FUNK ESSENTIALS LEVEL 1
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Unit 3 | Minor 7th Mastery

For our final unit, we will be bringing together every single element that we have learnt so far, plus a whole lot more to piece together the final track! This track is a more modern, Bruno Mars style track that uses a range of funk techniques. We massively upgrade the bubble picking that you have been learning, as well as add a range of new chords. We focus on inversions to help create a very clean, crisp & mega-funky tone! Check out the first video to get started and click here to check out the Materials Section below to access backing tracks and tab!

Lesson 16: The Intro

We kick off by tackling the intro to the track. This section is really a turnaround in disguise! Of course, it's not the classic blues turnaround, nor is it the James Brown-style 5 chord turnaround... But, the fundamental role of the part is the same as any other turnaround. It stops the main flow of the music, finishing on a chord that creates a pull back to the start of the track! Let's check out those chords:

There is a very cool bit of theory in this intro part, which is well worth talking through! As you can see from the tab below, there is one bar that is 2/4 instead of 4/4. This simply means that we play "two 4th notes" in the bar, before moving to the start of the next bar.



This actually came about by accident when writing the track, as we wanted to have a count of 4 after the final C major chord, which meant that we had to have a shorter bar beforehand when it came to writing the music! Pretty cool, eh?!

Lesson 17: The Verse

In the verse section, we are essentially running through the following chord shapes, except we'll be targeting the top 3 strings.





Let's take a look at how we actually play these chords, and the shapes they are based on. The chords are below, and the dots highlighted in green are the actual notes we are playing!



As for the rhythm pattern, we will be using the following strumming pattern:



It's not the most complicated pattern we have done, but you do have a few ghost notes in there (as you can see from the crosses). Follow Dan in the video to strum along with the pattern nice and slowly, moving the chords at the same time. Remember to really target those top 3 strings as you strum, and don't forget to slide into that first chord!

Lesson 18: The Chorus

For the chorus, we are deliberately moving from a very sparse, high-end sound, to the more full pop-funk sounding groove. In terms of chords, here is the chart and chord diagrams for the chorus:









Lesson 19: The Lead Line

Now for some epic bubble picking! We're going to be using our G minor pentatonic as a base for a very cool bubble picking groove. Let's take a look at the tab:





First up then, let's make sure that we know the scale boxes we are working with. We also add in a cool chromatic note or two to help add a bit more flavour to the part. The basic shapes used are Box 1 and Box 5 of the G minor pentatonic.







keep that pick moving...

The most important thing you need to remember when working through a bubble picking part is that your picking hand needs to constantly move in 16th notes, just like the usual 16th note strumming patterns. The only difference is that you don't move your full arm, just the wrist... And you need to keep that plectrum close to the string. Just keep it bubbling!



Lesson 20: The Whole Thing

Finally, let's piece the whole thing together! Here is the full chord chart:





and there we have it! Your task is now to gradually piece together the entire track, which is no small feat! Be sure to add this track to your daily practice routine, until you can play the whole thing along with the full backing track. When you can do that, and there is no rush at all (honestly, go at your own pace and enjoy the process!), you'll be ready for Funk Essentials Level 2.

Materials: Tab & Backing Tracks

Below are the materials for this group of lessons. You'll find the tab and the backing tracks here so you can practice at a comfortable tempo!

The Tab



Backing Tracks


All done?

Congratulations

You've now completed Guitar Skills: Funk Essentials Level 1 and taken a huge step forwards in your guitar playing journey.

Feel free to bask in glory for a while, or go ahead and try another course if you're hungry for more.