Funk chords

funk guitarFunk arose as a music style in the 1970s and were originally associated with black music. You probably know how funk music sounds; otherwise, listen to artists such as James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Curtis Mayfield to get a sense of it. These are all examples of funk combined with soul. Funk can also be combined with blues (Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Johnny Lang are two names among many), or with rock (Red Hot Chile Peppers is a known example).

A central part of funk playing is to alternate the chord strumming with strumming on muted strings, which will result in scratch rhythms. Actually, you can in some parts of a song use more muted strokes than not. When it comes to effects and funk, many advocates compression because it gives the snappy sound that often is wanted in this style. Another effect is the wah wah, that can give some of that 70's funk vibes.

Chords (movable)

9

  • 9th funk chord diagram

9 (no5)

  • 9th funk chord diagram

13

  • 13 chord shape no bass note

7#9

  • 7#9 chord shape

Comment

The 9th is are one of the first chords you should learn if you are attempting to play funk on guitar. The 13th is a good second chord. As the V chord, 7#9 is common.

An easy way to start is with progressions such as A13 - D9 or Am7 - Dm7 (standard barre chords can be used). The movable 9th chords are also perfect to slide one step up with as in the following example with a D#9 slide into E9:

Guitar tab funk

Funk chords voicings

9

  • 9th funk chord diagram

13

  • 13th funk chord diagram

13

  • 13 chord shape no bass note

7

  • 7th funk chord diagram

7

  • 7th funk chord diagram

m7

  • m7 funk chord diagram

Comment

The chord diagrams above lacks indication of which tone it is and only presenting the chord shape. Since these chords are movable you can use them for all tones and if you are unsure of fret positions you can use the presented lists below.

These chords are all alternatives of more standard ways to play 9th, 13th, 7th and minor 7th, and deliver a funkier sound to them.

Some of these are voicings which excludes (!) the root note. This is strange for sure, but the easiest way to comprehend this is to look at these chords as fragmented versions of the typical 9th chord, by which B9 are played as X21222. See the list below:

B9: XXX222 (or X21222)
C9: XXX333 (or X32333)
D9: XXX555 (or X54555)
E9: XXX777 (or X76777)
F9: XXX888 (or X87888)
G9: X X X 10 10 10 (or X 10 9 10 10 10)

B13: XXX224 (or X21224)
C13: XXX335 (or X32335)
D13: XXX557 (or X54557)
E13: XXX779 (or X76779)
F13: XXX88 10 (or X 8 7 8 8 10)
G13: X X X 10 10 12 (or X 10 9 10 10 12)

Bm7: XXX232 (or X2X232)
Cm7: XXX343 (or X3X343)
Dm7: XXX565 (or X5X565)
Em7: XXX787 (or X7X787)
Fm7: XXX898 (or X8XX898)
Gm7: X X X 10 11 10 (or X 10 X 10 11 10)

Chord progressions

Examples of progressions suitable for funk guitar:


Bm7 - E9 - D9

Tips

One easy way to get started and get some funky sound from your guitar is just to shift between a 9th and a 13th chord. It is easy, only one finger needs to be moved. You could also slide into the 9th chord from one fret below.

Jam tracks

A fun way to practice is to use jam tracks. The following jam tracks are for funk and involves only drums.

Jam track 1
Jam track 2
Jam track 3



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