If you’re learning how to play funk guitar, there are different levels of growth that will happen along the way. Learning licks, and learning the fundamentals is essential. Playing along to recordings is also very helpful. But, some of the most growth you’ll have will come from jumping in to a jam head first and playing with other musicians.
In his course, Trading Solos: Funk, Chris Buono will help you nail down some of the fundamentals before sharing the spotlight to trade solos with him.
Here are four video funk soloing guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Chris Buono’s Trading Solos: Funk on TrueFire!
Funk Guitar Lesson – Track 2: J.B. in D – Overview
This track is all about James Brown’s main man: Jimmy Nolen. While James is regarded as the Godfather of Soul, Jimmy is hands down the King of Funk Guitar. The bedrock track is classic Jimmy Nolen vibe that plays of the three-over-four funky hemiola I talk about throughout my TrueFire funk courses including Focus On: Funk and 30 Funk Rhythms You MUST Know. The tightness is the main ingredient.
Steve Jenkins delivers his signature groove with grace and space on this one. Thanks to his signature Brubaker and Aguilar Tone Hammer DI Steve’s tone plays a big part in the effectiveness and takes this jam track to another level.
Funk Guitar Lesson – Track 2: J.B. in D – Three Lick Ideas Demo
The name of the game here “motivic development”. It’s an improvisational concept David Fiuczynski turned me onto in the first lesson I took with him in the mid-90’s. It’s all about stating and developing a theme. I use that technique throughout all the solos. It’s something I programmed into my playing so it comes out naturally. It’s what makes my solos sound like a story that has a structure comprised of a beginning, a middle and a big ending. Another component is the idea of playing in four bar chunks. Both techniques are deeply ingrained in my soloing and I strongly suggest you give them your attention.
Speaking back to unexpected influences for ideas: The inspiration for my second lick comes from a lick in Eddie’s “Hot for Teacher” solo as well as Randy’s main riff in “Crazy Train”. I told you funk is freedom!
The final lick is all about another crucial improvisational technique I spent a lot of time coding into my playing: Repetition. The lick is D Dorian glory in the tenth position. With the aid of hybrid picking and sliding it makes for an effective climatic lick to round out my final solo.
Funk Guitar Lesson – Track 2: J.B. in D – Comping Approach Demo
Once again, considering another guitar player is in the mix, I have three ideas for you to play when comping behind me when we play. The solo sections are 16 bars each. Think of them in four bar chunks just like I mentioned in the previous lick idea video. Within those ideas, I play call & response ideas to help the soloist organize their ideas as well as keep their place over this static one chord jam.
Another key component is the use of space. Since the bedrock track is a freight train of syncopated 16ths notes, the smart move is to play opposite of that and play with lots of space. To add, check out where I’m playing in the first idea. It’s low and out of the way of the chordal idea in the bedrock track. The second idea starts to move up in pitch, but retains the single note approach allowing it to still jive with the chordal bed I lay down with Steve Jenkins and the drum sequencing. While the third idea takes up a bit more space and also knocks on the door of the frequency range of the bedrock track, it’s super staccato and full of soul power!
Funk Guitar Lesson – Let’s Trade Solos – Track 2 Playalong
Now let’s get down and jam! As we play together on the gloriously funky Dm jam in the style of James Brown/Jimmy Nolen, I’ll throw in both the comping and soloing ideas I demonstrated for you plus a whole lot more. Don’t worry – the solo has been expertly transcribed by Andrew Pevny and loaded up above in Soundslice as well as engraved in Guitar Pro and rendered as a PDF. We got you! One more thing: While we jam, don’t leave me hangin’. Be sure to play rhythm for me when I solo.Ready? Let’s trade some solos!
Digging these free video funk soloing guitar lessons? Check out Chris Buono’s Trading Solos: Funk.