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Michael Johnson >> 60s Funk & Soul >>


Michael: This interactive lesson will cover funk style riffs in the style of "The Meters,"  they influenced bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Grateful Dead and many hip hop artists, Here's a sample of some of the guitar licks you'll learn:



Michael: notice how the bass and guitar play unison riffs and then the guitar fills some of the empty spots

darntootin: yeah, I like it

joe: groovy

Michael: I had a blast doing this file, most of the riffs are based on the A Minor Pentatonic scale: A, C, D, E, G

A Minor Pentatonic Scale




darntootin: I figure there would be some chromatic walking stuff

Michael: there is, let's start with our first guitar lick and jam track you can practice







Michael: the lick starts on the 4th string, you play a descending lick down the scale and later play a chromatic run, it's the same A minor pentatonic pattern earlier. This is a good example of playing a standard lick and adding the chromatic the 4, 5, 6, 7 on the 5th string, you also play the lower note on the 6th string, fret 3, this note is a low G which is within the A minor pentatonic scale. Let's use the same lick but add a different variation:







Michael: you play the same basic riff but change the last part of the phrase, you hold the little finger down on the 7th fret 4th string. Here's the image of your hand position:



darntootin: I like that, you used that in the Jeff Beck lesson

Michael: oh yeah, here's the next variation







Michael: you add the E min an D mjn intervals on the little string

Stuart: so simple but effective!

Michael: here's a picture of those intervals



Michael: it's fun stuff all you do is add a few notes to the end

Stuart: How is the left hand picking action or does it matter?

Michael: you follow pretty much the notes you play in the scale then play the bottom 2 strings for the last intervals

Stuart: right. but what about downstrokes vs. upstrokes?

Michael: here's the next variation







Stuart: or are they all down?

Michael: I use down strokes on the chords

Chris: number 3...when does that riff fit in teach

Michael: you can play either way

Michael: you can hear it in the jam track, the notes are at the end of the phrase, the same as no 4. Here's the image of the chords Em6:



Michael: see how you can build on one riff

Stuart: Heh it's real fun when you play the previous licks against that jam track (4).

Michael: that's the idea Stu, now let's get really funky, you can break up the first lick and add dominate 9 chords in between the lick

Michael: this might get a little tricky for beginning players







Michael: you can build on what you know and try all kinds of variations. Here's how to play the A9 chords:



Michael: the first chord you play the Ab 9 (11th fret) then slide into the A 9 (12th fret), the second chord you start on the 12th, then 11th, then back to the 12th, let's add a riff variation, different from the first lick

Michael: now you can use all the variations then try different type licks







Skedman: Stevie Wonderish

Michael: do you see where the Chili Peppers' got some of their riffs? Here's a jam track with the first 6 licks mixed up:



Michael: I can hear Stevie Wonder also in these licks, see how it all fits in. You can keep building on these licks, you can also jam on a solo in A Minor Pentatonic over the jam track. The Meters are from New Orleans, Art Neville of the Neville Brothers actually started this band, I just tried to capture the spirit of the band with these licks

Stuart: There's a fun band to see in concert (neville brothers)!

Michael: let's try some more

Michael: this lick is pretty cool also







darntootin: the hendrix chord works in there

Michael: hum, I haven't tried that, the Hendrix chord is actually called the 7#9 chord

wg99nyr99: hendrix chord?

Michael: I'll send it to you

Fry: it's an unusual chord that Hendrix made famous (Purple Haze)

Michael: yep, but I sent you the chord in A, since these licks are in that key

darntootin: so is the E tho..both work well

Michael: here's a picture of the chord



Michael: here's our next lick

wg99nyr99: these would make great bass riffs

Michael: most are







Michael: do you all notice the key change in the last lick?

Tonester: E

Michael: it's actually in E min Pentatonic scale, you can do key changes when playing these type of licks. Here's the jam track with all the licks mixed up. listen and try to pick out the key change there

darntootin: key change? how so?



Fry: I don't understand, where is the key change in Lick 8?

Michael: we used the E Minor Pentatonic scale pattern for the last lick



Michael: listening to the last jam track will help to hear the key change within the context of all the licks

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