Guitar Techniques - - Contents -

It’s that man again! This time Jon Bishop con­trib­utes a great ver­sion of a ‘70s James Gang clas­sic and Ea­gles live favourite.

Funk 49 was recorded in 1970 by the James Gang. It was fea­tured on their sec­ond stu­dio al­bum, James Gang Rides Again, which is con­sid­ered a clas­sic by both crit­ics and fans a like. The track fea­tures the James Gang in power trio mode with Dale Peters on bass, Jim Fox on drums and Joe Walsh on gui­tar. The first James Gang record boasts the not dis­sim­i­lar pre­de­ces­sor, Funk 48, while Walsh would later re­lease Funk 50 on his 2012 al­bum, Ana­log Man.

Funk 49 is in the key of A and uses chords from A Mixoly­dian. The Mixoly­dian mode is the fifth mode of the ma­jor scale and is com­monly used in the blues and clas­sic rock as it fits nicely with the dom­i­nant 7 chord. The chords of the A Mixoly­dian mode are A7, Bm7, C#m7b5, Dmaj7, Em7, F#m7 and Gmaj7. These chords are also found in A Mixoly­dian’s par­ent scale, D ma­jor.

The main verse riff uses the three ma­jor chords from this key (A, D and G) and this is a pop­u­lar trick for cre­at­ing riffs with the Mixoly­dian mode. The tempo is an easy 91 bpm with a straight 4/4 feel.

As the sec­ond James Gang al­bum was recorded with a three-piece line-up, Joe

Funk 49 is a great rhythm gui­tar work­out, and there are also some cool, quirky lead breaks to nav­i­gate.

played rhythm and lead gui­tar, as well as per­form­ing lead vo­cals. This track is a great rhythm gui­tar work­out and there are some cool, quirky lead breaks to nav­i­gate, too.

Semi­qua­ver strum­ming is one of the key tech­niques used in the per­for­mance of this track, so it’s well worth spend­ing some time mak­ing sure your strum­ming hand work is solid. The semi­qua­ver sub di­vi­sion has four notes in the space of one beat. So a whole bar would be counted 1 e + a, 2 e + a, 3 e + a, 4 e + a. The semi­qua­ver sub di­vi­sion is best played with al­ter­nat­ing down and up strums start­ing on a down strum. Take a sec­ond to play a few bars of muted semi­qua­ver strum­ming, us­ing al­ter­nat­ing down and up strums. Keep your hand and arm loose and place an ac­cent by strum­ming slightly harder on the down­beat.

Both rhythm and lead parts in the song demon­strate Joe’s in­cred­i­bly laid back feel, and if your ten­dency is to run ahead of things, then make sure you check out my ‘Im­prove Your Tim­ing’ fea­ture on page 16.

We have recorded the track in full for your ref­er­ence and then muted the tabbed gui­tar per­for­mance so you can play along with the back­ing track. The orig­i­nal record­ing has a fade-out, but in the in­ter­ests of clar­ity the GT ver­sion has an ar­ranged end­ing on beat 1 of bar 89. Many thanks to Pete Ri­ley for per­form­ing and record­ing the drums.

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