Making Music with Marshall
Posted: 29 September 2020
Funk is a genre that has been adopted in all forms of major music. Although the genre is synonymous with tight drums and powerful bass-lines, the guitar has played a very crucial role in its development. We’re going to talk through the history, playing technique and gear used in funk.
Read time - 2 mins
Funk music appeared in the 1960s from African-American communities. Originally formed as a blend of soul, jazz and blues with a stronger focus on rhythm. The combination of tight drum parts with shuffles, syncopation and an emphasised downbeat alongside colourful chords created an incredibly ‘danceable’ style of music. It was in the 1960’s when James Brown defined the genre with his unique rhythms and emphasis on the first beat of the bar. He’s often heard shouting ‘On the one!’ in many of his tracks. Acts such as Sly & The Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye adopted funk stylings with disco throughout the 70’s.
The surge of electronic synths and drum machines such as the Oberheim DMX, Yamaha DX7 and Linn LM-1 Drum machine in the 1980s gave artists such as Rick James, Prince and Michael Jackson inspiration to take their music to another level. In modern music many pop, R&B and even rock artists have funk influences. More modern acts such as Vulfpeck, Thundercat and Parcels have adopted heavily compressed funk guitar parts in their music.