Learn to Play: Riffs in the Key of James Brown

Today, May 3, the late, great James Brown would have turned 84 years old. In honor of the Godfather of Soul's birthday, we wanted to take some time to celebrate his sparse brand of funk where every instrument was a rhythm instrument.

In the video above, Joe demonstrates how to nail the iconic "I Can't Stand Myself" riff. Despite sounding on the record like two separate guitar parts complimenting each other, the line is actually one part that was recorded by Eddie Setser.

Next up is a lesson on each of the guitar parts from Brown's 1974 release "Sayin' It and Doin' It." The first and main part is a funky, single–note riff, while the second part adds in accents. As Joe explains in the video above, achieving a funky groove is all about the single–note syncopation, rather than a reliance on string dragging.


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