View Full Version : Funky chords

05-18-2006, 12:37 AM
Any one know any good funk chord progression? cheers

05-18-2006, 03:38 AM
nils152 wrote:

Any one know any good funk chord progression? cheers

I don't think there are any chords or chord progressions that are inherently funky. Funk has a lot more to do with your rhythmic approach and feel.

I would advise you to listen to a lot of funk music if you want to be able to play it.

05-18-2006, 07:26 AM
what about a dom7#9 16th note vamp...jimi hendrix voicing of course.

05-18-2006, 09:08 AM
Is there another voicing ? :p

It all depends on what you want to play. If you just want to jam with friends over funky music, vamps are the way, usually over m7, 7 or 7#9 chords. If you want to play actual songs, you can listen to vocal artists such as James Brown, George Clinton or Betty Davis and figure out the chord progressions. That being said a lot of those songs are made of successive vamps.

For funky riffs you can also check out The Meters, they are primarily an instrumental band and the guitar was an important part of their sound. A lot of funk music is about bass, drums, and keyboards, the guitar being often "reduced" (don't like that word) to a more percussive role, to complement the groove.

05-18-2006, 09:29 AM
+1 for the Meters. I have a "Best of the Meters" and I do think they went downhill a bit towards the end but the early Cissy Strut period is great.

Am I right, no-one mentioned Dom9 chords yet?! Very much the staple of Jimmy Nolen (James Brown).

Also, for sounds, don't forget Funkadelic, and for Funk/Rock RHCP's Blood Sugar Sex Magic period is sure funky.

05-18-2006, 10:06 AM
I only know the Meters' first three albums, so it's all great to me ^^

Doh ! for the dom9th ! Of course they are used a whole lot !!

05-18-2006, 11:20 AM
I'd also mention Dom7/9/13 half-tone approach slides here and there.

05-18-2006, 12:24 PM
i didnt explain my self very well, im really into that kinda percussive chordal kinda stuff of hendrix and the chili peppers, any songs you can suggest?

05-18-2006, 02:13 PM
Any one know any good funk chord progression? cheers

Something I do when I get bored with the same old funk chords is to break them up. For example, a simple E9 chord at the 7th fret is a great funk chord.

The notes are E G# D F# B

Instead of using the entire chord, if you move your pick around it changes the top voice and creates the effect that you are changing chords, in essence.

So I would chunk along and maybe only play E G# and D for a few bars, then, without changing chords, just play D F# A,,, Or maybe bounce up and back.

LIke just play E and G#, then G# D

If you move it around it really enhanses the whole concept of funk rhythm, rather than just playing the entire chord.

05-18-2006, 02:48 PM
Yep, good point. Using especially the high 2 or 3 strings to play diads and triads is very common and you don't need the root in there - thats what the bass player is for!

05-18-2006, 03:29 PM
13sus all the way! :D It is a funky chord and believe me I did not watch that movie.


05-19-2006, 10:05 AM
......... 6's, 7's ,(+,-, 9) m7's, 9's ,m9's, 11's (sus 4's ) with Rhytmic heave-ho as Russ said and you've got it. Main thing is to use half bars or easy to finger inversions and you can add hammers and pulls, slides etc to make it interesting. :cool:

05-19-2006, 10:38 AM
13sus all the way! :D It is a funky chord and believe me I did not watch that movie.


Can you spell out the exact notes that you use for the 13th suspended chord? Thanx.

05-19-2006, 10:58 AM
...R ,4,b7,9,13.

05-19-2006, 11:03 AM
I think Jorge meant (1), 4, 7, 13.

05-19-2006, 11:05 AM
Spino, we answered simultaneously ;)

05-19-2006, 11:16 AM
Yeah Man! but what about the b7 ?

05-19-2006, 11:53 AM
Yeah Man! but what about the b7 ?

Sure. I meant that. Not M7.

05-27-2006, 12:56 PM
Here is a link to a little funk improv thing I threw together for laughs. It's just this drum beat with two chords and I enhansed the guitar with some effect just for fun. Check it out..


widdly widdly
06-13-2006, 04:59 AM
You dont even need chords for a lot of funk stuff. Just mute all the strings and follow the hi-hat pattern. :p

Apart for 9th chords and the hendrix chord, dom13ths sound good and m7 sounds good too. Also changing the voicing you are using to create accents sounds cool too. For example you might be playing a E7#9 at the seventh fret then switch to a E13 at the twelve fret for some of the accented beats.

