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blackholesun  
4 Apr 2007 08:30 | Quote
Joined: 04 Jan 2007
United Kingdom
Licks: 1
Karma: 11
Moderator
hey i saw on your profile page that you can't get the style of grunge or funk very well, I duno if you've improved since you wrote it, but i thought i'd just explain it to you incase you, or anyone else, didnt know. I'll start with Grunge.

The best place to start learning how to play grunge i think is by listening to and playing songs by nirvana. im not a massive nirvana fan myself, but their songs are good examples of grunge and are really easy to play.

An important thing to include in a grunge-style song is chromatic harmony, rather than diatonic harmony. Instead of using chords built from major or minor scales, start with a chord, say Em (most grunge songs are in a minor key), and write a progression, without caring too much about choosing chords from Em. A good example of this is the verse progression of "In Bloom" by Nirvana. Using chords from outside a scale can sound weird and wrong at first, but it does make the music more suprising and unsettling.

Another technique used is a power chord, with the 5th in the bass. For example, using D5:


D5 D5/A
E ----------|
B ----------|
G 7----7----|
D 7----7----|
A 5----5----|
E -----5----|


This creates a more unsettling sound as well, which is central to the grunge style.

A typical chord progression could look something like this:

D5/A, A5, G5, C#5/G#

Play it with a mixture of 8th and 16th notes.

As for soloing, your choice of scale is as much a lottery as the chord progression. Stick to minor scales though - major scales are very rarely used in grunge, with the rare exception of a few Alice In Chains acoustic songs, such as "No Excuses".

Now on to funk...

Many funk songs are formed from just one or two chords repeated for a long time, often 7th or 9th chords. Instead of playing these chords as full open or barre chords, funk guitarists (in a similar way to ska and reggae guitarists) use almost exclusively the highest 3 strings for their rhythm playing.

To get a funk rhythm, start off with a bar divided into 8 notes:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

If you divided these notes in half, you would have 16 16th notes. A typical rhythm is marked out underneath (the Os). The Xs refer to muted strums. You still strum these notes, but you mute the strings using your left hand, so that just a percussive click is made. The muted strums are what gives funk the groove, and by keeping your hand moving, it keeps you in time. You'll probably want to start off at around 80 BPM initially to get the hang of it.

1 e + e 2 e + e 3 e + e 4 e + e
0 0 x x 0 0 x x 0 x x 0 x 0 x x

For funk riffs, use the min7th to root interval. I tabbed out something like that in a post a long time ago... http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/topic.php?id=337. Countless riffs have been made by using the minor pentatonic scale.

You don't really get guitar solos in funk much, more often than not a sax or a trumpet will take over lead duties. this doesnt mean that the guitar isnt important, it just means that the guitarist has to find their place and fit in, rather than driving the show. If you want to solo, then the minor pentatonic scale, the dorian mode, or even the bebop scale (mixolydian with an added maj7th) works well, such as the solo in Hilikus by Incubus.

Hope this helps. :)


simon73  
6 Apr 2007 07:29 | Quote
Joined: way back
Lessons: 8
Karma: 1
Nice one. Keep up the good work
soy.el.che  
13 Apr 2007 11:13 | Quote
Joined: way back
Mexico
Lessons: 1
Karma: 9
woow.. funk sounds difficult, grunge is even easier than i tought thanks a lot, you (blackholesun) have cleared one of the five areas i totally suckwell.. anyway can you give me a tip for improvising? thats my worst area
thanks a lot and a big lot
league  
13 Apr 2007 19:30 | Quote
Joined: way back
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 10
Nice explanation of grunge Blackholesun couldnt have said it better myself.
blackholesun  
14 Apr 2007 11:43 | Quote
Joined: 04 Jan 2007
United Kingdom
Licks: 1
Karma: 11
Moderator
The best way to "learn" to improvise I think, is to learn a scale, for example, D minor, and program a sequencer, such as Guitar Pro, to play a contineous Dm chord (or repeated Dm 8th notes). Keep playing over the Dm chord, using notes from the Dm scale. Experiment with using different note lengths, bends, legato, vibrato, dynamics, etc. Also consider the idea of not playing. This gives your lead playing some phrasing to it. When you play a good lead lick, write it down, and then when you are improvising in Dm, you can play it! Or if you're improvising in Em minor then you can shift that lick up by two frets. Keep playing over the same chord until you can't physically play any more licks without repeating yourself!

That should hopefully give you somewhere to start. If you are going to improvise over a chord progression then its useful to know a bit about how chords are made up from notes from scales. That way you can put a scale to a chord progression, and use that scale to improvise. you can use the Reverse Scale tool at the top of this page. Just input the notes of each chord, and it'll give you a list of scales that those chords equate to.

Funk is quite difficult at first. Just gotta get your right hand moving up and down evenly. A mistake that quite a few people make is that they use a swing rhythm, rather than a straight 16th note rhythm. I suggest buying/downloading "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", the 1991 album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's an excellent album and a great introduction to funk-rock. If you like it, then I also recommend buying the tab book for it, so you can see all the various rhythms that are used. Yeah, you can get internet tabs, but very few of them give any idea of rhythm, which is what funk is all about. Alternatively, you can use www.911tabs.com to download guitar pro files of the songs.

For an idea as to what chords to play, check out http://www.jazzguitar.be/jazz_guitar_chords.html. I know its aimed at jazz, but funk and jazz are harmonically quite similar, as both use 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords extensively.

When you play chords on the top 3/4 strings though, you need to know which notes don't need to be played. For example, a 9th chord has the chord tones 1, 3, 5, b7, 9 in it. Obviously you can't play all 5 notes on the top 3 strings! but the root is often played by the bass, therefore you don't need to play it. Same goes for the 5th. Therefore you can just play 3, b7 and 9, and the chord will still keep the same sound.

When I was talking about Grunge, I didn't talk about Grunge riffs. I think the best way to get to grips with them is to buy an album by Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. They feature more metallic riffs, whereas Nirvana were more punk based, and Pearl Jam were influenced strongly by classic rock.

Hope this helps
soy.el.che  
14 Apr 2007 13:47 | Quote
Joined: way back
Mexico
Lessons: 1
Karma: 9
cool.. thanks again.. never stop playing guitar, i think that far youve got future like guitarrist. keep up with the guitar and i dont know what else to say ll


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