How To Play Funk Rhythm Guitar

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Funky music is one of the most popular musical styles in America today. It’s characterized by rhythmic patterns, melodies, and bass lines that use triplets, sixteenth notes, or other quick rhythms.

Many musicians have made their careers off creating songs with funk rhythm guitar licks. These extended riffs are usually in some sort of sequence and typically feature heavy use of either first position, second position, or both positions 1 and 2 chords.

There are several ways to play funky chord sequences using only the white keys (no black keyed instruments like guitars or pianos) of your instrument. This article will go into detail about how to learn how to play this song start to finish!

If you’re looking to pick up the basics of playing funk style guitar, check out our beginner series here:

Practice playing along with songs

how to play funk rhythm guitar

A great way to learn how to play funk rhythm guitar is by practicing along with music! This can be fun to do if you are familiar with the song already or if you have the instrumental version ready.

If you are not, that’s okay too! Getting the hang of this technique will help you develop your skills faster since you won’t need to know the full piece first. You can slowly work out the parts as you go along.

Practicing along with music also helps retain what you have learned because you must process the information in both modes at the same time.

There are many ways to practice this. Some people use software to quickly produce the backing track for them, while others keep a notebook of lyrics and guitar licks next to a microphone so they can sound check and translate what they want to play into music.

Whatever method works best for you, just make sure you are comfortable with it before moving onto the next stage.

Listen to classic funk songs

how to play funk rhythm guitar

A lot of people start playing rhythm guitar by listening to music! They listen to songs with bass, drum patterns or riffs they can copy and add their own licks to.

Watch funk videos

how to play funk rhythm guitar

In addition to learning how to play some basic chords, funky rhythm patterns, and bass lines in songs, it is important to watch lots of music theory-focused YouTube videos!

Theory lessons can be very helpful when it comes to understanding what notes make up a song, how to read musical notations, or even how to read music!

There are many great sites with vast amounts of quality content, so do not hesitate to visit them to see what your style looks like! Many offer you an option to subscribe or purchase the courses as well, making it more accessible to everyone.

General theory lessons:

How to Read Music – This one is pretty self explanatory!

Music Theory Lessons: Reading Musics Like A Pro -This one goes into detail about different types of music theories and what they mean.

Reading Music Notes And Symbols – Here you will learn about staffs (where the notes go on the guitar), treble and bass clefs, numbers, symbols, and other things that relate to music.

Songs By Artists – Some artists have made their own songs or learned how to write lyrics and melodies by studying how others did it. You could look through their works and figure out how to apply those concepts to your own songs!

Lesson Plan Guides – There are plenty of online course providers that offer lesson plan guides and assignments to help you hone your skills further.

Learn the basics of funk rhythm guitar

how to play funk rhythm guitar

The next part of your journey is learning how to play some funky riffs! Funky music typically has bass, drums, and guitars in it. Almost every song you listen to has at least one riff or pattern that sounds like it could be another word (like its opposite, for example, “dormant” = slow jam).

These patterns are usually played by picking certain strings while also altering the speed at which you pick them. This is called string bending or chord-vamping. A guitarist can use either very quickly (accidental deceleration) or slowly (lengthening the note) depending on what effect they want.

Knowing this theory now, let us get into some practical applications of these concepts! First up we will learn the easy way – using scale shapes as templates.

Find your own unique style

how to play funk rhythm guitar

Finding your groove is more than just copying what other people are doing, it is creating your own sound that fits you! There are many ways to learn how to play funk rhythm guitar. You do not have to be in a band to contribute to the genre or even need to perform yourself to truly understand how to play funk guitar.

There are several types of musicians who use funky rhythms in their music. Songwriters use them in catchy melodies and riffs. Recording artists use them for bass lines and drum beats. And as we know, instrumentalists such as guitarist s apply them into songs as solo pieces.

All these artist include special skills when playing along with a rhythmic pattern. They know how to pick out the right notes at the correct tempo, they manage time correctly, and they blend all of this together into one seamless piece.

Knowing how to play some basic funk patterns will help start off your journey to being a musician. Having an understanding of timing and theory will make it easier to take your craft further.

Play to enjoy yourself

how to play funk rhythm guitar

After learning how to play some chords, it’s time to move onto something more fun! Playing funk rhythm guitar isn’t about being as fast or flashy as possible; it’s not even about playing many notes per second. It is, however, about playing lots of cool licks and grooves in a way that you can easily switch up and add your own touches to.

Playing funk groove bass lines doesn’t require knowing all the same chord structures like practicing blues songs does. That’s why there are several different ways to approach this type of music — you don’t have to know every tool at your disposal.

But by familiarizing yourself with the basics of funk rhythm guitar, you’ll be able to create your own unique sounds and contribute to the genre without too much brainstorming.

Connect with other musicians

how to play funk rhythm guitar

When it comes down to it, being a good guitarist is not about having a large collection of songs that you can play well, but instead, it’s about creating your own music by connecting with yourself and other musicians.

By interacting with others who share your passion for guitar playing, you will find yourself developing new skills and techniques as well as inspiring yourself to keep practicing!

There are many ways to meet like-minded people, including online communities, in person gatherings, and by participating in open mic events. By doing these things, you will continually expose yourself to more opportunities to connect and grow.

In addition to meeting new people, listening to music also provides a way to relate and understand how different artists use rhythm and timing in their pieces.

You don’t need to be professional musician to pick up some tips and tricks from studying the art of rhythm! It’s great practice for anyone who wants to learn how to play an instrument.

Practice to become a perfectionist

how to play funk rhythm guitar

As mentioned before, practicing is an integral part of improving your guitar skills or giving you success in music. What kind of practice you should do and how much time you need to devote to it will depend on what level you are trying to reach as a player.

If you want to learn how to play funk rhythm guitar, then there’s one thing that you must do first. You have to be able to recognize the pattern that makes up the funky bass line!

By now, you probably know some basic chords and maybe even some riffs, but if you can’t identify the chord structure for the funky bass line, then you’re going to be stuck being superficial with your playing.

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