Bombstep: How to Play a High-Energy Piano Keyboard Funk Groove (advanced tutorial)

I imagine that you’ve all had a teacher
at one time or another say, “You have to hold back.” “This needs to be more subtle
than that.” “If you’re blasting away right from the start, you’ll have nowhere to go
later.” Or maybe it was simpler and they just said, “It’s too loud!”
and they were probably right. But every once in a while, don’t you just want to
let it rip? So in today’s little funk groove we’re
taking off the chains. This one starts funky and loud and the only place it
goes from there is… funkier and louder. Prepare to get some guilty pleasures on
because if we’re looking for adjectives “subtle,” “tasty,” “sweet,” “classy,” aren’t the
words to describe today. Today we’re getting loud and we’re getting trashy. Today’s groove is called, “Bombstep”
because it kind of rolls along like you’re walking down the street but it
does so in a fairly explosive high-energy way. It’s not very long but
there are some chopsy parts and the whole thing is just a little bit of a
workout. Due to all that we’re gonna call today’s
groove: “Advanced.” As always, you can get sheet music, MIDI files, and backing tracks
over at and I always have to remind people: Everything over
there is free. Just visit… and download. So if you’re ready for a little trashy
bashin’ let’s take a listen to the tune. before we get into the tutorial of this
one: If you get this one down, I would absolutely love to see a video. So hit me
up on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter and send me a link. I’d love to see the
video. If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you’d subscribe. That will make it easier for you to get new videos as they come out Speaking of that, what do you want to
hear? What kinds of new things would you like videos on? Leave me a post in the
comments and tell me the kinds of things you’d like to learn about. So let’s get
into the tutorial but first… to get started on this one let’s start
at the very beginning you start with this little lick that goes from an
a-flat to an A to a C to a D. And I will make a note before we even get started:
People always ask this and they’re kind of confused. If you download the sheet
music, there are little eights under the treble clef and the bass clef which
indicate that everything written should be played an octave lower than you see
it. So don’t get yourself up here. It starts to sound a little bit more like (I
don’t know) a nursery rhyme or something. Let’s keep it down here in the meaty just-below-middle-C kind of range. But it’s a little easier to read if
we get it up into the staff so I write it this way. Okay so what’s gonna happen
is, we’ve got this little lick. And then you’re gonna play this pattern in the
right hand where you play an E flat and an F and then it’s gonna move down to D
and F, D flat and F and C and F. So the F stays constant and then the other note
of the chord just moves down chromatically and the rhythm on this is
a little bit tricky. We’re gonna do exactly the same thing basically four
times in a row but the rhythm is you play two eighth notes and then you’re on sixteenth note
off-beats and the easiest way to show this… Let me click four here
like this. Maybe I’ll tap sixteenth notes and see if that works. Okay so you’re gonna have to woodshed that out. When I do tricky rhythms like this I like to actually break break it down into a sixteenth note grid and figure out where
the notes fall along that grid that’s kind of key to funk is you’ve got things
falling in off places with respect to the sixteenth note grid this is a great
example something you can practice there so once you’ve got that down on the
right hand it just does the same thing over and
over and over again now what’s happening in the left hand is pedal tones on the
back beat on beats two and four okay and this is this is over these first eight
bars this is just a big buildup we’re kind of starting it it’s pretty loud
right off the bat but it’s building up to the frothing goodness that is the
whole rest of the tune this one never lets up so what we’re gonna do is start
pretty high with those pedal tones and on this last one you actually hit it
in the 16th note just before beep for because it leads in to the lick so okay so that’s a subtle difference right
there the second time we go through same thing except you’re gonna play an octave
the same math you played before plus another one an octave below
and then it starts alternating okay so the second time through watch
the left hand it plays an octave the first time the upper F the second time
and the octave the third time before it gets into some tricky at the end and then right here where we have the
lick now it’s the right hand that reaches down and plays that anticipation
and the left hand is going to play it along with the right hand but notice
that it leaves out the D at the top and there’s a reason for that because you’ve
got to get from that C down an octave and a half to this low F right on the
downbeat so I give you I leave one sixteenth note out to give you the time
to get down there okay I’m gonna probably want to memorize that that’s
you gotta look at your hands in order to see that unless you’re some kind of
mutant which I’m sure those of you out there who can do that and then we’re into the third time and
it’s just like the the second time except for down an octave and this time we play the lick we’ve got
the anticipation in the right hand with the F then the left hand is gonna play
the entire thing because now the left hand changes it’s
got this big descending a flat in octaves so let me walk through with that what’s
happening there so first of all the general gist of this is that the left
hand is moving down just like the the lower note of the
chord we’re playing in the right hand it’s sort of echoing and strengthening
that and what what happens then is the rhythm so right as you play that second chord
where you normally would we’re gonna emphasize it with the left
hand it kind of does this little you play the
left-hand upper octave on the downbeat the left-hand note of
that and then play the F and then you have got this little
