Funk slap examples in modern music genres

Modern funk slap examples

In my long professional music career as a bass guitarist, double-bassist, composer and arranger, I have seen many examples of funk which are explained to students in a harder final difficulty level of technical and harmonical knowledge.

But they lack simpler examples which could be upgrade according to difficulty levels and different styles and music genres, and which would make mastering the funk slap technique much easier. That is why I will demonstrate a few examples in the following article.

Do not play solely in three tonalities!

Musicians often use only three most basic tonalities: E minor, C major, G major; but in a technical sense, all they do is play in octaves and excessively use empty strings.  However, funk slap playing has no limitations in a technical and harmonic sense!

Performers set their own limitations. As a results, bass lines, as well as bass solos, sound monotonously and affect the uninteresting sound of the entire composition.

That is why we have to give our best and expand our knowledge on harmony! In the following examples, as well as in my workbook Big Funk Text Book Slap, I present you with a wide range of possibilities on how to use different harmonies and playing in all tonalities.

Knowing harmony and the ability to create new ideas, adapting to the style and musical genre, is the key to more interesting and useful bass lines. Play in different tonalities and use harmony in as many variations as possible, but still within reason.

Funk slap can be used in every musical genre. With its use, we will achieve that the accompaniment will sound more playful, fun and striking, regardless of the genre. Additionally, we will achieve a much greater recognisability and efficiency as a bass player in our musical group!

Funk rock example in modern music

First, let’s take a look at a funk rock example in Bb major 12-beat bar blues form. This is a practical example for playing in a modern rock group.

Funk rock slap example

Most often we use harmonic symbols in circles of fifths and fourths. With a reasonable use of harmonic and scale tones, we can achieve playfulness, but we have to pay attention to the rhythmical correctness of the bass line.

Scale – transition tones are especially important. We use these tones within the octave; playing from the low Bb to the high Bb tone.

Modern funk is based on the use of these connected tones within an octave. Lots of modern bass players are using this style of playing, for example Marcus Miller.

In a technical sense, we have to make sure that bindings (notes connected with curved lines) sound clear and powerful. Special attention should be given to stressed and muted notes so they are heard clearly. We can also use glissando (slide), which is also one of the blues characteristics.

How to play the funk slap fusion solo?

The next example will demonstrate a solo participation of the bass guitar in an easy fusion style. The example is written in modal G minor 7 key. 

In doing so, we use harmonic and scale tones in a correct sequence. Here we can also notice scale-transition tones. Scale tones always appear after harmonic (chord) tones. The feature of this example is lowering the tones, instead of solely climbing higher.

Funk slap light fusion solo

In the last – 8th bar we can see the use of a chromatic scale.

In the other version of modal bass solo in easy fusion style, we show you the use of solely harmonic tones in F major 7. Here you can see again how we lower in tones and not just climb higher.

slapbass Light Fusion Solo

In a solo performance, it is important to let the tones fade out slowly or make a pause and then start with a new musical phrase. We accompany the tones, we let fade out slowly, with a vibrato or a slide, or we use both options.
In both examples of a bass solo, we can see faded out tones or a pause on the last measure of each bar.

Funk slap is an important part in final education of a bass guitarist. In the begging one has to learn solely in a neutral tonality (in C major) and then gradually introduce into practice all other tonalities.

When we crate bass lines or solos we also use inner strings (D and A string) and tones inside octaves. This is a how we enrich our technical knowledge and playing funk slap style in a modern musical performance.

All shown examples also serve as a basis for creating a funk slap solo. There are 193  examples in my workbook Big Funk Text Book Slap in which I demonstrate to musicians how to play correctly in musical groups.

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