Funk/Soul Guitar Resources
February 25, 2012 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find resources for learning soul/funk guitar?

I'm looking for resources on how to play funk/soul guitar in the style of Jimmy Nolen, Catfish Collins, Steve Cropper, Binky Griptite, Curtis Mayfield, Charlie Pitts, Leo Nocentelli, etc. (I realize that is a broad range of playing styles). It's difficult to find lessons/tabs on soul/funk guitar compared to rock music and it's made more difficult by the fact that most performance videos of these styles are generally focused on the dynamic frontman i.e. JB, so if anyone has stumbled across some videos that focus on the guitarist would be really useful. For anyone else that has been looking for the same thing, this guy's youtube channel is amazing:
posted by bigspoon to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ross Bolton has some material available.

Hal Leonard Soul Guitar play-along series.

There are some lessions which might help.

Really, just google "learn funk guitar" or "learn soul guitar" and you'll get plenty of suggestions.
posted by blob at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2012

Response by poster: Hey if anyone is still curious I found some other good stuff. I highly recommend this book Funkmasters which breaks down all of the rhythm parts (Guitar, Bass and drums) of James Brown's hits as well as providing a history of his ever changing band. It's a great read even without the notation. The Hal Leonard Soul Guitar Bible is also solid (they also have a book that is only Steve Cropper songs). This guy's youtube channel has some great D'Angelo breakdowns.
posted by bigspoon at 1:33 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the single best thing you can do to learn this style of playing is to learn triads and double stops, most soul and funk chords are played mainly on the four high strings D G B E . Triads, for anyone who may not know, are 3 note chords, so you would learn the chord in its root position and its 2 inversions.

I’d start on the 3 high strings and learn the chords up the neck. It’s easy because the chords are movable just like barre chords, so it’s only three positions to learn. Then do the same moving over one string, learning triad roots and inversions on the D G B strings. Again just three movable positions. The added bonus to doing this is you’ll learn the notes on the neck, comes in handy.

Then I’d learn how to do double stops. These are two note partial chords that you slide into and up the neck while playing. Listen to the intro on Doby Gray’s Drift Away, it’s chock full of that double stop playing, and I’m guessing that’s just the kind of thing you want to learn how to do.

I don’t know any materials offhand, but I would guess it would be much easier to find material on playing like Keith Richards. Although he doesn’t exactly sound like Cornell Dupree say, Keith’s playing is loaded with all kinds of cool partial chords, and he makes good use of double stops. When asked why he liked that style, he famously replied “Because it only takes two fingers and one asshole” So if you learned parts of Keith’s style, you’d pick up lots of knowledge on playing soul stylings.

There’s a great story about a young guitar player who was auditioning for James Brown’s band. While he was standing outside waiting to audition, he was talking to one of the JB’s, who asked him if he knew how to play a ninth chord. The kid said, “Of course I can play a ninth, what are you talking about. “ And the JB said “Yeah, but can you play it for three hours?”. Guitar player joke.
posted by PaulBGoode at 6:17 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

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