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Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Discussion Starter #1
I've got to learn "Pick up the pieces" - Average White Band- on tenor for our covers band. I've never played funk before. I'd appreciate any tips/pointers/ that anyone might have.
 

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Funny you should ask. I gave my primary school kids this one as an end of term treat. It'll take you all of 10 seconds to learn the head. After a week of listening to dozens of kids get the notes and not the feel of this tune, my advice to you would be the same as I give to the kids.

1. Articulate!!! Don't just slur your way through the line. Funk is all about articulation.

2. Unless you're playing a pea shooter mouthpiece, push your sound a little. More often than not, funk is a brighter sound and no one wants to hear French Horns playing this tune. So overdrive your sound a little.

3. Listen to the recording and play along with it until you start to feel the time rather than count the time. Getting a tight horn section is what separates the great funk bands from the herd.

Finally, Articulate!!!

Best of luck and have fun. It's not a hard tune and the audience always likes this one.
 

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Listen closely, emulate, and for goodness sake don't make it sound like a 'Methodist Choir'.
Or as Lawrence Welk once said, "Geta downa, Geta funky." :)
 

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Good tips from everyone. I'd suggest to transcribe the solo from the original recording. Also, Kenny G and David Sanborn did a nice version; check it out!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for some great tips. I've just heard Sanborn and Kenny G. I've got my work cut out!
 

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I would certainly agree with articulation, but funk has that certain groove to it that...well, makes it funky. Don't rush, and certainly don't play on the front end of the beat. And it's not about a lot of notes! If you can pull of that funk feel, keeping the listener grooving on the back of the beat, that's a more important prerequisite imho.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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What fun. My corporate band just picked up "Cut the Cake" - Another great Average White Band tune....

These are songs best played "note for note" so all you need to do is learn it like it was played.
 

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ianmac,

The dotted eighth sixteenth note pattern and staccato sixteenth notes should become your best friends. And whatever you do don't ever, ever....oops gotta go now.
 

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Welk. Say it ain't so, mum...:(
The Lawrence Welk band did attempt a 'funk' tune.
I was quite young at the time and if memory serves it did sound much like a Methodist Choir...
 

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with a tune like this, in some ways you are only as good as the rhythm section!,all the tips are fine really, but funk is not as easy as some make it out to be!,bass,n, drum connection is vital to keep it going and the guitar, pushes throughout.
Articulation, yes its important, and the highs" and dynamics all help to make it stand out!..good tune though.
 

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Take the same approach as you would in learning jazz. If jazz is a language, funk is too. Learn the vocabulary. I find that jeff coffin is pretty damn funky. I also think that checking out some New Orleans brass bands is essential for the laid-back feel. Rebirth brass band will certainly make you funky. Also, sometimes people lose sight of (in my opinion) the purpose of music, which is to provide people quality entertainment. Funk, in particular, thrives on crowd energy; and the fastest way to crowd energy is screaming altissimo during solos. It is certainly not the only way, but i have found that people dig high notes. But, im just a kid, what do i know.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008-2017
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Excellent advice in here.

I would add some of Maceo Parker's bag of tricks. That may fit into articulation, but for example, whenever you can in your solo, use false fingerings to make the same note to sound as a repetition.... you know, like an an A played with xxo xxx and playing around with low fingers. Stuff like that.

Good luck!!!

Funny you should ask. I gave my primary school kids this one as an end of term treat. It'll take you all of 10 seconds to learn the head. After a week of listening to dozens of kids get the notes and not the feel of this tune, my advice to you would be the same as I give to the kids.

1. Articulate!!! Don't just slur your way through the line. Funk is all about articulation.

2. Unless you're playing a pea shooter mouthpiece, push your sound a little. More often than not, funk is a brighter sound and no one wants to hear French Horns playing this tune. So overdrive your sound a little.

3. Listen to the recording and play along with it until you start to feel the time rather than count the time. Getting a tight horn section is what separates the great funk bands from the herd.

Finally, Articulate!!!

Best of luck and have fun. It's not a hard tune and the audience always likes this one.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for giving a Funk virgin the benefit of your experience and expertise. I've no excuse now!
 

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I love Amazon's paid ads there:
- Everything for Midwives
- Groove Instruments
- Drums only - Onlineshop

I was thinking about getting the 'Ultimate Funk Grooves' for myself ...
 
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