Guitars for Funk – FAQ & Buyer’s Guide!

Funk1 is a genre where the guitarist takes a step back and stops leading the song. He becomes a rhythm player and brings some grooves into the mix.

Playing funk isn’t dependent on the equipment but the technique. It’s easy to learn and tough to master a technique that gives funk songs that distinguished vibe. That being said, some guitars definitely favor the genre.

In this article, I’ll review some of the best amateur guitars for funk.

Best Choice
Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar
Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar
Best Choice
The Fender Player Series offers quality at a relatively low price. This Stratocaster is versatile and excellent for funk and any other genre.
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Although it’s all in the technique, there’s also an expectation of what funk should sound like. Funk has a bright, clean tone that cuts through the mix.

The guitars on my list are not only good enough for funk, but they’re also excellent novice guitars.

Best Guitar for Funk — Comparison Table

ImageProduct 
Best choice
Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar review
Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar
  • Budget Fender Stratocaster
  • Super-versatile guitar
  • Great finish

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Also great
2020 GROTE BRAND Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar review
2020 GROTE BRAND Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
  • Gibson ES-335 aesthetic at a low price
  • Warm and clean tones
  • Great for old-school funk

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Best value
Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster review
Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster
  • Good quality for the price
  • Great for country and blues

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Great for rock
Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster Beginner Hard Tail Electric Guitar - HSS review
Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster Beginner Hard Tail Electric Guitar - HSS
  • Frugal
  • Great for future modifications
  • Discount Stratocaster

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Great Everyday Guitar
Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar review
Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar
  • The famous Les Paul tone at a budget
  • Excellent for hard rock
  • Brings something new for funk

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Best Guitar for Funk Review

1. Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar

Features

  • Budget Fender Stratocaster
  • Super-versatile guitar
  • Great finish

Specifications

  • Alder body wood
  • 2-point tremolo
  • Bent steel straddles

The Fender Stratocaster1 is the most recognized guitar in the world. It’s used by players across every music genre and has been so ever since the Stratocaster was first made. Its twang and brightness — as well as it’s easy to play neck — make the Fender Stratocaster a fantastic guitar for funk.

This particular model is the Fender Player Stratocaster. Fender has many versions of the same model: Player Series, Made in Mexico, American, Custom Shop, and a few others. Although the Player Series is a budget Fender, at the end of the day, a Fender is still a Fender. Yes, this is less expensive than an American Fender — the finishing might not be as polished, and the American pickups might sound better, but this is still a fine guitar.

It’s an affordable way to get a Fender that will last you for as long as you care for it. Entry-level players might lose their interest with a low-cost guitar; although this is a cheap Fender, by no means it is a shabby guitar.

The Stratocaster is great for funk and is the choice of players such as Jimi Hendrix and John Frusciante. This guitar is in a variety of colors and finishes, and you will be impressed.


Where are Fender Player Stratocasters made?

The Fender Player series is manufactured in Mexico. You can find the manufacturing location of every Fender guitar in the back of the headstock.

What color is the pickguard?

The pickguard and the pickups are light cream not 100% white.

Does the maple neck have a gloss or a satin finish?

This guitar’s neck has a satin finish. 

Who this is for?

Someone looking for a cheap Fender.

Why I like it?

Although they are budget Fenders, the Player Series look, sound and feel as good as any other Fender.

2. 2020 GROTE BRAND Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar

Features

  • Gibson ES-335 aesthetic at a low price
  • Warm and clean tones
  • Great for old-school funk

Specifications

  • Full-scale neck
  • 3-way switch
  • Made in Korea

Hollow body guitars2 are a staple of blues and jazz. They produce clean and warm sounds and have been used since the ’30s. They’re adaptable guitars (as Chuck Berry showed us with his rock and roll) and can also be great for funk.

The 2020 Grote semi-hollow is a terrific entry-level hollow body guitar that will suit most amateur musicians. This is a good choice if you love the hollow body aesthetic and it’s sound — although, to be honest, since this is a guitar for rookies, its sound shouldn’t be a concern.

For its price, this guitar sounds awesome. It has a warm tone with a boosted low-end and a decent high-end. It will not sound like a Gibson ES-335 (even if it looks similar), but it is more than acceptable.

Out of the box, it lacks readiness, but that’s typical with online-bought guitars. After a proper setup this guitar feels and plays fine. The electronics are a great base for future modifications.



Can you play this guitar without an amp?


You can play this guitar without an amplifier, but the sound will be muted. This instrument is meant to be played with an amp.


What material is the nut?


The nut is made of bone.


Is there a left-handed version?


Yes. Grote Band also makes left-handed models of their guitars.

Who this is for?

Someone looking for a hollow body newbie guitar.

Why I like it?

This hollow-body guitar has a nice finish and sounds great.

3. Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster

Features

  • Good quality for the price
  • Great for country and blues

Specifications

  • Two single-coil Telecaster pickups
  • “C”-shaped neck
  • Six-saddle bridge

Squier is Fender’s more accessible brand. Like the parent company, Squier also has a range. From best to worst, it goes as follows: Bullet, Affinity, Standard, Vintage Modified, and Classic Vibe. 

The Affinity is a solid series for inexperienced musicians offering an excellent foundation to learn the basics. 

The materials and the finishes are low cost. However, those are not necessary when you just want to gain experience.

When it comes to funk playing, the Telecaster might not be ideal; a Stratocaster would do better. Still, for the price, the Squier Affinity Telecaster is a decent guitar.

The Telecaster has a rich, mellow sound that doesn’t translate well into funk.

It’s an excellent buy if you also play styles such as country. As a funk guitar, it is acceptable, but if you’re looking exclusively for a funk guitar, other options should be considered.



