Influential Funk Guitarists

Welcome back! Today’s blog will focus on influential funk guitarists. We will only have time to discuss three important players from this genre, but I encourage you to explore more on your own. Discovering new musical styles and guitarists from those styles is an important part of your musical journey. Let’s get started!

Jimmy Nolen was an American guitarist best known for his work with James Brown. He is credited with developing a guitar technique known as the “chicken scratch” sound, which involves string muting and rapid rhythmic strumming. This sound has influenced decades of guitar players and has become the foundation for the funk guitar style.

Another influential funk guitarist is Freddie Stone. He is the co-founder, guitarist and vocalist for the band Sly and the Family Stone. This group had a pivotal role in the development of soul and funk rock music. They were also the first highly successful American band that was both racially and gender diverse. Freddie has influenced many well-known guitarists, such as John Frusciante and Prince.

Born in New Orleans, Al McKay is best known for his work with Earth, Wind & Fire. He is also an accomplished songwriter, arranger and producer. Many consider McKay’s forte to be his sense of time, feel and groove. For an example, check out his guitar playing on such chart-topping hits as “September” and “Shining Star.”

I hope you have enjoyed learning about these influential funk guitarists. Be sure to check out my past blogs on other important guitar players from such genres as blues, jazz, rock and metal. Stay tuned for more fun and educational blogs from Let’s Play Music!

Daniel Saunders

Daniel Saunders

Daniel is the Guitar Program Supervisor at Let’s Play Music and Make Art, LLC. He holds a degree in Music Performance from the Musicians Institute in California where he taught for nearly ten years. He is also published through Hal Leonard for Guitar World Magazine Video Lessons.

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