This style of guitar playing became popular after the funk music revolution of the 70s, when black musicians created this swing-based music style
Moreover, funky guitar playing is nowadays used in other styles as well, such as blues, pop, and even rock. For this reason, leaning rhythm guitar in funky style is practically a requirement if you want to become a guitar player.
Many situations may appear where you need to play funky styles and rhythms. From blues concerts your local club, there might be many situations where you need to interpret this kind of songs.
Rhythm above all
It is important to remember that playing “funky” guitar is more a skill that you learn by feel than anything else.
However, it is useful to break down the rhythm so that it becomes easier to understand the components of this style.
Learning step by step, you can master the skill by repetition. First, make sure that you can play a certain rhythm slowly, and practice it several times that way.
Then, you can progressively increase the speed/tempo, until you’re able to play the rhythm at normal time.
How to Learn Any Rhythm
To learn funky, syncopated rhythms on the guitar, you need to practice it using a repetitive strategy.
You should practice this kind of skill with a variety of keys, tempos, and base rhythms.
A good strategy is to start with a simple tune. Once you’re sure about how it works, you can add embellishments to the base until you get something truly unique.
I suggest that you can start to practice with traditional, mid tempo blues in a minor scale. Then, progress to traditional jump shuffles.
Rhythm Guitar Reviews
In other to play rhythm guitar well, one thing that you also need is a good instrument.
We review a few rhythm guitars that can be used well for this purpose:
4 Best Red Electric Guitars for 2021: this article shows you five guitars that work very well to play rhythm.
Synyster Gates Guitar: this is an excellent guitar.
Fender Acoustasonic: The Exotic Guitar That Sounds Good: the Fender Acoustasonic gives you an exotic sound that works really well.
2021 Guide for Best Guitar Under $ 1000 and $ 3000: this is a guide that will help you find a great guitar to play rhythm.
The 3 Best Rhythm Guitars
Here is my selection of the 3 best rhythm guitars you’ll find in 2022:
#3: Schecter Synyster Gates Guitar: this is a great guitar that has excellent features that will make it easier to play rhythm guitar.
Features include a Mahogany body that is precision made and with great finish.
It comes complete with a Floyd Rose 1500 Series tremolo, which gives more sustain. It also has a locking nut that will also improve the sound quality.
#2: Epiphone Les Paul Studio. This Ephiphone model is a high fidelity instrument with everything you can expect from a Les Paul guitar.
It is build with high quality material, including the solid wood.
The traditional hambuckers that are the signature sound of Les Paul make this an excellent rhythm guitar that you can use on any gig.
#1: Ibanez RG Prestige: This fantastic instrument is one of the best rhythm guitars I have played.
It is precision made, and Ibanez is well known for creating very precise instruments.
It also comes with high quality electronics, and its tone is superior to most other electric guitars that I have played. Highly recommended.
Improving Your Rhythmic Skills
One possible way to improve your skills is to practice the style of famous, classic guitar players.
Initially, make sure that you learn about James Brown style. He is the master of rhythm, and you’ll start to get the real feeling.
Next, you can also practice on rock and roll blues. Make sure you understand the basics of the rock style, and integrate this into your funky practice.
Finally, you will be able to practice fast 16th note Funk grooves, using traditional Blues changes.
Is It Hard To Play Rhythm Guitar?
This is definitely a personal question. While some people have difficulty in learning rhythm guitar, some others find it to be the easiest.
So why this difference?
Rhythm is a complex pattern, but it can be internalized by anyone. Once you are able to internalize a rhythm, that is, repeat it as if it was part of you, then it becomes really easy.
It is like speaking a language. Before you practice, it is really difficult to articulate words. But after you have experience with these words, they come naturally and you don’t need to thing about them.
The same applies to the rhythm guitar. Your main goal is to internalize the rhythm in a way that becomes second nature.
One way to do this is to listen to the rhythm with attention, trying to repeat it in your head.
The second step is to repeat that rhythm with your hands. First slowly, then faster, until you get to the same tempo.
How to Learn More With A Video Lesson
A good starting point for beginners, or if you want to raise your level a notch, is to check a great video lesson. Here is a great lesson presented by Carl Burnetts, a great guitar player who covers all these topics and more.