Funk Guitar / Muting / Strumming

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BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
Hello All

One of the big things on my list to get proficient at is the technique that’s used a lot in funk guitar of mixing muted strums / “chucks” with fretted strums to create that thick, percussive sound

I’ve watched a lot of videos on the subject but I’m finding the execution extremely challenging and simply can’t eliminate unwanted strings from sounding with enough consistency to play through a chord progression cleanly in this manner (I’m using “Get Lucky” as my learning song....)

I think its quite a hard thing to teach, but would appreciate any pointers especially around the left hand technique. 
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7197
    The two part video by the late Ross Bolton on YouTube breaks things down into simple parts. It’s a bit stilted and dated maybe and without the accompanying booklet ( it was originally a video or dvd) you might not get all the examples note for note ( which doesn’t really matter as they are just examples) but it’s all there (as I recall it). 
    Useful stuff even if you never play a funk tune, there is a lot of similar technique in stuff like Texas blues and reggae,etc. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Thanks Eric I’ll check that out. Yes Blues is another application that i’d really like to be able to nail the technique for 
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 2503
    The two part video by the late Ross Bolton on YouTube breaks things down into simple parts. It’s a bit stilted and dated maybe and without the accompanying booklet ( it was originally a video or dvd) you might not get all the examples note for note ( which doesn’t really matter as they are just examples) but it’s all there (as I recall it). 
    Useful stuff even if you never play a funk tune, there is a lot of similar technique in stuff like Texas blues and reggae,etc. 
    Definitely this ^ You need a bit of patience though, don't try to do it all in a week, I went through it in months rather than weeks to really get confident with it.

    I do tend to find that I am better at this technique on certain Guitars over others. Definitely feels easier to me on Fender Necks and I find it more difficult on my Les Paul. YMMV though.

    Good luck and stick with it because there is so much to be said for good rhythm playing. To me it is far more important than flashy soloing (although there is a time and place for that)

    :)
    Stupidity is what will kill us all in the end.
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Thanks, found the video and will work through it over a prolonged period! Definitely feels like something that’ll need lots of work and can’t expect to master quickly! 

    Luckily I’m well practiced at not mastering things quickly :lol: 

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  • JerkMoansJerkMoans Frets: 1706
    Subscribed.

    FWIW I find this stuff easier on a vintage radius (7.25") Fender than on more modern neck profiles, and I find I get far more control by ditching the pick and using the backs of my fingernails to strum.  Fiendishly difficult to get it right consistently.
    Self-confessed Blues Lawyer
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  • JerkMoansJerkMoans Frets: 1706
    Holy shit: just followed @EricTheWeary 's advice and alighted upon Ross Bolton.  Once I'm done with Marc Ribot's idiosyncratic style that's next on my agenda....
    Self-confessed Blues Lawyer
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18485
    The secret is to transcribe.
    You can go through the history of funk and find bits that you want to transcribe or you can look to a single track that has everything you need.

    That track, by the way, is 'Pass It' by Papa Grows Funk.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11905
    edited April 24
    I had to do a bit of funk stuff for one of our songs, and I basically found this one video to be a masterclass in what I was trying to achieve...


    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1868
    I'd check out the Parliament and Funkadelic albums to get a good handle on the left hand and right hand syncopation and string muting
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    I had to do a bit of funk stuff for one of our songs, and I basically found this one video to be a masterclass in what I was trying to achieve...


    That’s just an image - could you paste the link again? Ta!
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11905
    Fixed :)
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • JerkMoansJerkMoans Frets: 1706
    I had to do a bit of funk stuff for one of our songs, and I basically found this one video to be a masterclass in what I was trying to achieve...


    WOWSERS duly awarded
    Self-confessed Blues Lawyer
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  • BigLicks67BigLicks67 Frets: 497
    Check out any Nile Rodgers playing with Chic, here's a relatively easy lesson on Everybody Dance, note the Rodgers tends to use full chords so that gives you control of all the strings for muting etc.



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  • bwetsbwets Frets: 31
    Make sure you go as slow as you need to get things right. Your right hand has to be accurate too (look at the girl in the video above).

    This video explains how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2wz1cD0tfA

    Single notes are definitely harder.

    Maybe start with E shaped barre chords (because they cover all 6 strings) holding and relaxing. And I'm going to say it again, go slow until you've got it!

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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Thanks all for the tips and pointers, much obliged :) 
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  • nickpnickp Frets: 149
    and it as everyone says takes quite a while to build up stamina, a relaxed right hand is really important and muting is a dark science involving many late nights getting irritated that others can do what you cannot - bloody SRV and love struck baby does my fruit in :)

    get lucky is an exercise in waiting for your right arm to drop off - can't imagine how Nile gets through hours of gigs without RSI - but I've got better over time 
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