The harmony here is predominantly static, typically over a dominant 7 or a m7 chord. Go for a Strat in position 2 and set up a clean tone, sometimes with wah or phaser.

The focus here is more on rhythm than anything else; the common techniques are strumming and left and right hand muting.

Some names to check out are Jimmy Nolen, Wah-Wah Watson, Neil Rodgers, Al McKay, David Williams and Paul Jackson Jr.


Ex 1: This is a funk rhythm lick in the style of James Brown. The tone should be totally clean (maybe with a hint of compressor) and the left hand should release the pressure very quickly to get the short, staccato feel.

Ex 2: This lick is in the style of one of funk’s legends, Nile Rodgers. He often plays block chords mixed with ‘Motown fills’ (typical of Hendrix too). The strumming hand should play with a wide movement and the fretting hand should mute the unwanted strings.

Ex 3: This lick is in the style of another incredible player; Eddie Hazel from Funkadelic. The sound of the lick is around the D7sus4 chord and, again, a wide movement is needed.

Ex 4: This lick is in the style of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s quite ‘aggressive’ for funk and heavily influenced by rock-blues players. To get the right tone try an MXR Dynacomp, a Strat and a valve amp.

Ex 5: This lick is in the style of session supremo’s Paul Jackson Jr or David Williams. Those guys are amazing! The lick uses a single note line played with a light palm mute and shows the use of 16th note triplets (on a Quartal triad).


GT132 – 50 Licks To Go
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