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Funk Strumming Mechanics & Technique

The Justinguitar.com Essential Funk Guitar Lessons

Using the correct mechanics when you play funk will help you in many ways. If you want to play fast then you must have a relaxed arm and being loose will also help you lock into a groove even at slow tempos.

The main thing to note here is the way the forearm rotates rather than moving up and down. We're also going to look at how you can manage the pick slipping around and also string selection!

Video Lesson

Additional Help

Will add any FAQ answers here if or when I get some!

To Practice...

1. Mechanics
First and most important element I'd love for you to take from this lesson is the mechanics involved in the technique of funk strumming. The 'wet hand' relaxed rotational movement. Keeping your hand and arm relaxed is a big deal and you'll really notice it 'feels easy' when you get it right!

2. Pick Manipulation
The exercise I show in the video is a bit silly but trying it out will really help you get your pick back in the right place if you feel it slipping while you are playing - which is very common and I imagine many people will find trying this out very helpful!

3. String Selection
As you practice this more you will find that can control the amount of strings played, in some circumstances you won't be able to do all the required muting with the fretting hand and so developing the ability to select the strings played will come in handy! It can really make a big difference to the grooves to sometimes have less notes! Don't be fussing about it too much at this stage but have a play around and see how it feels so you'll know how to use it when you need it in a groove!

4. Metronome Practice
Lastly I'd recommend that you work on this new technique playing muted 16th note strumming and work on locking in with a metronome. Try to make it feel good with the metronome can be a challenge but really worth the effort.

Additional Resources

Recommended Album
You ain't never going to get the Funk if you're not listening to the greats! So with each lesson I'm going to recommend a funk album for you to sink your ears into and help you get in the groove - some of the all time classics and maybe some slightly lesson know albums too that I really dig.

Superfly

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly (1972)

Superfly is a bone fide classic. Incredible musicians, the deepest grooves and incredible guitar playing. There's awesome wah-wah and scratches and backbeat and doubling of the bass and... it's a Funk Masterclass right there. And it was powerful too - when music meant more than money and fame, it was about social movement!

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Lesson ID: FU-502