Let’s get funky! Today we’ll be looking at how to play funk guitar, and the basics of funk strumming.
This guitar lesson covers some basics such as left hand muting on the guitar, as well as three approaches to funk guitar. Chord funk strumming, single note funk strumming, as well as chord and single note mixed funk strumming.
Left Hand Muting
The most important technique needed for funk strumming and funk guitar is having a solid left hand mute. This helps us achieve the percussive sound of funk guitar which is extremely characteristic of funk guitar.
Let’s start with a basic exercise for left hand muting. Take your left hand, and place it on the fretboard lightly. The trick is to press it light enough where the strings don’t ring open, but pressing not so hard as to actually fret anywhere. Once you’ve prepared your left hand, strum all six strings with your right hand.
If you’ve done it correctly, you’ll hear more of a percussive sound as opposed to a melodic sound.
Once you feel comfortable with that, let’s try a few strumming exercises.
Try each exercise again if you feel any of these are giving you trouble.
Left Hand Muting + Chord
Next let’s look at muting while playing a chord. Take your third finger, and add it to the first, second, and third strings of the 5th fret. Check all of the notes to make sure they are ringing correctly.
Next with your first and second finger, we’ll mute strings four, five, and six. Check the notes that you’re trying to mute to make sure they are muted properly. Make sure that you’re fretting correctly with your 3rd finger, but pressing lightly with your first and second fingers.
When you’re ready, strum once to check.
Is it sounding good? If it is, let’s plug this chord into similar rhythm exercises as shown above.
Level 1 - Chord Funk Strumming
Alright, now that you’ve gotten the basics down, let’s check out some practical examples of funk strumming, starting with chord funk strumming.
Level 2 - Single Note Funk strumming
Next is single note funk strumming. You’ll be using that same muted technique, however this
time you’ll be switching between two notes.
Level 3 - Single Note + Chord Funk Strumming
Finally, we have both techniques combined.
This should give you a lot of the basics you need to get started on funk strumming on guitar. There’s a tonne of different chords and speeds you can play with these techniques.
Check out the full video here if you’d like to see and listen to these examples, and a full lesson using these examples.
As always, if you’d like some guidance, or if you’d like me to assess your playing, feel free to book a free trial lesson, and we can work on your playing together.
Until next time!