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is there such thing as a funk scale?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Lowend4s, Feb 25, 2001.

  1. Lowend4s


    Jan 2, 2001
    and if so what is it please...

    thank you
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Moved to General Instruction.

    Will C.:cool:
  3. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    Not sure about any funk scales, but you may want to look into blues scales (if you haven't already) in a rush right now, will explain later, if no one beats me to it

  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Funk is a feel...
    That said, any scale can be "funky"; depends upon YOUR feel, mood, rhythm, articulation, etc.
  5. I agree with JimK but I lean on the flat7th and 7th in a minor scale.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...there's a lot of guys who lean on the b7 even when it's a Major tonality happenin'(ie NO Dominant 7th chord).

    Here's one rhythm you can try with SnoMan's Blues' scale suggestion...
    (All in ONE position, too; no need to move your fretting hand).


    Here's the notes-
    Played on these strings-

    Here's one more way-
    Played on these strings-

    Just experiment...
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    As Jim K mentioned, funk is a style and a feel, not a set of notes. The most basic element of "funk style" is the division of each beat into four parts (16th notes). In a lot of funk music, when the band really gets kickin', you can hear somebody in the band playing something on almost every subdivision, but each instrument has its own role in the total sound.

    If you aren't playing in a band at the moment, or if you want to practice getting a funk feel with your bass by itself, try the following:

    Play muted click sounds on every part of every beat in 4/4 time.

    1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a....

    Next, try substituting a note (any note) for one of the clicks in each beat. Notice how if you play only on the beats themselves, it doesn't sound very funky. The more you syncopate (play on the off beats), the funkier the rhythm will sound.

    1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a

    If you play notes (any notes will do) on the boldface parts of the beat in the above example, the resulting accents give you a basic funk-type rhythm. Experiment with playing on different parts of different beats. This is just a general example, but if you mess around with it you might come up with some ideas you can work with.

    Hope this helps.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...now, that's great advice, Chris! In fact, I now remember doin' that all the time way back when...if you can get "it" goin' on a subconscious level while improvising/jamming, you'll be well on your way.
  9. I guess that some scales just work really good in a funk context...(minor pentatonic, Major pentatonic, Dorian mode, Mixolydian, even Whole tone scales can sound really funky...), but That doesn't mean much when placed in the context of what others around you are playing...You have to play notes from scales that will "work", however you can make any notes FEEL funky. I find that taking a chromatic approach to playing funk tends to work wonders...For example, take a minor pent scale, add in the Major 2nd, the Major 3rd, the Aug. 4th, the Major or minor 6th, Major 7th....whatever, You just hafta experiment as to where they sound best...Try chromatic approaches to target notes. Just listen to the note choices of funk bassists you admire, they always get it right...
  10. One thing that raises my ire, is when people refer to the technique of slapping and popping as "funk".
    This is B******T. As Jim stated, funk is a feeling, funk is when a piece of music gets your booty shaking. Rocco is one of the funkiest dudes on the planet, but he cant slap to save himself, nor does he want to. The funkiest recordings ever, James Brown's "Sex Machine" and "Cold Sweat" have not a slap or pop between them.
  11. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Marty, i agree 110%. Actually, i posted the same thing (in less words, though) over in Michael Dimin's forum earlier today.

    IMO, finger funk is MUCH more funky than string spank.
  12. While I do agree you don't need to slap and pop to play funk music, I don't agree that using one technique or the other is going to make you more funky. It's all about feel. While Rocco Prestia, James Jamerson and Bootsy Collins are (were) some incredibly funky bass players that use finger style almost exclusively; Larry Graham, Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller are incredibly funky bass players that use thumb and 'string spank' almost exclusively. Is one group more funky then the other? IMO, I don't think so.;)
  13. Bassin', that's quite right. What I'm objecting to is people (usually young guys) referring to ANY slap, be it good, bad, or indifferent as being "funk". By that definition, Fieldy would be a funky dude!
  14. I agree. Good point. :)
  15. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Mixolydian and Dorian scales sound funky to me.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Even when played by a string quartet at funereal pace? :rolleyes:
  17. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    What's a funereal pace? :)
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Very, very, ve...ry, slow....ly! :)
  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...that would be called a dirge.
    Look it up! ;)
  20. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    LOL, I thought you misspelled Funeral place!

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