intermediate guitarist here! This question is going to be quite broad but hopefully you'll have some great tips.

I'd love to get into the type of funky and/or jazzy type of guitar playing for example is these clips, specifically the soloing:

  • https://youtu.be/ilroTI32p5s?t=274

I am decently proficient at playing standard modal scales and chord formations but not so much for using them in a jazzy way.

So mainly I wonder what is the best way to learn this type of playing, what concepts to focus on, if you have any great tips & tricks or something that you think is vital to getting into it. I am not looking for some magic formula since I understand that it takes a lot of practice, but more like, where to designate my practicing time.

Also, I understand that a lot of getting into a genre/style of playing is listening to stuff so if you have some artists/albums that you think are good examples of music like this (both funk and jazz) then I'd very much appreciate if you'd share the names of them and I'll check them out!

Thanks! :)

  • This and this answer to related questions might be helpful.
    – Matt L.
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 22:16
  • I'm guessing you've heard of these names, but Shawn Lane post 1995-ish, Scott Henderson....that guy in your first vid is giving Skype lessons..maybe take one and pose the same question! Maybe listening to some fluid players who are less rock and or pure jazz based could inspire direction... like Scotty Anderson (different from S Henderson). Commented May 31, 2015 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


Yeah, Frank Gambale! I listened to the first vid and was like, "wow, this guy would love Gambale..." lol.

So, getting more specific and answering your (admittedly) very broad question:


These guys are playing with the changes. That's because this isn't really pure "funk"(), it's fusion, which is really jazz with a rock beat (IMHO, don't flame me).

Get some Jamey Abersold books, or the backing track for the first vid, and learn the chords.

There is a whole Vital Information album on Play Along Jazz. Buy the versions with no guitar, it is not expensive at all.

Jazz harmony takes some getting-used-to, and playing a little outside really makes or breaks this style. Playing outside is playing notes that contrast or cause tension with the current chord. Dudes like Scofield go so far out sometimes you wonder if they will come back.


Again, it's the feel that makes this "funky". Find the pocket and the groove, and licks that fit them. In specifically these clips, most of your rock licks, even pretty busy ones, will work, as long as they are in a scale that is interesting, not based right on the tonic.

The play-along tracks help here for sure.

But the best is to find other musicians that like this style. IMHO, in the clips you showed, the rhythm section is really what is driving the whole tune, and the guitar playing just fits nicely.

Find others and play!


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