Everyone needs an idol. Whether you are a writer, an artist, or a musician, everyone needs inspiration. The best way to find inspiration is through those people whose accomplishments are similar to your goals.
If you want to learn funk bass guitar, this means that you will need to find some great funk bassists to imitate. While you aren’t trying to steal their style, imitation is the highest level of flattery; it is also the best way to develop your own style.
In this article, we’ll go over some great funk bassists who should help inspire you to pick up your bass each and every day and practice to be your best.
First off on our list is the great Stanley Clarke. Clarke is an amazing bassist. Not only does he have some of the best funk technique to date, but he can also play jazz like a madman. He has played with numerous amazing musicians. Among many of his highlights, one of the most profound is Return to Forever with Chick Corea and Al Di Meola.
Not only was Return to Forever a great band, but they pushed the boundaries of jazz and funk to new heights. Stanley Clarke is a master; simply studying his style can do more for your playing than a dozen DVD sets.
Next up is Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea is one of the few mainstream bassists who have broken out of the pack. Many radio musicians are intent on playing simple and keeping their skills to themselves. Let’s face it; no one listens to the radio to get their mind blown.
Flea not only incorporated his phenomenal skills as a slap bassist into the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music, but he did it tastefully and made it a part of their signature sound. This is a lesson that all musicians could benefit from; you don’t need to hide your talent. Make proper use of it.
James Jamerson. If this name doesn’t mean anything to you, then you need to go listen to some Motown. Not only did Jamerson revolutionize the genre, but he was a superb bassist. His skills were sharp, his playing was smooth and clean, and every line he played just seemed to fit perfectly within the context of the song.
This is something that many bassists tend to struggle with these days; when they want to show off a bit, they end up throwing the listener off. Jamerson was able to play what he wanted when he wanted, and it always seemed to fit the song like a glove. This is a technique that is born of practice, dedication to your instrument, and simply sitting back and taking a piece in.
If these names are new to you, the biggest favor that you can do for yourself as a funk bassist is to acquaint yourself with each and every one. They are all unique players with personal playing identities, and they can all teach you a thing or two about playing. All you have to do is lend your ears.
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