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Old School Funk Lead Guitar

by Ivan Milenkovic

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  • Hello everybody!

    In this lesson we will cover some basics of funk lead guitar. This may sound a bit strange for those of you who listen to funk, because as you know, there aren't that many great funk solos out there in comparisons with other music styles and genres. This is because electric guitar was mostly part of the rhythm section in the funk band, and had a distinct percussive role that is instantly recognizable. Most of the lead work was done by brass instruments, particularly saxophone, but organ and other keyboard players had they share in lead lines as well.

    You may be familiar with the great song "Play that funky music white boy". The song featured a nice lead guitar solo in the middle, and we are aiming towards similar feel here.

    In this lesson, we are using Em pentatonic and E dorian mode, but there will be the use of passing notes (F#) in one sequence, which will lead us to E phrygiolian mode of the G dominant beebop scale, and also E blues scale (with the use of 2nd passing note - A#).

    Focus on maintaining proper tone, precision with bends, precision with vibrato, and do it very slowly. Try to understand all the rhythmic figures properly before playing, it will mean a lot.

    Have fun! :)

    E minor blues



    E dorian



    E minor pentatonic



    E phrygiolian



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