We show you how to create some serious funk with our Nile Rodgers guitar lesson. Learn how to play like Nile Rodgers with 5 key playing habits.

We've teamed up with Leigh Fuge at MGR Music to bring you this simple Nile Rodgers guitar lesson.

If you want to sound like Nile Rodgers or at least play like Nile Rodgers and include some funk infused guitar habits into your playing, these 5 tips and techniques will help!

In this online guitar lesson you’re going to learn some Nile Rodgers style funk chops that can add some incredible dynamics to your playing.

If you’ve listened to anything funk related for the last 40 years, there’s a strong chance you’ve heard Nile Rodgers guitar playing.

Aside from his own group, Chic, Nile has appeared alongside everyone from David Bowie, where he can be heard on "Let's Dance" to Sister Sledge to Daft Punk where he can be heard on the riff from "Get Lucky". To be quite honest, there's thousands of tracks that Nile Rodgers has been on and covering them all with this guitar habits lesson would take years.

To give you an insight into the Nile Rodgers guitar technique, we've put together this guitar habits lesson, so you can see how Nile Rodgers sculpts chords, how he uses single funk notes and more.

So watch the video below, grab your Stratocaster and compressor pedals and join us for this quick Nile Rodgesr guitar habits run down.

It’s time to get funky!

Watch our Nile Rodgers Guitar Lesson Video

Playing Habit #1 - Nile Rodgers Style Chord Extensions 

Nile Rodgers Style Chord Extensions

Video section: 1:16

This first Nile Rodgers style chord example is based around an Em7 chord with some added extensions.

The extensions take place in the second bar. By adding the 10th fret on the E string to the Em7 chord, you’re still playing an Em7 chord but adding an additional D note to the upper octave. D is already the m7 note in the chord. Extending it up to this octave of D just gives the chord a more interesting flavour.

There is also a quick chordal hammer on in the first bar to watch out for.

Then drop that extended D down a semitone to a C# and you get an Em7add6.

Playing Habit #2 - Nile Rodgers Style Triad Chords

Nile Rodgers Style Triad Chords 1
Nile Rodgers Style Triad Chords 2

Video section 3:52

Triads are a great way to play some shorter funk chords, especially if you’re new to the genre. They're also a huge part of the Nile Rodgers sound and a key playing habit.

This example is based around a Bm, Bbm, Am, G and C triad chord.
These make for great high sounding funk rhythms. In a band situation this means your lower notes also aren’t getting in the way of the busy basslines.

Playing Habit #3 - Single Note Funk Riffs In the Style Of Nile Rodgers

Single Note Funk Riffs In the Style Of Nile Rodgers
Single Note Funk Riffs In the Style Of Nile Rodgers 2

Video section: 7:11

This single note funk riff in teh style of Nile Rodgers proves that you don’t need to know loads of crazy chord shapes to create cool sounding funk. This is all based around a simple 5th and 7th fret rhythm and a bunch of muted notes thrown in.

This style of playing has been very influential on players like John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Of Course, this is a key Nile Rodgers playing habit.

Playing Habit #4 - Interesting Chord Voicings 

nile rodgers chord voicings 1
nile rodgers chord voicings 2

Video section: 9:54

No Nile Rodgers guitar lesson would be complete without talking bout his style of chord phrasing. Nile Rodgers is known for making simple chords sound incredible due to his style of voicing. 

If you do want to dig a little deeper into Nile's chord phrasing, this example is full of interesting chords that are reminiscent of the Nile Rodgers style.

Inspired by the Bowie song "Let’s Dance" it showcases the sort of chords Nile plays. He comes from a jazz background so you can expect to see some unusual choices from time to time.

This is made up of a Bb7sus4, Bbm6, Ebm7 and Bbm7.

Playing Habit #5 - Percussive Playing Style

Percussive Playing Style 1
Nile Rodgers Percussive Playing Style 2

Video section: 12:08

Percussive playing is a big part of funk rhythms and a key Nile Rodgers guitar habit. Those muted notes are important to capture some groove between your accented chords. This is inspired by the Chic song Good Times and showcases a rhythm that changes bar to bar. Bar one is more driving and direct while bar 2 is more stab orientated.

This uses an Em7 chord with the added octave D note in the second bar. Followed by another repeat of the rhythm using a Dsus2 and a Dmaj7.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player and tutor from Swansea in South Wales and a guitar writer having written and produced content for Guitar Magazine and many other high profile guitar publications and websites.

If you enjoyed this article and video about John Mayer's guitar habits and playing techniques, don’t forget to check out PMTVUK on Youtube for more guitar lesson videos.

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