best funk songs to learn on guitar

Hello there, music enthusiasts! Are you ready to get groovy and add some funky tunes to your guitar repertoire? Look no further because we have compiled a list of the 7 best funk songs that will get your fingers dancing on those strings. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitarist, these songs will surely bring out your inner funkiness and make you the life of the party. So, grab your guitar and let’s dive into the world of funk!


Funk music originated in the 1960s with its roots in African-American rhythm and blues. It is characterized by its syncopated rhythms, groovy basslines, and infectious melodies. Funk guitar playing is all about the rhythm, incorporating percussive techniques and intricate chord voicings. Learning funk songs on guitar not only enhances your skills but also allows you to explore new and exciting musical territories.

In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of learning funk songs on guitar, along with a comprehensive list of the 7 best funk songs that will take your playing to the next level. So tighten up your guitar strap and let’s get started!

Advantages of Learning Funk Songs on Guitar

1. Enhances Rhythm Playing 🎷

Playing funk songs on guitar requires mastering the art of rhythm. Funk music thrives on tight, syncopated grooves that make people move. By learning funk songs, you will significantly improve your sense of timing, strumming technique, and overall rhythmic precision.

2. Expands Chord Vocabulary 🎶

Funk music often incorporates complex chord progressions and voicings. By learning funk songs, you will expand your chord vocabulary and discover new ways to spice up your rhythm playing. It’s an opportunity to explore extended and altered chords that add richness and depth to your playing.

3. Develops Fingerstyle Technique 🎸

Funk guitar playing involves a combination of strumming, plucking, and percussive techniques. By learning funk songs, you will develop your fingerstyle technique, allowing you to create funky rhythm patterns and melodic grooves. It’s a chance to experiment with muting, ghost notes, and other techniques that give funk its distinctive sound.

4. Improves Ear Training 🎻

Funk music is often built on repetitive patterns and catchy melodies. By learning funk songs by ear, you will improve your ear training skills and develop a better sense of pitch, rhythm, and phrasing. It’s an opportunity to train your ears to recognize the nuances and subtleties of funk music.

5. Boosts Creativity 🎤

Funk music is all about expressing yourself and letting your creativity flow. Learning funk songs on guitar will inspire you to think outside the box and explore new musical ideas. It’s a chance to experiment with improvisation, develop your own funky licks, and add your personal touch to the songs you play.

6. Builds Musical Versatility 🎷

Being able to play funk songs on guitar adds another genre to your musical toolbox. It enhances your versatility as a guitarist and allows you to adapt to different musical situations. Whether you’re jamming with friends, performing on stage, or recording in the studio, knowing how to play funk will make you a more well-rounded musician.

7. Provides a Fun and Energetic Experience 👌

One of the greatest advantages of learning funk songs on guitar is the pure joy and energy it brings. The infectious grooves and upbeat tempos will get your body moving and put a smile on your face. It’s an opportunity to let loose, have fun, and spread good vibes through your music.

Disadvantages of Learning Funk Songs on Guitar

1. Technical Challenges 🎷

Playing funk songs on guitar can be technically demanding. The syncopated rhythms, intricate chord progressions, and fast-paced grooves may require time and practice to master. It’s important to start with simpler songs and gradually work your way up to more complex arrangements.

2. Emphasis on Rhythm over Melody 🎶

Funk music tends to prioritize rhythm and groove over melodic elements. While this is a defining characteristic of the genre, it may not appeal to guitarists who prefer melodies and solos. However, learning funk songs can still benefit your overall musicianship and expand your rhythmic capabilities.

3. Limited Chord Progressions 🎸

Compared to other genres, funk music often relies on repetitive chord progressions. This simplicity can be seen as a disadvantage for guitarists seeking complex harmonic structures. However, funk songs offer ample opportunities for experimentation and improvisation within these limited chord progressions.

4. Specific Equipment Requirements 🎻

Creating an authentic funk sound may require specific equipment such as a guitar with single-coil pickups, a clean and funky amplifier, and effects pedals for adding wah or envelope filter effects. While these are not strict requirements, they can enhance your funk playing experience.

5. Niche Market 🎤

Funk music has a dedicated but relatively smaller fan base compared to mainstream genres. If your goal is to become a widely recognized guitarist, focusing solely on funk may limit your reach. However, incorporating funk elements into your playing can help you stand out and add a unique flavor to your music.

6. Cultural Appreciation 🎷

Funk music has its roots in African-American culture. As a guitarist, it is essential to approach funk music with respect and appreciation for its origins. Educate yourself about the history and cultural significance of funk, and strive to pay homage to the genre when playing its songs.

7. Time Investment 👌

Learning funk songs on guitar requires time and dedication. The complex rhythms, chord progressions, and funky techniques may take a while to master. However, the effort you put into learning funk songs will pay off in terms of musical growth, increased versatility, and the sheer joy of playing infectious grooves.

Table: Best Funk Songs to Learn on Guitar

Song Title Artist Year
“Superstition” Stevie Wonder 1972
“Brick House” The Commodores 1977
“Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” Parliament 1976
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” Sly & The Family Stone 1969
“Play That Funky Music” Wild Cherry 1976
“Pick Up the Pieces” Average White Band 1974
“Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” James Brown 1970

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I learn funk guitar as a beginner? ❓

Yes, funk guitar can be learned by beginners. Start with simpler funk songs and gradually progress to more challenging ones as your skills improve.

2. What guitar techniques are commonly used in funk music? ❓

Funk guitar techniques include syncopated strumming, percussive muted notes, palm muting, plucking, and the effective use of rhythmic rests.

3. Do I need special equipment to play funk guitar? ❓

While not mandatory, specific equipment such as single-coil pickups, a clean amplifier, and effects pedals can enhance your funk guitar sound.

4. Are there funk guitar lessons available online? ❓

Yes, there are numerous online resources, tutorials, and video lessons that offer step-by-step guidance on learning funk guitar.

5. Can I incorporate funk elements into other genres? ❓

Absolutely! Funk elements can add a unique flavor to various genres like rock, blues, pop, and jazz, allowing you to create your own fusion style.

6. How long does it take to become proficient in funk guitar? ❓

The time it takes to become proficient in funk guitar varies depending on your dedication, practice routine, and prior experience. Consistent practice is key.

7. Are there any recommended funk guitarists to listen to? ❓

Definitely! Check out legendary funk guitarists like Jimmy Nolen, Eddie Hazel, Leo Nocentelli, and Prince to immerse yourself in their funky playing style.


Congratulations on exploring the world of funk guitar! Learning the 7 best funk songs on guitar will undoubtedly elevate your playing skills, expand your musical horizons, and bring joy to your musical journey. Remember to embrace the rhythm, experiment with funky techniques, and let your creativity flow. So go ahead, grab your guitar, and let the funk set you free!

It’s time to take action and start immersing yourself in the funky world of guitar playing. Practice regularly, listen to funk legends, and jam with fellow musicians to enhance your skills. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on these songs and let your personality shine through your playing. So, what are you waiting for? Get your funk on and create some guitar magic!

Disclaimer: Learning funk songs on guitar may cause uncontrollable dancing, spontaneous jam sessions, and an ongoing addiction to infectious grooves. Proceed with caution, but don’t forget to have fun!

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