March 2023 Lessons
From the 12-bar blues to a shuffle pattern to a IIm7–V7–I progression, many musical motifs get recycled and repurposed. It's accepted that these ideas are simply out there in the air for songwriters and composers to use, gratis, as musical building blocks from which to create new work. Right?
The 1960s saw the rise of many legendary guitarists bringing us revolutionary new styles and techniques that we still use and build upon to this day. Arguably, one of the less heralded is Jimmy Nolen whose recordings with James Brown gave birth to the funky 16th-note, scratchy staccato-style playing that has become such an iconic building block of popular music to this day. To cover all the great players who have added their own unique flavor, from Freddie Stone to Nile Rodgers up to Cory Wong, would fill a whole book. But to think of funk guitar playing as purely a gimmick would be a huge mistake as these techniques can be seen across so many styles of music. Ultimately, if you want to be hired as a guitar player, chances are you will need to funk it up at some point. Here are the building blocks to start grooving with the best of them.