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Rhythm Rules: Atypical Funk

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Rhythm Rules: Atypical Funk

What about the 7#9 “Jimi” chord? Well, we can play this chord, or notes from it, all over the fretboard and we don’t need to confine ourselves to the typical position—especially if there’s a bass player hitting the root note. Fig. 6 shows the common position E7#9, followed by nine different variations. There are others too, and some of these can be played on other strings in other positions, while still retaining the same note structure.

Fig. 7 and Fig. 8 take a few of these E7#9 variants and employ them in some funk riffs. Note the extra scratched and muted strings, and listen for the slides into chords. The aim is to get comfortable with all of them, and get familiar with the particular flavor of each voicing (clustery or open or dense?) and be able to call them up when you think they’d work well.

Stacked-fourth chord voicings have a very open sound, since the lack of a 3 provides a “modern” sound with an ambiguous key center. Fig. 9 takes a stacked fourth voicing up the scale, again in E Dorian with the low E ringing to provide context.

An even more open sound can be had with a 7sus4 voicing. Again, we start by working through the voicings going up the scale, as shown in Fig. 10. Chord-scales are a great way to get familiar with different voicings and get your hands used to the chord shapes moving around within a key. Try chord scales both ascending and descending, in addition to moving in thirds, fourths, or any other pattern you can think of.

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