The Hybrid Funk Scale For Bass

In this video, you’ll learn a kind of ‘hybrid’
funk scale that you can use over static funk grooves that sounds really cool, gives you
tons of options you can use and is a ton of fun. Hi I’m Luke from and
this is a question I get asked a lot – What kind of scale can I use for funk music. What
I usually say is that for music like funk, the notes are important, but the rhythm is
what makes something funky. Then there’s the inevitable reply, ‘Well yeah, but what
notes should I actually play?’ So today, I want to show you a hybrid scale that gives
you a ton of options if you’re playing something funky and they’re all going to work. If you’re just playing over a one chord
vamp, like a dominant chord, you’ve actually got a ton of different options that are going
to work over it whether you’re making bass lines or improvising. I’ve got a really simple track here and
it sounds like this. The whole thing is just a C7 chord vamp – our notes in that chord
will be C E G and Bb. Now people say a lot of different things when it comes to playing
over these kinds of grooves. Some people recommend using the minor pentatonic scale, some say
use the Blues scale/mixolydian/dorian and these all work well in isolation. Check it
out – let’s try some bass line kind of ideas with each scale. First up the minor pentatonic.
[plays bass line] Cool – works well enough, right? Next, let’s add the flat 5 to the
minor pentatonic and we’ll get the blues scale. [plays bass line] These can all work and all work really well just by themselves, but the
problem is that if you’re only using one kind of sound, it might get stale after a
while. It’s like eating the same thing for months or years on end. Even if it’s delicious,
you’ll get sick of it eventually. However, if you mix all these different sound
up into a kind of Power Rangers megazord, you have a ton of options that all feel slightly
different so your bass lines or your improvisations never get boring and you’ll always have
something at least a little bit fresh that you can use. So if we had all these scales and combined
them, we’ll end up with this [plays scale] It’s a 9-note scale – C, D, Eb, E natural,
F, F#, G A and Bb. All of these notes were in the isolated scales we were playing before
so they’re all up for grabs now. Remember that just running up and down scales
doesn’t usually make the best bass lines or solo lines, but let’s mess around with
combining all of these different sounds into out hybrid scale. Let’s start with some
bass line ideas. A super common device is sliding from the minor
3rd – the Eb in this case – to the major third – the E natural. This Eb isn’t technically
part of the chord, but it still sounds nice and dirty and bluesy, but if we resolve that
note to the major 3rd, it can sound really sweet. With that kind of idea, we might get
something like this. [plays bass lines] Another really cool idea that gets used a
ton is jumping from the major 6th that was in the Mixolydian and Dorian mode to the minor
3rd, and from there going straight to the root or doing the slide up to the
major 3rd If you wanted to you could even extend this
9-note scale to a 10-note really easily by adding the major 7th. It’s perfect for approaching
the root chromatically. Something like this. [plays example] So out of the 12 notes in music, we’re using
10 of them. The only ones we aren’t using are the flat 2 – the note that’s one fret
above the root. In this case it’s a Db, and the flat 6 – the Ab right here. If we
have 10 ‘right’ notes, and 2 ‘wrong’ ones, then you actually have to try pretty
hard to find the wrong notes. You’ve got a 5 out of 6 chance of playing a note that
will actually sound good if your rhythm and phrasing and everything like that is on point.
And even then, you can massage those other 2 ‘wrong’ notes so they’ll sound like
they fit 100%. Like I say to everyone who asks me what to play for funk music – the
notes are important, but it’s HOW you play the notes that makes something funky or not.
Hopefully though, this kind of hybrid scale has at least given you some options to start
with. Now if all the talk about scales and modes
was a little over your head, don’t worry – I have the perfect thing for you. It’s
called the Ultimate Guide To The Modes For Bass and you can download it from
absolutely free. You’ll learn exactly what modes are, how they work, and exactly where
and how to use them in your bass lines. I worked really hard to make sure that it’s
easy to understand and not full of confusing jargon, so if you want to really start understanding
how these scales work, just click the first link in the description, fill out the form
on that page and I’ll send it straight to you – 100% free and 100% fun. To recap though, you learned a kind of hybrid
scale that combined the notes of the minor pentatonic scale, blues scale, and mixolydian
and dorian modes and you got a couple of different ideas about how to use them, plus you learned
that you could also easily add a 10th note – the major 7th and make it work really well.
Finally, you also learned that while the notes are important, it was the rhythm and HOW you
played everything that will make something funky or not. Thanks so much for watching the video – I
really appreciate it. Make sure and head to and download that free
guide to the modes and if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to the channel and
turn on your notifications so you always get latest lessons. I’m Luke from
and I’ll catch you really soon.