Do it yourself

The Roots of Funky

The Funky guitar is one of the things that I like to play, very much.

This style is very dynamic and gives that extra spice to already solid drum grooves (and basslines). Since the late 40s the rhythmic guitar styles evolved in many different ways, one of them being the Rhythm and Blues style, that, mixed with Soul, Blues and a little bit of Jazz, gave the grounds for Funky Music.

When we say Funky the first Artist who comes to mind is James Brown.

This man, with the musical help of Jimmy Nolen (who also started in the late 40s and had already played with the innovator Johnny Otis) put “Funky music” on the map, as one of the most important music genres since the late 60s to present day..

James Brown had another great guitarist, Phelps “Catfish” Collins- who, with his brother “Bootsy” -incredible bass player- contributed to many, important songs (Sex Machine being the most famous one-and Superbad the one with the most amazing, nervous, dynamic and full of positive vibes-rhytmic arrangements )-

I want to write a small list of some guitarists who were important to shape this sound: Freddie Stone (a real Master of pre-funky guitar, playing with a small jazz/soul/rnr band) best known for his role as co-founder, guitarist, and vocalist in the band Sly and the Family Stone, Bo Diddley (mainly Blues but his hard, edgy rhythmic sound was very influential ) Paul Jackson of The Temptations (whose “Papa was a Rolling Stone” wha wha rhythmic parts and bluesy licks/fills are totally priceless).

As most of you know (I suppose so) a part of Funky music speeded up the tempo-just a little bit- and evolved in Disco (and years later, in House music) with great bands like Earth wind and Fire and their guitarist Al Mc Kay, or Kool & The Gang.

From the late 70s, Nile Rodgers with Chic is “the man”. He’s of the best musicians and riff-makers- since 1978 to present day. I mean, this man wrote songs like ” Everybody Dance”- a track that uses amazing and difficult to play chords -that, to be honest, even if you play guitar for years, you can still hav problems to play… incredible…

Nile produced a lot of cool songs, with Chic, and, later, for other artists like Sheila B Devotion “Spacer” – David Bowie “Let’s dance and also Duran Duran and Madonna.

I also want to mention Larry Carlton, who, a part from being a great jazz guitarist, played the wha wha guitar vamp-and the all guitar part in the main theme of Enter The Dragon (Lalo Schifrin).

.There are countless other examples, and I will def cover them in another article very soon.

Funky, Soul, Blues, RnB! Black people influenced a good 80 percent of modern music! And it’s all amazing!