mastered the basics.

    Here's what I'm trying to achieve: I'm looking for a resource that has a collection of really funky bass licks and fills. These can be one measure to multi-measure licks and fills, it doesn't matter to me. I have a strong command of the fingerboard and would say I can adequately write and play most basslines, but when it comes to ripping off some really funky fills, I fall short because I don't have much of a developed vocabulary.

    Any guidance or assistance would be greatly appreciated. I have great respect for this site and its members, which is why I'm sharing this thought with you all.

  2. Are you looking for song suggestions, transcriptions, or tutorials? That video on Paul Jackson might be a good place to start.
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  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006

    Based on the depth and usefulness of Jon's other books,
    I recommend this even though I haven't used it directly

    and of course
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  4. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    I have both of these books! they are gold IMO
    I also own Slap it! which is also some good work. I do not own the tracks CD but Im sure I could scour somewhere for it. at any rate I also recommend those books and as usual Senior Mombo is on point.

    Also. listen to some good Funk bands, or funky bass players.
    The God Father of soul, James Brown. Bootsy. Funkadelic. Parlament. Curtis Mayfield.
    Sly Stone (and the Fam too) old school Disco (for the fills and such) Average White Band. Earth Wind Fire. Cameo. Brother's Johnson. etc.. if you have iHeart radio, or Pandora, put one of these in the search and similar artists will pop up.

    get an envelope filter (auto wah) makes almost anything sound "Funky":thumbsup::bassist:
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  5. Badwater

    Badwater Guest

    Jan 12, 2017
    One way to find the funk you're looking for is to find the music that inspires you to play funk. Check the online videos of funk, check out the compilations of funk music online, and pick out the ones that you like the best.
  6. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Came in to post ^^^this.

    Just immerse yourself in those Headhunters recordings, it’s like a compendium of the Best. Funk. Licks. Ever.
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  7. BlueP


    Jan 29, 2017
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  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Going way back...the 1 song that sent me to check out more Funk-
    "Shining Star"- EW&F.
    It is a very short song (<3 minutes)...Verdine White plays a primer for trills, shakes, slides, doublestops, pops, etc. These are talked about in Jon Leibman's Funk Bass book.

    "Serpentine Fire" is another good one.
    (There's are transcriptions in the Tab & Notation Forum).
    Submission - In the Stone, Jupiter, Serpentine Fire, Shining Star - Earth, Wind & Fire
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  9. GastonD


    Nov 18, 2013
    Belgrade, Serbia
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  10. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor In Memoriam

    Nov 14, 2008
    Southern Maryland, USA
    I started working on that stuff in the video and OMG, where did that guy get all these ideas for one song? And the bassline from "Thrust" I just can't play at all... I'm working the Live from Bremen groove to start.
  11. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor In Memoriam

    Nov 14, 2008
    Southern Maryland, USA
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  12. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor In Memoriam

    Nov 14, 2008
    Southern Maryland, USA
    Yeah. I'm finding that it may better to just find one great source, as you mentioned, and mine the hell out of it rather than use the "1001 lines for every occasion" books because they get to be overwhelming. They are fun, but then I feel obligated to try them all, so I end up not really knowing any of them.

    I mean, Paul Jackson doesn't try to play everybody's lines. He only plays Paul Jacksons lines... So it "seems" the most effective way of getting into it is to just pick one guy that does it for me and only study that guy. At least to start.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  13. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    One of my fave funk bass recordings by Verdine White ( EW&F ), especially those lines in the chorus. It just goes to show that you can use slap and pop technique as more of an accent to the melody, instead of all the way through the song.