One of the earliest tutorials I ever recorded was for Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry. I’ve decided to update that tutorial for three reasons:
- I was re-rendering older videos for the revamp of Working Basslines Vol 1 and the original videos are lost so wanted to re-record.
- Whilst re-recording the videos I could add the transition from G to A that happens in the longer versions of the tune.
- I got hold of the ‘Guitar Hero’ stems for this tune – and as a result I’ve changed the first note of the riff from an ‘E’ to a ‘C’ – it might sound (at first hearing) a little strange. But that’s what the bass plays on the original.
In this revamp of the tutorial we’re going to look at four sections: the intro; the verse; the chorus (and riff) and the transition from G to A that happens in the longer version of the song.
As with all recent tutorials, each part is played at performance tempo and then at slowed down tempo with a chordal metronome and edited with picture in picture so you get close up so of the left and right hand. And each section is presented separately:
4. Transition From G to A
Here’s how the transition works – this all takes place around the 4.00 mark of the tune.
- We have the riff at the end of the chorus as normal.
- There are four bars of the pattern in E – but the last bar also has the chromatic transition to G
- When we land on G we play a stab on the root note.
- Then the bass drops out for the rest of that bar AND a further six bars before playing octaves of G and G# and transitioning to A (in the slowed down version of the video, this is only 2 bars to conserve space)
- Then you repeat and fade on the riff in A. I’ve shown this in ‘closed’ position (i.e. NOT with open strings. But you could also play this with open strings.)
Play That Funky Music was a huge hit in 1976. The bass player for Wild Cherry at the time was Allen Wentz, who hailed from Detroit. There are two versions of this – there is an edited version (around 3.10) which fades out before we get to the chorus and the transition to G and then to A. And there’s the album version of this which weighs in at over 5 minutes – and I’m pleased that the revamp of the tutorial includes the sections you need to play the longer version of the tune.