Beginner Funk Bass Made Simple (Bootsy’s Funk Formula)


You can be a total beginner, know no theory, and still use this formula to kill it with beginner funk bass and beyond.

Jump right in - 0:46
Hear Bootsy Collins talk about “the one” - 3:02
Learn the groove we’re gonna play - 5:27
Slow playalong - 8:18
Find the right notes with the Funk Box - 9:20
Medium playalong - 10:40
Full playalong - 11:21
Test out the Funk Box yourself - 13:14

Sheet music + tab for our funky playalong:

Had you ever heard Bootsy or anyone else talk about “the one” before? Did this lesson help clarify what that means?

Music Description and Notation Questions

Nicely done, @JoshFossgreen :slight_smile:

Gives me some good ideas for getting into a different music style.

Thanks and all best, Joe


Agreed! I loved the bit of music knowledge/history you detailed with this as well as the instruction for the riff. Though it’s a wee bit tough for me at this stage (I’m hoping my left hand “gets” it pretty soon!), it’s certainly fun stuff to give a try!



Killer video.
Killer production.

Also - Bootsie reigns supreme.

So does the formula. My first time seeing that.


+1 here, super happy to see these new videos.


Thanks everybody!

@Gio, isn’t that old Bootsy clip at 3:40 so cool! That inspired the whole video, trying to break down what he was saying without any gaps.

Funny story I discovered while researching this video (I forget which Bootsy interview it was in) - apparently when Bootsy met George Clinton, he had to teach him where the one was. Like, meaning that George Clinton couldn’t count 4/4 time when they first started. Pretty wild.

So apparently “on the one” wasn’t just a way of making the music feel funky, it also had a practical role of keeping funky fellas from getting lost!



Dude is so deep in outer space - he knows the 1, feels the 1, but doesn’t count the 1… That’s a trip in and of itself.


I mean, maybe he wasn’t feeling the one clearly when he first got together with Bootsy? I don’t know what he’d put out before then, if anything? Anyway, as I understand the story, it’s something Bootsy got him into in the early days, so I doubt there are any Parliament records that are pre-George-knowing-where-the-one-is.


Duuuude. This needs its own documentary.
(start movie trailer voice:)
The One.
A Film about Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, The P-Funk, and the Most Important Beat in the History of Funk.


I’m on board as long as they get Laurence Fishburne to narrate. :slight_smile:


This lesson rocked! Just got a bass a few days ago, found this on YouTube, and started playing it. I’d never even picked up a bass prior to a week ago. Complete beginner, just started learning electric guitar 3 weeks ago, and was somehow drawn to learning bass concurrently. Just signed up for your course, and love it so far. Thanks for putting your time into this man!


Hey, @Vik . . . welcome to the Forums :slight_smile:

You’ll definitely enjoy the course and will get a lot out of it.

I know I sure am! All best and good luck, Joe


Are there any modern songs with the ONE or is it mainly an old school thing?


“Uptown Funk” does a similar thing. What makes it sound like funk to me is that strong beat on the one every other measure that brings it home.


Agreed . . . and it’s a great little box diagram that I’ve been having some fun with too! Very useful concept. All best, Joe :slight_smile:


Modern music does this all the time - especially dance music.
EDM is basically THE ONE… just louder… and with less sway in the hips.
Any dance-based song is all about these big hits on the one.
Check out some of the favorites and see if you can find it. If not - link something and I’ll check it out.


That’s awesome to hear Vik! Glad the lesson made sense to you even though you’re just starting, that’s what I was going for.

That’s great, you’ll be the kind of guitar player that bassists like to play with. :slight_smile:

And @Chris, it’s definitely still a thing, especially since Bootsy is still putting out records! Here’s a track from 2017: (and yeah that’s Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten sneaking around on the track…)


Ha! Wellllll… that’s kinda cheating - since it’s still Bootsy.
But… dang. Go Bootsy.
Yabba dabba dooo, baby.