Funk & Soul Lessons Course

 

Funk guitar is characterized by clean tones, short notes and groovy rhythms. In these Funk & Soul guitar lessons you’ll learn the in’s and out’s of Soul and Funk guitar techniques. We’ll show you funk guitar chords, genre specific riffs and licks, groves and feels as well as breaking down artist studies like James Brown and Parliament.

If any of these guitar techniques are a bit too advanced, be sure to check out the Guitar Fundamentals Course 1 and Guitar Fundamentals Course 2 for additional foundational guitar skills and beginner guitar lessons.

Rhythm & Blues Style

Soul guitar is about the melody, expressing the emotions of the song through the guitar instead of through vocals. Soul music has an overall smoothness that Funk music doesn’t emphasize. Concepts from Funk guitar cross over into the Soul genre like rhythm, guitar chord voicings, etc. They are similar, yet different styles of playing.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
Soulful R&B Series 2

In this tutorial, we will learn to play some soulful rhythm and blues guitar style rhythm parts & lead licks in a minor key. This style is rooted strongly in blues and jazz, with distinctly soulful melodies and bittersweet jazzy chords. You can also hear a bit of a funky approach in the use of syncopated, percussive and staccato rhythms. We'll put it all together in this tutorial.

Published: 04/04/2012 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Soulful R&B Series 1

In this tutorial, we will learn to play some soulful R&B (Rhytm & Blues) guitar style rhythm parts & lead licks in a major key. This style is rooted strongly in blues and jazz, with distinctly soulful melodies and bittersweet jazzy chords. You can also hear a bit of a funky approach in the use of syncopated, percussive and staccato rhythms.

Published: 10/01/2011 Upgrade

Funk Rhythm Guitar

Funk guitar is all about the rhythm. The concept of ‘the pocket’ is paramount; where you are locked in groove, rhythm and timing with the rest of the band in such a way that the multiple musicians sound like an individual unit. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Later on you’ll learn soloing and funk lead techniques utilizing the Blues scale and Pentatonic scale.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Kenny Echizen
James Brown Funk Style Guitar

This tutorial is a collection of funky guitar ideas that are inspired by the music of James Brown.

Published: 08/15/2009 Upgrade
Joel Van Dijk
Funk Guitar

Joel Van Dijk demonstrates 10 examples of funky rhythm playing, in the style of P-Funk, Prince, and others.

Published: 12/22/2008 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Smoky Funk

in this set of lessons, HP Kruesi will show you how to play some smoky funk. HP talks about the overall ideas within the tutorial, then teaches the rhythm guitar part. The we'll look at the scale used to form the licks, and then we'll learn four licks you can play over this groove. In lesson 8 we'll break down a chord solo, then conclude by putting it all together.

Published: 04/03/2012 Upgrade

Funk Licks

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Ben Lindholm
Funk Lick Library E1

These 16 lessons will teach you easy funk licks in the key of E. The first two lessons prepare you to play the licks and the backing track. The next half-dozen lessons teach you six must-know funk licks. Then, four lessons will teach you how to combine these licks to create longer licks and solos. I'll recap everything, then give you three jam tracks at different tempos so you can practice in real time at your own pace.

Published: 02/10/2012 Upgrade
Ben Lindholm
Funk Lick Library A2

In this tutorial I will teach you 6 funky licks that you can practice over the included backing track in A. We will mix major and minor, single notes and chords - so be prepared for anything.

Published: 09/15/2014 Upgrade
Ben Lindholm
Funk Lick Library A1

In this tutorial I will teach you 6 funky licks/riffs that you can practice over a funky backing track in A. They are largely chord-based which demands great muting control from your fretting hand. Make sure you pay attention to the strong swing feel.

Published: 06/29/2014 Upgrade
Ben Lindholm
Funk Lick Library E2

In this tutorial I will teach you 6 more funk licks, this time over a different backing track with swing feel. Make sure you pay special attention to the what the drums and the bass are doing, and try to lock in.

Published: 02/20/2012 Upgrade

Essential Funk & Soul Songs

There’s no better way to learn how to play a new style than from the artists themselves. Learn funk and soul songs like Cissy Strut by The Meters, Brick House by The Commodores, Shining Star by Earth, Wind and Fire and much more!

