Help me! For I am Funkless!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by f'nar f'nar, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. Ok guys, I can slap decently, I can slap and pop nites fine, I can play some slap songs like a couple of Primus and Chillies, unfortunatly when it come to just improv slapping I can't make it sound groovy or funky. Like I hear my teacher playing these great little peices of funk and when I try and play it it sounds like any other riff, from any other genre exept that its slapped!

    Help me! :bawl:
  2. Andre_gt7


    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA

    it's a shame but...

    +1 =(
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    To groove with a technique, it has to be completely second nature. Once slapping and thumping becomes more ingrained to your playing, the thought becomes less and less and the groove comes in more and more. It helps to listen to and really absorb old school funk -- Larry Graham (Graham Central Station,) old Motown (albeit not slapped, Jamerson was unquestionably the funkiest man in modern music history,) Sly and the Family Stone, Family Man Barret, etc.

    Also good to check out to absorb funky rhythms and booty-swinging, heartstopping grooves would be guys like Remy Shand and D'Angelo. Remy Shand is a wonderful multi-instrumentalist (The Way I Feel was played almost entirely by him) and one hell of a grooving bassist. D'Angelo is a bit more strictly R&B, and has some FANTASTIC bass work by some of the grooviest people around -- Raphael Saaddiq and Pino Palladino. Also, "The Roots" is a GREAT place to look for funky (and often slapped) bass parts from Hub Hubbard. Good hip hop, great basslines.


    Thought of a few more! The two groups "Groove Collective" and "Incognito" are both really great, highly grooving groups with fantastic bassists. Also, you might want to check into some world music. While a little more drum-oriented and a little less bass, this stuff is great to jam along to. Check out Babatunde Lea for some neat stuff here.

    Choice cuts of the groups I've mentioned:

    (old Motown) Marvin Gaye - What's Goin' On
    Remy Shand - Liberate
    D'Angelo - Untitled (How Does It Feel?) and Spanish Joint
    The Roots (ft. Les Nubians) - Sweetest Taboo
    Groove Collective - Lift Off, Acid Jazz, and She's So Heavy
    Incognito - Jacob's Ladder (really cool bass intro too, I love playing it)
  4. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    What he said!

    What I would add, though, is practice away from the bass. Sing lines. Thump them on your knees. Dance while you're doing it. (Careful!) Concentrate on phrasing and placing accents which you can't fully do when you're worried about notes and technique. Then try to sing and thump as you play (like, in your mind, y'know?). Phrase on the bass how you would sing the line.
  5. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    knowing the notes and the basic rhythm isn't gonna give you funk, by themselves.

    For funk, of course you need very tight rhythm and good notes, but those are just the beginning. Practice FEEL.

    Sing or hum the lines you want to play. Do this incessantly when you don't have your bass in your hands, with or without the stuff playing along on the radio. Do it until you can do it convincingly any time distracted or not. If you can't sing it, you can't play it.

    Practice playing the stuff (slowed down if the tempo is too fast), without the radio going, so you can really hear the details of what you are playing. Focus in on the minute details of your tone and feel, paying especially close attention to the dynamics (which notes get more accent, and which are softer). Your teacher should help you with this - do it in front of him and have him comment.

    Remember, it takes time to get good at this. Bass is all about feel, and you will never be finished working on it. Years from now, after you have practiced this stuff for countless hours, months, etc., you will still be trying to get better at it.

    Also, remember, part of learning to get that feel, is learning to develop your ears to hear that level of detail in your and other people's playing.

    Most importantly, this process is fun. The more you practice it, the more you'll internalize it.
  6. thanks guys, im beginning to get the hang of the singing stuff i havent touched the bass in two days (partially due to sore hands) and Im listening to all kinds of funk from my dads collection. Cheers
  7. You can't give somebody funk, they have it or they don't.
  8. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA

    I don't buy it. I've never known a person that the first time they picked up an instrument (any instrument, you choose), that just had that funk thing. Everyone learns it. You get the funk by immersing yourself in the style and really listening to and absorbing what other people do - just like any other style.
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    :rolleyes: Truly a wonderful contribution to the thread. I'm with thewanderer on this one.
  10. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    :) You want to sound funky? Use the most widely ignored ingredient in bass playing. Space. You'll be amazed at the results.
  11. +1

    It'll be so much funkier that way.
  12. Redhotbassist


    Oct 19, 2002
    Totally agree..

    What do you mean by 'Space' ?
  13. i think he means silence, somtimes the lack of sound can be just as impressive if it is used correctly
  14. Redhotbassist


    Oct 19, 2002
    Oh i think i know what you/he means.. like the rests in the middle of grooves?.. like.. erm


    something like that?

    instead of notes all over the place without rests?
  15. Where can you buy this "space" thing? Is there a good source of Boutique Space on the internet? I'm always looking for an edge.

  16. clouddead


    Jan 15, 2003
    Don't get hung up on slapping for it to be funky. I actually favor fingerstyle for funk, take a look at some jaco or paul jackson. With paul jackson, check out any herbie hancock cd with him on it.
  17. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO

    Just kinda off handed it......first time actually trying to tab out around with it, throw in some slides and some stops, also some double pops on the g 7 and don't forget to be silent every once in a while! Just have fun and experiment!

  18. Yeah, but some people just can't play funk, some can. YOu have to practice, but if he can't do it,he just might not be able. I have a friend who can play all the Chili songs in the world but can't groove at all.
  19. My addition:
    FOr maximum funkiness don't only do slap, because I think fingerstyle best defines the genre. Check out Chic, Lakeside, Ohio Players, and numerous other bands.
  20. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    Ray Brown said something along the lines of "It's only difficult because you haven't practiced it enough yet."

    If your friend could play the songs he could make them groove. I say he can't play em. Playing the notes in time is NOT by itself playing the songs. Learning to really groove takes years, and it's a skill that you will never fully develop. It's a lifelong process.

    And definitely, Slap is not at all a requirement for funk.