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Funky Fingers - have this in your bag of tricks.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Know your fretboard

The Lesson explained

Here's a quick little lesson demonstrating a technique I think can only be done with bare fingers. It's something I came up with years ago for an intro to a tune my band used to play. I was after the sound of a clavinet. I found that I could get close by using my thumb and forefinger picking on the same string and choking off any ringing in the process. It was played on my Strat but it sounds pretty cool on my acoustic too.

So the idea is to get right under the string with the thumb and lift it up as you pluck. You have to be quite aggressive about it. You alternate that with a pick from the forefinger on the same string. Each pluck automatically chokes off the note from the previous pluck and you get this funky sounding clavinet-ish sound. In this case I'm also moving the line by a semitone between the flat 7 and 6 of an A7 chord and then following the riff with a little double-stop -- the #9* and 5 of A and then bending the #9 up toward, but not quite reaching, the major 3rd. That's the first time.

The second time I do the funky lick then a little bass line that also moves between the #9 and major 3rd.

The end bit is another set of double stops: 4 & 6 up the b5 and b7 and down to the 5 and #9. So it's all in A, but a smeared out out A, not really major, but not really minor either. Let's call it Afunky.

So, remember to attack this with verve. It's a fun one to have in your bag of tricks.

See you next time!

*I have mention before that I no longer refer to that note one semitone down from the 3 as a 'flat 3' or 'the minor third'. I now call it by a better name: the #9. In this genre, which includes funk, blues, jazz, R&B etc., #9 is a much better way of thinking about this all important note. Same note, better name.

Click here to download the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

PlaneTalkAs well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.

More Lessons to try.

Lesson: Yesterday

Lesson: The Long and Winding Road