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
The Capitols image
Cool Jerk The Capitols

Mike will show you the guitar part in this song that's all about the groove, supporting the singer, and getting people on the dance floor! He'll show you the triads, single note riffs, the backbeat and how the guitar is used in a support role in the arrangement.

Published: 12/12/2016 Upgrade
Junior Walker and the All Stars image
Shotgun Junior Walker and the All Stars

This song is all about making people dance, and everything that happens in the band is supporting this. The whole song is based on a one-chord jam, and the part we'll be playing uses a combination of funky 16th note strumming and a lower pentatonic single note lick that locks in with the bass.

Published: 08/07/2014 Upgrade
Earth, Wind, and Fire image
Shining Star Earth, Wind, and Fire

Shining Star was a top 40 hit in the mid 70's, bringing a raw, street funk energy to mainstream radio. We laid down the groove for the song in a backing track, and show you how to play the funky rhythm guitars and shredding guitar solo over the top.

Published: 09/01/2009 Upgrade
Wilson Pickett image
Funky Broadway Wilson Pickett

There are 2 clean electric guitars in this song. Guitar 1 digs into some R&B style licks and riffs throughout the tune, while Guitar 2 holds down the groove with a low E chord strum. This song uses double stops, hammer-ons, palm muting, and some funky R&B strumming.

Published: 08/25/2022 Upgrade
The Commodores image
Brick House The Commodores

Step along the dance floor, learning the moves that guys envy and ladies adore. We'll walk you step by through funk picking and timing, the various chords used in the sections of the song, even how to double the bass line. In short, how to get your groove on!

Published: 02/19/2010 Upgrade
The Isley Brothers image
It's Your Thing The Isley Brothers

In this tutorial we are going to take a look at how to play the late 60's funk classic "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers. We'll to teach you both guitar parts, and we are also going to take a look at how the guitar fits into the whole arrangement by soloing it against each instrument. Remember it's not about how much you play, but how tight your groove is and how you fit into the big picture. Let's groove!

Published: 04/18/2010 Upgrade
Rick James image
Superfreak Rick James

In this tutorial you'll learn the main parts to this classic funk/dance song. There are surprisingly few; it's based on some simple yet effective repeating licks. You'll also learn the proper body glitter to body ratio for stage personae. It's about the pocket so we'll put it all in a groove to top it off.

Published: 05/25/2010 Upgrade
The Jackson 5 image
ABC The Jackson 5

In this set of lessons, Sharon Aguilar will teach "ABC", as made famous by The Jackson 5. Sharon will introduce the song and go over the gear and tones, then break down the details for the intro and verse, the chorus, and the bridge for guitar 1. Next we'll look at the same sections for guitars 2 and 3, and a bridge part for an additional guitar. We'll then do full and single guitar performances, and end with a jam along.

Published: 06/18/2015 Upgrade
The Meters image
Cissy Strut The Meters

In this tutorial Anders Mouridsen will teach you how to play the classic New Orleans funk jam song "Cissy Strut" as made famous by The Meters. You're gonna learn everything you need to know about this song; how to play the melody or the "head", how to play the B section ensemble line, how to "comp" when someone else is soloing and how to take a solo yourself. After this tutorial you'll be able to jam out with the record or go play Cissy Strut live at a jam-session.

Published: 02/07/2011 Upgrade

FAQ

What kind of guitar is used in funk?

Funk guitarists any guitars with a crisp, clean sound. This allows for articulation and short rhythms that fit well with funky music.

What is the meaning of funk guitar?

Funk guitar refers to the groovy, rhythmic playing style that emphasizes the downbeat with a syncopated touch.

What are the elements of funk guitar?

It includes tight, syncopated rhythms, chunky chords, and the use of techniques like slapping and popping.

Who is the best funk guitarist?

Many would argue that Prince or Nile Rodgers hold the title for their iconic and influential playing styles.

Who is the father of funk guitar?

Eddie Hazel from Parliament-Funkadelic is often credited as a pioneering force in funk guitar.

Who is the king of funk?

James Brown is commonly hailed as the king of funk music.

Did Jimi Hendrix play funk?

Yes, Jimi Hendrix incorporated elements of funk into his music, especially in his later works.

Who made funk popular?

James Brown and George Clinton were instrumental in bringing funk to the mainstream.

Why funk music is so good?

Its infectious grooves, upbeat rhythms, and emphasis on dance make it universally appealing.

Need Extra Help with your playing?

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