Motown With The Funk Brothers

by Guido Bungenstock

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  • Hi guys!

    This lesson is about the Funk Brothers style.
    The Funk Brothers was the nickname of Detroit-based session musicians who performed the backing to most Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. They recorded hundreds of great hits, including "My girl", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Baby Love", "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and much more. These great musicians recorded hits for Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Wonder etc just to name a few...

    They formed a specific sound that until now is really popular in today's soul music, for example Joss Stone, Chaka Khan and many more.

    In my tune I chose a common Blues progression with some extra re-harmonized chords typical for this kind of music. I divided the tune in three parts. The first two parts focus on tight 16th rhythm Funk/soul guitar and the third part has a blues inspired solo in the style of Robben Ford. In general motown music didn't have so much guitar solos at all but I thought a Robben Ford Style Solo would be perfect to demonstrate a blues solo over this chord progression.

    As we all know a typical Blues progression in G would look like this:
    | G7 | G7 or C7 |G7 | % |
    | C7 | % | G7 | % |
    | D7 | C7 | G7 C7 | G7 D7|

    Here is my progression and the individual sections:

    A Part 0:00-0:30
    | G7 C/G G7 | % |% | % |
    | C7 Am C79 Am C79| C7 Am C79 | G7 C/G G7 | Bm7 E79 |
    | A7 | C/D | G7/13 E7/#9 | A7/13 D7/#9|

    B Part 0:31-0:57
    | G7 Am G | % |% | % |
    | C7 Am C79 Am C79| % | G7 Am G | Bm7 E79 (A7)|
    | A7 | C/D | G7/13 E7/#9 | A7/13 D7/#9/#5 |

    C Part 0:58-1:26
    | G7 | % |% | % |
    | C79| % | G7 | Bm7 E7/#9 |
    | A7/13 | C/D | G7/13 E7/#9 | A7/13 D7/#9 G|

    Final words

    I tried to transcribe as close as possible. Specially in the Guitar Pro 5 you'll find all this little extras!

    Cheers - Guido

    Technical specifications
    Guitar: Music Man Luke II
    Strings: D'Addario NYXL 009
    Recording Amp: Kemper Amp(Bogner Extacy Ch 1 & 2 Profile)

    Amp (Only for Monitor): Peavey JSX Top with Marshall 2x12" V30

    Audio Interface: Focusrite Saffire PRO 24
    Recording SW: Logic 9, several plugins

    Standard tuning: E, A, D, G, B, E

    Tempo: 108 BPM











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