Funk; the epitome of grooving and moving. Funk bass guitar playing is one of the most popular styles of bass guitar playing. Its broad appeal is due in part to the fact that it teaches so many of the foundational skills for different genres of music.
Smoothness, fluidity, relaxation; these are some of the basic traits associated with funk bass playing. Funk bass guitar wears many faces; it can be experimental and crazy, or it can be slow, smooth, and romantic.
All factors of funk depend on one thing; the player.
If you want to play funk, you need to decide which type of funk you want to play. Focusing on a single style at a time will allow you to hone your skills and develop the necessary techniques for other styles without outside influence.
The one constant in all forms of funk is that it is played with the fingers. Funk bass is all about feel, no matter how fast or slow. The only way you can truly feel your notes is to grab them and feel the sing beneath your fingertips. This means that in order to play funk bass guitar, you will need to build up some calluses on your fingers. The best way to do this is by spending some time each day playing with your fingers.
Whether you are working on scales or you are learning a new lick, try playing with your fingers for five minutes a day. Do this for a full week. After the week is up, give your fingers a full day rest. For the next week, play ten minutes with your fingers every day. Yet again, when your seven days are up, take a day off and allow your fingers to heal over a bit.
Do this exercise, playing a week with fingers, doubling the time each consecutive week and taking a day off in between, until you find yourself playing your entire practice with only your fingers. Once you are, don’t look back; you’ve already started on the path of funk.
The best way to further introduce yourself on how to play funk bass is by listening to funk. Try listening to different varieties of funk. Don’t limit yourself to only romantically inclined funk; try listening to experimental funk and fusion as well. This will allow you to see the broad range of techniques used in funk, and will allow you to learn without limits.
When you listen, use your musical ear. Don’t only pick out the bass line; listen to the other instruments. What are they doing? Are they supplementing, or are they being supplemented? Is the song free formed, or is it a set structure following a basic progression? Which instruments are coming to the forefront, and when are they? Is everything fluid, does everything work well together?
These are important things to ask yourself when studying funk. Not only will it help you get a better look into funk bass guitar playing, but it will allow you to develop a sense of what is actually going on and enlighten you to any similarities between different songs. When you aren’t listening, play; it will be your first step of many, but the most rewarding of all.
#1 – Finger Style Funk Bass Lessons to Help You Get That Flow
Check out this lesson to get a great overview of finger styles that are typically used in the funk genre. Not only is this musical style a great place to learn your grooves, it is also very fun and exciting to jam around in.
#2 – Easy Bass Slap Lines That Can Improve Your Finger Skills
The bass slapping technique is a very versatile skill that you can use to play in various genres of music. Besides jazz and metal, learning slap lines can really help you improve your finger skills by giving it a great workout.
#3 – Great Funk Bassists to Get Inspiration From
Everybody learning to play bass always starts somewhere and I am sure we all have our heroes in our minds. They say imitation is the best form of flattery and that’s very true. Check out these guitar legends that had revolutionized the genre and continued to inspire us.
#4 – Bass Funk Grooves And Patterns to Learn
One of the easiest ways to learn how to groove is to listen to other musicians play. By studying how others play, you would be able to hear and see what works best and also find out why. Check out these easy grooves that you can master with little effort.
#5 – Scale Runs That Will Allow You to Improvise At Will
Before we talk about scale runs, it is essential to have a good foundation of the basic scales. Otherwise, you will definitely have a difficult time composing music or playing with other musicians.
#6 – Exercises to Increase Finger Dexterity And Build Coordination
Finger speed and strength isn’t something that you can develop over a fortnight. If you want to gain speed and play with less effort, you will need to put in the effort to practice consistently and hone your motor skills.
#7 – How to Get the Groove Just By Listening to the Drumbeats
Unlike other genres of music, your groove is a musician’s identity when it comes to funk. Check out this article as we explore some of the insights for developing a natural talent to getting the groove.
If you want to go from being an average bassist to achieving a level of bass playing like a professional, JamPlay is the best resource to help you accomplish that goal in the shortest possible time. Learn from bass legends like Billy Sheehan, David Ellefson and Bryan Beller with an ever-growing library of video lessons designed to help you improve your skills.