You can get a lot of mileage out a simple two chord vamps. Something like Am-Bm or D7-E7.

I know this is ibreathe but don't forget your wah pedal.
Avandia Heart Attack (http://classactionsettlements.org/)

06-13-2006, 05:04 PM
I also like to use a lot of simple sus voicings, such as R, 2, 5 or R, 4, 5. Something you can grab real easy and concentrate on rhythm. Three note 4th voicings work well for this as well. May not be a lot of notes, but it allows you to create a lot of movement, which ends up being just as many notes.

06-13-2006, 09:03 PM
The funkiest chord progression lives in the nastiest of street hookers underwear. Its the tones their legs make when they walk.

06-14-2006, 06:01 PM
Take your favorite Dim7 Form and RAISE any tone 1/2 step.
Since Dim7 = (rootless) Dom7b9
You get (rootless) 9 because the note you raised is now the 9.
Very cool for funk stuff especially with static dominant chords.

06-17-2006, 07:25 AM
I've had the pleasure of playing in 2 funk/R&B cover bands. Most of the tunes follow pretty much the guidelines people are saying here:

For chord voicings I'm putting fret number from 6th thru 1st strings.

1. 9th chord voicing, Example E9: x 7 6 7 7 7
2. leave notes out, Example E9: x x 6 7 7 7
3. slide around, Example: approach E9 from 1/2 step below, or from whole step above, or chromatically F#9 F9 E9 (like "play that funky music" by Wild Cherry).
4. minor triads; actually for some songs the guitar plays major triads but the bassist is playing roots that cast those voicings as minor. At least that's the way Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" comes out when I play it
5. smaller voicings (ie fewer notes) are generally better
6. usually voiced top 4 strings of guitar, but if there isnt a keyboard you might voice them lower to make a fuller sound
7. this dominant 7 seems popular: example D7 x x 10 12 11 12
8. sus variation of above chord, ex: x x 10 12 11 13

Above all get your rhythm tight. Here are some really great examples of funk guitar in no particular order:
1. Kiss by Prince (doesn't come in till later in song)
2. Love Rollercoaster by Ohio Players - intro kills
3. Sex Machine by James Brown - less _is_ more
4. Cut the Cake by Average White Band - busy guitar part w/ lots of chord fragments and slides
5. Good Times by Chic - the muted parts are just as important as the chord

06-19-2006, 03:11 PM
I think funk is more about rhythm than chords. Any chord can be funky.

06-21-2006, 03:34 AM
Take your favorite Dim7 Form and RAISE any tone 1/2 step.
Since Dim7 = (rootless) Dom7b9
You get (rootless) 9 because the note you raised is now the 9.
Very cool for funk stuff especially with static dominant chords.

This is VEEEEERRRRY good advice.

06-21-2006, 01:49 PM
Thank you!

06-22-2006, 01:29 AM
Take your favorite Dim7 Form and RAISE any tone 1/2 step.
Since Dim7 = (rootless) Dom7b9
You get (rootless) 9 because the note you raised is now the 9.
Very cool for funk stuff especially with static dominant chords.

That is cool. Same sort of thinking as Pat Martino. Unfortunately I wasn't bright enough to think like that on the fly.

Know the dom7 grips, in all inversions. This helps also when it comes time to arpeggiate or solo over dom7 chords too. For any voicing raise the root up 2 frets (ie: a major 2nd).

A7: x x 5 6 5 5
A9: x x 5 6 5 7

same for minor chords:
Amin7: x x 5 5 5 5
Amin9: x x 5 5 5 7

A good place to start trying this is w/ triads (there are only 3 inversions instead of 4). Plus you can experiment w/ subing 6 for 5 or 4 for 3. Once you know where each chord tone is in a grip it becomes easy to tweak voicings on the fly. I use the triad shapes in each chord as my crutch, and why not, its the core of the chord.

For me the approach I described above (how to add extensions to a basic chord) is completely separate in my brain from chord substitutions (like iii-7 for IMaj7 or tritone substituion). When I play I do one or the other, not both---I can't think that much.

11-08-2006, 11:44 PM
excellent post, gentlemen. I'm a keyboardist, but the concepts are really relevant. you can never be too funky. In fact, I think I'll skip a shower tonight.