and that’s just kind of a lick to sort of lead Ascenta I’m gonna play that slowly because this
it’s a little hard to explain it’s probably easier to just see it again now I didn’t call this out earlier but I
should notice that in the very first beat to the second beat the lower a flat
is tied and you’ll find that the upper octave you play again so this kind of
keeps that pattern going we’re on two and four you’re hitting notes a little faster one more time and from here as soon as we hit that
emphasis we’re to beat four and really on the and of beat four reach up
somewhere up near the top end of your piano list down into the main groove
okay so let’s hear that and that’s gonna lead us right into the
main groove basically this is the essence of the tune you’ve got big apps
here all together and there’s some little ghost of notes that I’m gonna
come back to then we play that same lick we played in the introduction
but then you got to reach up and play this it’s kind of a chordal voicing they
call this because it’s based on fourths between the two that’s what’s happening in the right
hand and you’re gonna reach up with your left hand and play an E natural with
that quartel voicing just nasty dissonance in there and when we’re
actually making here is at the beginning we’re kind of on an F chord that’s
basically a c7 sharp 9 sharp 5 okay very standard altered jazz voicing for a
seventh chord and it’s just got this nice rich nasty dissonance that I love
okay I want to talk about the ghosting that happens at the beginning because
it’s kind of fun so we hit the the FS as octaves
then on the second eighth note of the measure we’re gonna hit the F with our
right hand thumb we’re gonna reach up and play it again with our left hand
thumb and then play the lick now what your left hand is already in
position but it’s also just kind of fun and it makes this sort of rapid-fire
little F thing like a little machine gun you’ll notice I am messing this up all
over the place but yeah and basically that happens
throughout this whole to will hit this a whole bunch of time so get that one down
and then from here you’ve got another little ghosted left hand ie before we
hit up to B flat and D and then there’s this little lick in the right hand the
notes there are F up to B flat and D and then there’s nothing on the downbeat and
then you go yes a flat and C together up to the a natural flat
okay slow down even more okay and what we’re
gonna do is right as we hit that b-flat in the right hand which is basically a B
flat chord we’re gonna pound some apps in the left and here the full
in octaves and then that whole lick happens all by
itself one little thing is there’s a little ghost at E right before the
sixteenth before you play that F so we’ve got okay let me do that slowly I’m just
gonna do the entire first measure through that lick kind of slowly okay all right a little faster a little faster and as it speeds up and this gets more
under your fingers try to relax a little bit try to not feel every note this is
kind of a subtle little thing but as you play the difference between people that
are kind of barely hanging on by their fingernails and the people that feel
comfortable it just should become natural ain’t no thang and and even though that’s a little bit
of a joke there’s a bunch to that in terms of playing a groove in a way that
feels comfortable if you’re playing uptight let me see if I can do it it tends to have a machine gun rapid
fire because you’re thinking about every single note if you’re not and you’re
letting the notes kind of roll out for lack of a better word it’s gonna it’s
gonna be relaxed and comfortable and a listener is going to hear that and go
listen to it this isn’t that hard that’s it’s easy it’s fun it feels good lay back man alright so let’s talk about
what happens next so after this lick on the next eighth-note we’re gonna play
an E flat seven octaves a flat left in flat and G which are the components of
an E flat seven chord all you that’s the bare minimum of an E flat seven chord up
I have a step so you flat seven seven seven and then
rhythm wise okay and then we’re backing exactly the same thing instead of
starting on octaves in the ABS work to that F 7th chord exactly the same as what we’ve already
learned unfortunately now instead of this nice easy
you got this monstrous efj lat seven cord
I love these I was put these in my tunes I’m sorry it’s it’s basically a D flat E flat and
E flat and again I always say this if your hands aren’t big enough to reach
that eleventh in the right hand comfortably just leave the top note out it works just as well get it it adds a little something Sun to it but
it makes some contrast between what we played the first time kind of cool to
tell huge so that’s the second time we repeat it again with the easy one now we’re moving into the B section and
it’s really it’s very similar except we’re moving up to a different key we’re
moving up to to b-flat here so the left hand does this little walk-up one two three
Knutson octaves if that’s rough for you you always have the option to of just
playing one octave if it was me I would use the lower
octave get that bottom in there and it’s got it the same thing we’ve got
a variation of the liquid played before okay so a flat B flat C D flat and then
a big C minor chord what’s actually happening here is we’re playing an
a-flat major 7th chord over b-flat that’s what that feels like
we’re gonna reach up with our left hand to add the a-flat into that core so
let’s talk about how we do that and really you reach up and play it
that’s how we get into that the little ghost is still there just like we did in
the other version as I play that laughs in the right hand
then I do a little ghost with the left hand that same machine gun thing I
talked about before what we’re gonna do here is it’s a
variation on what we on the same link we’ve been playing but but we’re in a
different key so it’s slightly different and I’ve got this little turn here
that’s new would you hit the a flat you’re gonna
roll from C to a flat down to E now we’ve got the same kind of pattern
with the a flat seven she flattened see up a half a step
