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January 20, 2009

A Finger Of Funk... just enough to DRIVE ME ROUND THE BEND!!!!!

I've never really delved into funk before, and as I mentioned before, I only have a few short hours to get into the Rockschool Grade 5 tune "All Funked Up". In the grand scheme of things I can see that it's not a difficult piece, but being a funking novice I have to get the basics of the stylee down first, before moving on to the actual song.

It seems like the key thing is to just keep that 16th note strumming motion going no matter what. Keep on keeping on. That and to minimise the movement of the fretting hand, keeping similar chord shapes where possible and training the fingers to act independently so that the muting and chord changes are clean.

My biggest issue with the piece is actually the fingering of the chords. I've watched demos on YouTube, but everyone does it differently and none of the approaches seem ideal.

There are a few phrases which are tabbed out something like:

e ----10---9---7-----
B -------------------
G ----11---9---7-----
D -------------------
A -------------------
E -------------------

Obviously there are various ways of playing that, but the trick is to mute out the non-ringing strings as you strum, which is the musical equivalent of catching a split in bowling. Lots of people seem to use a two-fingered approach, switching the index and middle digits to go from the 10-11 to the 9-9. Some keep the same fingering but twisting to an awkward angle. In each case the middle string is dampened by one of the fretting fingers and control over strumming the 3 highest strings has to be very tight.

After about an hour of trying to copy what other people were doing and failing miserably I think I hit the jackpot. I believe that I need to damp out the strings with my index finger then use my middle finger on the high E and my ring finger on the G-string for the 10-11 chords. You can then maintain that chord shape but drop the pinkie down for the 9-9 and so on. It works but it'll take practice.

On the technique side the biggest challenge for me is muting enough without actually fretting. I have a feeling that might come with some clever angling of my index finger combines with the correct pressure.

1 comment:

Furtheron said...

Hmm - generally I haven't a funking clue as this ain't my genre of choice - apart from RHCP...

If you've got something that works go with that but I think I'd...

first finger on the g string with 3rd on the e string, both on same fret I'd then hammer on the one fret above bit with the 2nd finger.

With angling etc. I'd be muting the D with the first finger and the B with the third - i.e. sort of deliberately place your fingers where you wouldn't normally. That way you can strum across 3/4 strings...

As Extreme said though - "If you don't like what you see here get the funk out" :-)