Hone your rhythm chops with this lesson in ‘70s funk essentials – including the ‘sexy tremolo’

Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner
The great Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner of the Ohio Players with a double-neck Mosrite (Image credit: Colin Fuller/Redferns/Getty Images)

The profound shift from soul and R&B into funk during the ’70s saw many bands take up the mantle of James Brown’s innovations of the late ’60s. In the early part of the decade, African-American bands gained crossover success by moving into funk. Many blended Hendrix-style psychedelia with the JB ethos.

This was also the era of so-called ‘Blaxploitation’ movies, which featured some amazing funk soundtracks, many including the ubiquitous wah-wah (no better demonstrated than by the great ‘Wah Wah’ Watson of Funk Brothers fame).

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Steve Allsworth

Steve is one of the UK’s most versatile guitar players and professional music educators. He has toured and played for the likes of Mica Paris, Lily Allen, Ronan Keating, Lulu, Westlife and Lianne Rimes. Between performing in the West End and recording as a busy session musician, Steve also regularly writes for Total Guitar and Guitar Techniques magazines. He’s also BIMM London’s Head of LPW (Live Performance Workshop) and one of its senior guitar specialists. He loves to share his knowledge and passion for playing and getting the best from guitarists, whatever the level.