Funky Minor Chords
In this lesson, we're checking out some funky minor chords and common variations - they're also very common in Funk. We're just looking at some grips with the Root on the String 5 - make sure you memorize where the root is (the red dot) so you can move the shapes up and down the neck.
Chord Boxes and more help:
Remember all the chords are substitutes for Minor chords - there are some theory rules about what you might use when but the best and easiest way is to use your ear and if it sounds good it is good! :)
For those that know you're theory, you might be wondering why we can use E7sus4 and E11 as substitutions for a minor when they are dominant chords - and the reason is that neither have the major 3rd so these particular grips are neither major or minor but become dominant by naming conventions!
1. Clean Chords
Most important is that you can get your chords clean and that every note is ringing out clearly. Spend some time doing that old exercise you probably used as a beginner - strum, pick up out the notes one at a time, then strum again.
2. Lift For Scratch
Next you want to make sure that you can lift the chord and get a good 'scratch' while keeping the fingers in position. So strum the chord, then relax it and make sure that all the notes are muted when you strum again. Then reapply the pressure and check you have a good clear chord again. Then lift and check the mutes. Repeat. Repeat. Big deal!
3. Lift For Mute
Also important is that you notice that relaxing the chord grip stops the notes of the chord which is a really important element in groove creation. So play the chord and then relax your grip and make sure all the notes stop ringing out. Repeat. Lots ;)
4. Have Fun
What about trying some songs that use these chords? Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers or Miss You by The Rolling Stones? Or how about messing around with these substitutions... Another Brick In The Wall?
Real World Examples
Loads of songs use Minor and Minor 7 chords as the main feature of the grooves. There must be thousands of examples but some that spring to mind are:
Long Train Running - The Doobie Brothers
Miss You - The Rolling Stones
Sugar - Maroon 5
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 less known albums too that I really dig.
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters (1973)
One off the all-time funk classics doesn't have any guitar at all - Herbie is one of the finest jazz keyboard players of all time and so he uses Clavinet which sounds very much like a guitar doing muted lines. Even so, this album is essential listening and has incredible grooves and it's sure worth stealing some of Herbie's lines if you get your transcribing ears on! It got a lot of jazz in it which makes it pretty edgy. Awesome!