What do I play for a funk solo?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by hoedown_j, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. hoedown_j


    Mar 3, 2005
    I just have no idea what to do stylistically, I'm used to taking solos on swing songs on upright bass. This song however (being played in jazz band) is funk, and there is an open solo section I am to solo over.

    Chords are Cmi7 (2 bars) AbMA7 (1 bar) Fmi7 (2 beats) G7sus (1 beat) G+7 (1 beat) repeated 4 times.

    On the piece of music it says to use C melodic minor over all the chords, but I really don't like sticking with one scale the whole solo. I guess what I'm asking is could you give examples of artists/songs I can listen to for funk solos? I play slap on the whole song, so I'm guessing my solo should be too. Thanks.
  2. Listen to Marcus Miller. That guy can solo like a son of a gun!
  3. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Yeah, I don't know if I'd use the C melodic over all of this. Some definite clashes although they could all be justified if resolved well.

    On the Cmi7 you might try playing around with the Eb scale and the Gmi scale.

    On the Ab you might mess around with a sharp 4th (D natch) tone and the 7th and 2nd.

    The Fmi, Gsus and Gaug go by so quick maybe just treat as one chord scale and play around with notes common to all or really emphasize the obvious differences (Ab to A for Fmi>Gsus or D to D# for Gsus>G+.
    Goof around with 6th and 7ths.

    Neat little progression. Lots to explore - just have fun!

    I'm kinda an old style guy so my recommendations for listening to funk player solos would be Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, and Louis Johnson.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Check out the Dec. Bass Player mag(Jack Bruce cover).

    There's a full transcription to Brick's '70s Funk tune called "Dazz".
    ...Ray Ransome plays a Funk "solo", albeit over a 1-2 chord vamp. His approach is more groove vs. melodic.

    Also, Mike Dimin(check out his Forum at Talk bass) once wrote a column in Bass Frontiers mag that hit on 'groove' solos within a Funk vibe.
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    That all looks pretty much diatonic on A flat, except the last two chords, which are pretty much standard blues tension at the turnaround. The tune is centered on the IIIm; so, you can funk off that root or substitute any of the other diatonic centers. Try running the diatonic series and you'll get the idea. However, the main thing IME for a funk solo is to maintain and develop your rhythmic motif, focusing on space between the notes and syncopated variations. In fact, you have a lot of latitude; you can use quotes, rhythmic licks etc.; but generally in a funk solo, keep it tasty and simple, and try not to play too many notes. Funk is a feel thing first, pyrotechnics second. My <2c. I hope that helps.

    Oh yeah, MM is an outstanding reference.
  6. is the song Critical Mass?