Bass Guitars Used in 70s Funk Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Bass guitars are a key part of any funk band, and the 70s was a golden era for the genre. In this blog post, we take a look at some of the most iconic bass guitars used in 70s funk music.


The 1970s was a decade of great change for electric bass guitars. With the rise of funk and disco, the electric bass guitar became an important part of the rhythm section for many bands. This new style of music required a different approach to playing the bass, and many new techniques were developed during this time.

Many different types of bass guitars were used in funk music, but there were a few that became particularly popular. The most commonly used bass guitar in funk music was the Fender Precision Bass, which offered a deep, full sound that was perfect for funk rhythms. Another popular choice was the Gibson Les Paul Custom, which had a more aggressive sound that could cut through the mix and be heard clearly.

Whichever type of bass guitar you choose, make sure you spend some time learning how to play it properly. A good funk bass line is the foundation of any good funk song, so it’s important to get it right!

The Funk Era

The funk era was a time when bass guitarists were truly able to show off their skills. With the help of a great drummer, a bassist could keep the groove going all night long. The funk era was all about the groove, and bass guitarists were able to provide it. Let’s take a look at some of the best bass guitarists of the funk era.

The Birth of Funk

During the early 1970s, Parliament-Funkadelic began to popularize the use of funk bass by combining the R&B groove with psychedelic and rock elements. In 1974, James Brown’s “The Payback” marked a return to more aggressive funk, and featured Bootsy Collins on bass. Brown’s hit was followed later that year by Ohio Players’ “Fire”, which also featured funk bass. Collins would also go on to play bass on other Brown hit singles such as “Sex Machine”, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad”.

Funk music began to gain popularity in mainstream culture beginning in the mid-1970s. Bands such as the Dazz Band, Con Funk Shun, the Bar-Kays, Kool & the Gang and Gap Band all incorporated funk elements into their music. The popularity of disco music in the late 1970s also helped to promote funk music, as many disco tracks featured a Funk bassline.

The Golden Age of Funk

In the 1970s, a new style of music called funk began to gain popularity. Funk was a combination of soul, R&B, and rock music that was characterized by its heavy use of bass guitar. The bass guitar became an essential part of funk music, and many different types of bass guitars were used by funk bands during this period.

The most popular type of bass guitar used in funk music was the Fender Precision Bass. The Precision Bass was first introduced in 1951, and it quickly became the standard bass guitar for many different genres of music. The Precision Bass was known for its punchy sound and its ability to be played with a pick or with fingers. Many different funk bassists used the Precision Bass, including Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham.

Another popular type of bass guitar used in funk music was the Gibson Les Paul Bass. The Les Paul Bass was first introduced in 1954, and it quickly gained popularity due to its looks and its rich, full sound. The Les Paul Bass was often played with a pick, and it could be played with either roundwound or flatwound strings. Some famous funk bassists who used the Les Paul Bass include Chuck Rainey and Bootsy Collins.

The Rickenbacker 4001 was another popular type of bass guitar used in funk music. The 4001 was first introduced in 1961, and it quickly became known for its warm, full sound. The 4001 was often played with fingers, and it had a very fast attack that made it perfect for funk rhythms. Many different Rickenbacker bassists were prominent in the world of funk, including Bootsy Collins and Verdine White.

Funk is a genre of music that is defined by its use of the bass guitar. Many different types ofbass guitars were used in funk music during the 1970s, including the Fender Precision Bass,the Gibson Les Paul Bass, and the Rickenbacker 4001.

The Sound of Funk

Funk music would not be the same without the bass guitar. The bass guitar provides the groove that funk music is known for. The bass guitar is also a key instrument in creating the sound of funk music. In this article, we will talk about the different types of bass guitars that were used in funk music during the 1970s.

The Role of the Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is a key part of any funk band. The role of the bass guitar is to provide the low-end sound that gives funk its groove. A funk bassline typically contains a lot of syncopation, making it feel “off beat” in relation to the drums. This creates a feeling of tension and release that is essential to funk.

The most important thing for a funk bass player is to keep the groove going. This means playing with a lot of feeling and maintaining a good sense of time. A funk bassline will often contain many 16th notes, so it’s important to be able to play accurately and with a consistent sound. Many funk songs also contain bass solos, so it’s also important to be able to improvise and come up with interesting licks.

There are many different types of bass guitars that can be used for funk music. The most popular type is the electric bass guitar, which can be played through an amplifier for a louder sound. Acoustic bass guitars can also be used, although they are not as common in funk bands. Bass players will often use effects pedals to help create their sound, such as distortion pedals or wah pedals.

Some specific bass guitars that have been used in funk bands include the Fender Precision Bass, the Gibson EB-3, and the Music Man StingRay. These are all electric bass guitars that have been used by some famous funk bass players such as Bootsy Collins, Verdine White, and Louis Johnson.

The Funk Bass Line

In funk music, the bass guitar is often used to create a “groove” or “feel” rather than simply provide harmonic support. The bass lines are often syncopated (have accents on off-beats or non-metrical beats), and usually follow the chord progression of the song.

Funk bassists typically use a variety of techniques to create these grooves, including slapping, popping, tapping, and using a range of different tone settings on their instrument.

Some well-known funk bassists include Bootsy Collins, Verdine White, Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius.

Funk Bassists

Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, and Louis Johnson were some of the most popular funk bassists in the 1970s. They helped to define the sound of funk music with their innovative playing style. Let’s take a closer look at their playing style and how it influenced funk music.

Bootsy Collins

Bootsy Collins (born October 26, 1951) is an American musician and singer-songwriter. coils is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he began his career as a teenager in the late 1960s, playing bass guitar with James Brown’s band The J.B.’s. Following the departures of several original members, he became the leader of Parliament-Funkadelic during the 1970s and was instrumental in developing the band’s distinctive sound. Collins has been credited as a founding member of the funk genre and is known for his innovative bass playing. He has also played on numerous other recordings as a session musician and featured artist.

Bernard Edwards

Bernard Edward’s main instrument was a Fender Precision Bass, which he used for the majority of his career. He also occasionally used a Fender Jazz Bass. His unique playing style made use of percussive techniques, such as slapping and popping.

Larry Graham

Larry Graham (born August 14, 1946) is an American bass guitar player. He is credited with the creation of the slapping technique of bass guitar playing, and his innovations with funk music in general. He has worked with Sly and the Family Stone, as well as on his own with Graham Central Station, and has played on albums by artists including Jerry Garcia, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins and Billy Preston.

Born in Beaumont, Texas, he started playing bass guitar at age 10. He wasraised in Oakland, California. His father was a musician who played drums in big bands led by Count Basie and Duke Ellington. After his parents divorced when he was eleven years old, he moved to Pleasanton, California to live with his mother full-time. When he was thirteen years old he joined his first band, the Ramrods. In 1962 he began playing R&B music with multi-instrumentalist Cold Blood.


So, what’s the best bass guitar for funk? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want that classic 70s funk sound, then you’ll want to go with a Fender Precision Bass or a Gibson Les Paul electric bass. If you’re looking for a more modern sound, then you might want to try something like an Ibanez GSR200. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which bass guitar is right for your own personal style of funk.

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