FUNK ESSENTIALS LEVEL 1
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Unit 2 | Going Down Town

In this unit we'll be turning our attention to the minor 7th CAGED chords, to ensure we learn these fantastic chord shapes across the neck. Exactly as we established in our "Unlocking CAGED" series, we will be taking all 5 caged positions of the m7th chord, and attributing a pentatonic shape to them, allowing us to insert some very cool "bubble picking" into the mix! By the end of this unit, you'll be able to effortlessly switch between rhythmical lead lines and m7th chords, anywhere on the neck! 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 11: Em Shape

In our first lesson in Unit 3, we'll be focusing on the Em CAGED shape. The great news is that if you know your minor CAGED chords and the pentatonics that work with them, the only thing that will be new here is adding the b7th to the minor chords. The actual pentatonic shape that aligns with that basic minor chord stays exactly the same when dealing with minor 7th chords! Great news, eh?!

So, here is the first chord shape and pentatonic to work with. It's Pentatonic Box 1 and Am7 chord (We'll do the whole thing in the key of A minor for now).







bubble picking...

This mini pentatonic lead part is better known as bubble picking! It's the concept of making a lead part more of a rhythm and groove part, which means that we need to use ghost notes and 16th note strumming theory within our lead. This is a great start to bubble picking, as it only requires one ghost note. To help you out, here is a strumming pattern for each bar, and the "mini strums" are the bubble picking section (please watch the video for a real in depth understanding of this technique!).



Lesson 12: Dm Shape

Next up we're turning our attention to the D minor shape, which once again is based on the minor triad with the additional b7th note. The great news from here on in is that the groove and the basic bubble picked rhythm is exactly the same, all we have to do is insert the correct shape! So, we will need our Dm shape combined with box 2 of the pentatonic. They look as shown here:





and the tab...

Here is how the shapes fit into the tab! Note how the rhythm and bubble picking is the same, we are simply using a different shape. Be sure to visualise that shape as you play.



Lesson 13: Cm Shape

Next up we're turning our attention to the C minor shape, which once again is based on the minor triad with the additional b7th note. The groove and the basic bubble picked rhythm is exactly the same, all we have to do is insert the correct shape! So, we will need our Cm shape combined with box 3 of the pentatonic. They look as shown here:







Here is how the shapes fit into the tab! Note how the rhythm and bubble picking is the same, we are simply using a different shape. Be sure to visualise that shape as you play.



Lesson 14: Am Shape

Next up we're turning our attention to the A minor shape, which once again is based on the minor triad with the additional b7th note. The groove and the basic bubble picked rhythm is exactly the same, all we have to do is insert the correct shape! So, we will need our Am shape combined with box 4 of the pentatonic. They look as shown here:





Here is how the shapes fit into the tab! Note how the rhythm and bubble picking is the same, we are simply using a different shape. Be sure to visualise that shape as you play.



Lesson 15: Gm Shape

Next up we're turning our attention to the G minor shape, which once again is based on the minor triad with the additional b7th note. The groove and the basic bubble picked rhythm is exactly the same, all we have to do is insert the correct shape! So, we will need our Gm shape combined with box 5 of the pentatonic. They look as shown here:





Here is how the shapes fit into the tab! Note how the rhythm and bubble picking is the same, we are simply using a different shape. Be sure to visualise that shape as you play.





extending the exercise.

Once you have all 5 of these exercises separately, you can start putting them all together! Take the backing track and play around with the positions you are using. For example, you might jump between the E shape, followed by the A shape, then over to the C shape etc... Each time you are applying the correct pentatonic shape to the chord whilst you jam along to the track! It's a fantastic exercise and one that will hugely improve your knowledge of the fretboard.



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


Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Unit 4 | Disco Funky Town

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.