From Prince to John Frusciante via Cory Wong: learn the rhythm approaches of the pop-funk masters

(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In this lesson, we’re looking at pop-funk. Generally seen as popular, radio-friendly music, pop-funk is a pretty wide sub-genre, ranging from classic Michael Jackson to the output of modern players such as Cory Wong – part of a new breed of guitarists who skilfully blend old-school funk with other genres such as hip-hop, gospel and jazz. So here we’ll look at ideas from seven pop-funk players. 

David Williams is one of the most important funk guitarists, yet remains largely unknown. His  intricate lines have graced some of the biggest ever hits, including Rock With You, Billie Jean and Thriller.

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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.