Improvising on any type of music is a whole lot of fun, and is a great learning tool for anyone who wants to improve his or her skills. One particular type of music is both incredibly fun, and filled with challenges unique to the genre. This music is funk, and here are two tips for improvising over funky music that will help any soloist to a great degree.
The first, and perhaps most important, tip is to stay on the one. This means that every phrase and lick should be soundly based on the first beat of every measure. Funk is usually going to be straight ahead, four-four time, and hitting the one hard is one of the elements that help define the sound. Regardless of where the soloing takes the player sonically, hitting the one keeps the whole thing grounded and accessible.
The second step is to always follow the bass line. The bass guitar has more to do with the funk sound than any other instrument, and can be quite complicated, too. Be sure to stay with the bass’ chord progression, and modal changes, and you will stay true to the tune. While improvising can get a bit extreme, the beat and the bass line will keep the player in the pocket, in the groove, and in the song.