she and c-sharp up to this is really B flat seven I’ve got it
wrong into music with a flat over a flat major over B flat but then the same
pattern again and then we got this big lick that
happens here as the left and let’s talk about the left hand first we’re gonna
hit and then reach way down to D we’re gonna
walk up chromatically to get back to F but what’s happening in the right hand
is basically a big F minor pentatonic lick that starts I’ll just play it
whines and then we’ll talk about the notes when I say F minor pentatonic that is a
scale those are the only notes that happen in
this whole lick so FA flat B flat C flat are the only things so we reach up from
F to B flat and then we reach up to a flat and this is just a walk down the
pentatonic scale a flat that’s the first four sixteenth notes and then we reach
up to F and then walk back up the pentatonic scale flat and then the third
group of four sixteenth notes is straight starting on e-flat walking
straight down the pentatonic scale and back up to B flat for the last group of
four sixteenth notes so slowly all right which have that if you read
music it’s really easy with the music if not push pause you can get it it’s not
that hard then we’re back to the same like we played at the beginning the baby version of that repeated again now here we’re moving into kind of the
the bridge or part see if we’re coming into letter C in the music the left hand
is gonna hit the same rhythm that we normally do with those but it’s gonna
walk from ie down to e natural to E flat we’re headed to B flat hair and this little section is kind of a
roller here we’re in we’re gonna go to seven sharp nine
then the D flat seven the back up to D seven sharp nine
B flat 7 3 7 sharp 9 D flat 7 and then to c7
sharp and before we play this hourly lick that’s coming up but we’ll get to
that in a second so first of all the e-flat there’s a rhythm ik pattern here
that repeats all three bars of this first of all the right hand is playing the notes there G D flat and F that’s
the E flat 7th chord it’s actually a 9th and then it reaches down to F sharp C
that same F on top that’s what makes the d7 sharp 9 so that’s a little tricky
you’ve got a little hit afterwards there’s a little hit
right after beat for the one E and uh one E of beat four and then it does
exactly the same thing from D flat 7 see flat or b-but it’s technically C
flat and then e flat repeat the first thing again but we hear we play to D
flat 7 on the last two eighth notes of the bar okay and we’ll get to that lick in a
second the left hand is basically doing this little octave oscillation that’s
happening so okay so if I can explain that we hit the
first note octaves together then we go from the upper octave down to the lower
octave bottom then the octave together twice and then we go lower upper lower okay so it’s a little bit tricky and to
be really honest if you have the rhythms in the ballpark to be honest it’s fine
this whole thing is supposed to just kind of groove on these chords the key
is that you hit B flat seven and then D seven sharp nine on the anticipation of
beat two if you play something like that it’s
totally fine make up a rhythm that works for you
the second time we come through though the rhythm is slightly different
anticipate d7 on beats just before b3 but then beat for is D flat 7 so we can
play c7 sharp 9 on the downbeat and then we play this lick that’s a ton of fun
we’re gonna reach up here to F and you want to hit it with your thumb because
you’re gonna need to do this double stop thing I’ve talked about this before
you’re playing an F with your pinky on almost every beat here every sixteenth
note as you play this lick with your lower fingers of your hand so first of
all let’s just talk about the notes that are moving so it goes f is an
anticipation of beat two and then once we hit b2 it starts on a flat and it
just walks up chromatically to see which is on beat three and then
from C on beat three we’re gonna go see down to F up to B flat down to be a flat and then up to a so remember we’re
starting on beat two here with a little anticipation okay and from here we’re
gonna play and then we’re gonna reach down and do do and you see a sixteenth
notes and there’s a little trick here i play the whole lick without this little
ornament in it it looks like this but that little aim before we hit B
you’re gonna do a roll across C a and F before you hit that D and this is a
classic kind of a blues lick you want to claim kind of light there’s
a there’s a trick to this you don’t want these to be loud is it right and there’s no particular timing to them
other than there they’re a lead-in to the D okay so unfortunately we’ve left
out the top note the entire time we’re doing all of this we’re hitting this F
with our pinkie the only note that doesn’t have that with it is this low F
that we dropped down to and actually right there when we go from a flat to a
you don’t play the F again it just slides up to the a and then we do that
rolling lick okay so slowly all right a little faster because actual
tempo here is I know get your metronome out that one’s a
little bit rough but it does sound cool doesn’t it alright and the good news we
already know the rest from here we’re just back to basically the beginning of
the tune we end on this F up above middle C but
from that point we reach down an octave and we’re just like we have been in the
past the baby virgin the Big Daddy version
we do the baby version again and we end on the daddy version that’s the end all right nothing to it
right this is a hard one this is a challenging to memorize this as early as
possible because it helps to be able to watch your fingers while you’re moving
around this one and you know go lift some weights or something because I tell
you what after playing this three or four times all the way through
I am tired this one is a workout I’ll tell you what but that’s what happens
when you play full blast from the beginning to the end did you make it all
the way to the end nice work I’ll tell you what leave a
comment below with just one word in it bunks finish and then I’ll know that you see you next time