top of page

Funk Strumming In Context - Elevate Your Pop Song Playing

Updated: Apr 10

In the realm of guitar playing, mastering various strumming techniques can significantly enhance your musical expression, captivate your audience and honestly, just have a lot of fun.


One such technique that can breathe life into your playing is funk strumming,

 

This article will take the previously taught concepts from the previous funk strumming article and apply them to real world settings.

 

 

The topics covered in this article:

 

 

 

Understanding Funk Strumming

 

Funk strumming is renowned for its emphasis on rhythmic complexity and groove. 


Unlike straightforward strumming patterns commonly found in pop music, funk strumming utilizes syncopated 16th note rhythms, incorporating unexpected accents and rhythmic variations to keep listeners engaged.


It also employs a rhythmic interplay between muted strokes and accented hits.

 

Incorporating Funk Strumming into Pop Songs

 

To illustrate the power of funk strumming, let's consider the great “Nile Rogers’ and his work with Chic & Sister Sledge which exemplifies the fusion of funk and pop, with infectious rhythms and dynamic strumming patterns.

 

Here’s a Nile Rogers inspired pattern - We’ll use a chord progression of IV / V / VI / I in A Major - I’ll use only static A shape chords

 

Example 1

Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 1 | Grokit Guitar
Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 1 | Grokit Guitar

Central to the groove is the use of groups of 3 to create interest in the accents, lending it a distinctively funky feel.

 

 

Now the same progression with harmonic extensions (7th & 9th) and moving between shapes



Funk Strumming In Context - Elevate Your Pop Song Playing - Join Beta Banner 1 | Grokit Guitar

 

Practical Application: Funkifying Your Pop Songs


Example 2

Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 2 | Grokit Guitar
Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 2 | Grokit Guitar

 

To incorporate funk strumming into your pop song playing, follow these steps:

 

Master Basic Funk Chords:


Start by familiarizing yourself with fundamental funk chords such as dominant 7th and 9th chords.


These chords provide the harmonic foundation for funk strumming and lend themselves well to syncopated rhythms.

 

In pop music, you could only use these chords on the V chord.


So in G major it would be D7 / D9 etc

 

This gives a nod to ‘funk’ in a pop context

 

 

Subscribe Now to Grokit Guitar Blog


Join the Grokit Guitar community for exclusive guitar content delivered straight to your inbox! Subscribe now to stay in tune with the latest tips, tutorials, guitar lessons, and insights from seasoned guitarists. 


 

Explore Ghost Notes / Muted Strokes:


Example 3

Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 3 | Grokit Guitar
Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 3 | Grokit Guitar


Experiment with incorporating ghost notes (lightly muted or percussive strokes) into your strumming patterns.


These subtle nuances add texture and groove to your playing.

 

Example 4

Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 4 | Grokit Guitar
Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 4 | Grokit Guitar

 

I believe you must physically engage with the music, moving your head / tapping your foot whatever it takes, just move!


This way even if you make a mistake / miss your mark, it’ll still be in time.


Funk Strumming In Context - Elevate Your Pop Song Playing - Join Beta Banner 2 | Grokit Guitar

 

Embrace Variations and Dynamics:


Don't be afraid to experiment with variations in dynamics and articulation. Incorporate dynamic contrast by alternating between soft, subdued passages and bold, energetic accents.

 

Example 5 

Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 5 | Grokit Guitar
Funk Strumming In Context - Picture 5 | Grokit Guitar

 

This depends on context, the more you’re physically engaged with the music, the easier this is, the more informed your choices are, as they’re coming from your heart (and hips) not your head.


Groove is in the body not the mind.


Maybe try standing up and dancing to the beat a little.

 

Groove Is Movement!

 

Study Funky Grooves and Rhythms


Take inspiration from classic funk tracks and study the rhythmic nuances employed by legendary funk guitarists.


Analyze their strumming patterns and incorporate elements that resonate with your own musical style.

 

All the greats learn by transcribing & learning the masters who came before them.

 

 

By embracing funk strumming techniques, you can elevate your pop song playing to new heights, infusing your music with infectious groove and undeniable charisma.


With practice and dedication, you'll unlock the power of funk strumming and unleash your creativity on the guitar.


So, grab your guitar, embrace the funk, and get ready to take your right hand on a rhythmic journey! I hope this was useful and ill see you in the next article!

292 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Guitar Blog Post - Picture 1 | Grokit Guitar

Learn guitar and music theory with the Grokit Guitar app

bottom of page