Ex 5-9 Syncopated quarter-note funk
One of the great things about this style is the way in which syncopated rhythms can be played at the same time as keeping a consistent quarter-note pulse. The quarter-note provides a useful anchor for you and the band to keep your place in the music, and gives the listening audience a strong reference point too.
Many players have made this style famous; perhaps one of the most celebrated examples is Harvey Mason’s playing on ‘Chameleon’ by Herbie Hancock. You’ll see examples of it below with both the stripped-back quarter-note approach and a slightly busier version with an eighth-note hi-hat pattern (accenting the quarter-note), which is like the original groove Mason played.
Working on these types of grooves will really improve your independence, and enable you to play syncopated funk patterns, without compromising the time flow.
Example 5 is a funk groove that employs the ride cymbal quarter-note. Example 6 is a ride cymbal quarter-note groove with busier kick and snare.
Example 7 is like Herbie Hancock’s classic ‘Chameleon’ groove, with a stripped back quarternote hi-hat. In Example 8, the ‘Chameleon’ groove develops into something like this with an eighth-note hi-hat pattern (accent the quarter note) and ghost notes included.
Chad Smith played something like Example 9 on the Chilis’ ‘Suck My Kiss’. Try it with quarter notes and eighth notes (accenting the quarter note) on the hats.