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whats the best funk book out there?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thehangingmist, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. whats the best recommended book to study funk music? something which covers different styles and comes along with backing tracks and sheet music and all. something like an ed friedland book but he doesnt have one on funk music really. am looking at understanding james brown, parliament kind of stuff. i am working on songs and all but the syncopated bass lines are kinda tricky so its hard to get them right especially for a funk noob like me:ninja: so what book should i get?>
  2. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    You could start with "The Funkmasters: The Great James Brown Rhythm Sections 1960-1973" by Allan Slutsky and Chuck Silverman. That one has good transcriptions (in both standard notation and tab) and comes with two CDs. Your best resource, however, is going to be the music itself. Get your hands on a bunch of James Brown, Sly, Parliament and whatever else does it for you and dissect the lines. You need to listen to this stuff to get it right. :)
  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I don't own any exclusively funk bass books, except SITSOM, which is awsome, but only about Jamerson.

    Paul Westwood's Bass Bible has a funk section that touches on Jamerson/ Mowtown, staxx, james brown, Larry graham, Chuck rainey and others. each gets a couple of paragraphs of history and brief style analysis, and 5-10 notated/tabbed examples of 8 or 16 bars.

    Our Own John Liebman has 2 volumes of funk stuff, but I haven;t read them. his Bass Grooves - The Ultimate Collection has a good chunk of stuff tho.
  4. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Funkmasters.....Find a drummer who all so wants to learn and work on them for Hours and hours.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    "The Funkmasters..." is great because it's NOT a bass book. It's got stuff for the drummer and the guitarist too. And that's the thing about classic funk like you're getting into. It's not about anything by itself, it's about how the parts go together. And I think it's critical to understand what the drums and the guitars are doing as well as just bass parts.

    But the key is what bass12 says in his second part- get the recordings and LISTEN to them. Listen to how the bass works with and against the kick drum, the snare, the guitar riff, etc. Why does the bass on "I Feel Good" do something different than the guitar? What's the real bass part on "Mustang Sally"? How does Larry Graham play one note but it sounds perfect on "Everyday People"?

  6. so funkmasters does have the bass part written right? and does it cover a decent amount of material?
  7. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Yes it has Bass,,,Guitar,,,drums transcriptions/instructional. If I remember right it also has simplified drum parts for the drummer that is not quite up to Clyde's technique.

  8. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Plenty of material to keep you occupied for a long time if you really look at what's going on. JTE made a great point in his post: part of what makes The Funkmasters such a good book is that it helps focus your attention on how the different instruments work together to produce the end result. Some books provide "watered down" transcriptions but The Funkmasters is pretty accurate. I used this book when I wrote my Master's thesis (on go-go, a style of funk from D.C.) and compared other transcriptions (my own as well as some published in various magazines). The transcriptions in The Funkmasters are generally excellent and they will help you a lot, especially when used in conjunction with the recordings. I would also recommend that you do some reading on the history of funk (try Rickey Vincent's "Funk: The Music, The People, And The Rhythm Of The One" - not the most academic piece work in the world but the only book that I'm aware of that deals specifically with Funk in a socio-historical context). Knowing something about the origins of the music and the social context of those origins might help you to get a better grasp of why the funk of the 60s and 70s sounds the way it does. Anyway, just a suggestion. The most important thing is still to listen to the music (and play along to some records).
  9. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Wait,,,You did a thesis on Go-Go? Cool!

  10. alright so i will get The Funkmasters!
  11. jonster


    Nov 12, 2008

    Thanks for the mentions!

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