Does this guitar have a solid alder wood body?


Indeed. The Squier Affinity Telecaster has a five-piece solid wood body. Fender American guitars have a three-piece solid wood body.


Does this guitar have a satin or gloss finish on the neck?


This guitar has a satin finish.


What strings does this guitar come with?


This guitar comes with Fender .09-.42 strings.

Who this is for?

Someone looking for a guitar capable of blues and country or who admires the Telecaster look.

Why I like it?

The Squier Affinity Telecaster has an excellent quality (both construction and sound wise) for its price.

4. Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster Beginner Hard Tail Electric Guitar – HSS

Features

  • Inexpensive
  • Great for future modifications
  • Discount Stratocaster

Specifications

  • Five-way pickup switch
  • Hardtail bridge
  • “C”-shaped neck

I mentioned the Affinity series, which is good enough for its price. Here, we have the Bullet series. Make no mistake: this is an absolute freshman guitar. It’s good enough for someone who has never held an instrument in his life, and that’s it.

If you’re aware that the construction is below average, the electronics are subpar, and that the finish is poor, then this is a sufficient guitar for what it is. Nonetheless, this guitar is an excellent base for modifications.

Because they’re Stratocasters, they’re great for funk. Since it’s a Squier Bullet, they’re not great at all. If you’re not planning on modifications, don’t want to buy a new guitar in the near future, and have an ample budget, then find something else.

If this guitar is what you can afford, then understand you can learn on it and play funk, but you’ll look for an upgrade in no time.

For an extreme budget, it does its job.



Does this guitar ship with any extras?


No. This is just the guitar with no extras.


What does HSS mean?


HSS refers to the pickups. This guitar has a humbucker (H) on the bridge and two single-coil (S) pickups.


Do you need to set up this guitar, or does it play alright straight out of the box?


Since this is a less expensive guitar (and might get knocked around during delivery), always do a setup. There might be some fret buzz and other playability issues otherwise.

Who this is for?

A novice on an extreme budget or someone looking for a modification base.

Why I like it?

At this price, you get what you paid for.

5. Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar

Features

  • The famous Les Paul tone at a budget
  • Excellent for hard rock
  • Brings something new for funk

Specifications

  • Okoume body and neck
  • Slimtaper D profile neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard

When mentioning a funk guitar, you don’t necessarily think of a Les Paul. There’s a reason why Les Pauls are unusual in funk: the genre shines with bright and poppy tones, the opposite of a Les Paul tone.

However, plenty of reasons exist to use a Les Paul as a funk guitar. First of all, there’s nobody stopping you. It’s music, not math: rules are meant to be broken. The warm sound of the Epiphone Les Paul can bring something new to the table. 

There’s also the versatility question. Are you planning on playing funk exclusively? Chances are you’ll discover something else. If you also enjoy hard rock and the likes, then the Epiphone3 Les Paul is the perfect choice.

Epiphone is to Gibson what Squier is to Fender. The quality and the big brother support are all there — at a budget.



Is there a left-handed version of this guitar?


Yes. Epiphone has left-handed versions of their guitars.


Is this a solid body guitar?


Affirmative.


Is this a junior-sized guitar?


No. This is a full-sized guitar.

Who this is for?

Someone also interested in hard rock.

Why I like it?

A Les Paul at a budget; what’s not to love?

Best Guitar for Funk Buyer’s Guide

Guitar for Funk Parts

Guitar for Funk Parts

How do you play funk guitar?

Funk guitar is defined by a percussive and often muted rhythmic sound. Chords and melodies are rare, and riffs, when they exist, are simple.

This percussive, rhythmic way of playing might be tricky to get a hang of. It involves a lot of muting with your fretting hand and requires some speed.

The best way of learning how to play funk guitar is by listening to funk and learning the guitar parts of those melodies. Although diverse, many songs feature similar guitar rhythms.

While chords are rare in funk music, chord positions are not. The fingers are placed on the fretboard as if you were playing a chord, but instead of hitting every note at the same time, you only hit one or two.

The 9th and the 13th chord are two popular chord positions in funk music. Yet, as with everything in music, it varies from song to song.

What are the best bass strings for funk?

Best Choice
Rotosound FM66 Swing Bass 66 Stainless Steel Funkmaster Bass Guitar Strings
Rotosound FM66 Swing Bass 66 Stainless Steel Funkmaster Bass Guitar Strings
Best Bass Strings for Funk
When playing funk bass, the performance should stand out. This means playing complex, funky rhythms, which might involve slapping.

The sound should be bright. Roundwound strings have a brighter sound than flatwounds. Aim for a light size to enhance the brightness of the sound.

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What’s the best bass amp for funk?

Best Choice
Fender Rumble 25 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier
Fender Rumble 25 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier
Best Bass AMP for Funk
Any decent bass amp is good for funk. An amplifier with a compressor will enhance the sound, but if you don’t have an amp with a built-in compressor, a pedal could be utilized.
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What’s the best wah pedal for funk?

Best Choice
Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah
Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah
Best Wah Pedal for Funk
A good wah pedal can be used in a variety of genres. Dunlop's Cry Baby is the standard when it comes to wah pedals. It's great for funk any other genre.
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Conclusion

Funk is not about the equipment, but about the groove. You don’t need a special guitar to funk — any guitar is satisfactory if your heart’s in it.

Even so, there’s no shame in having a dedicated funk guitar. That guitar should be bright and clean, and with an easy to play neck. The Fender Player Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar fits the bill and is the best guitar for that price.

That being said, you won’t go wrong with the guitars in my list. Funk on!

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Stratocaster
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-acoustic_guitar
  3. http://persepolis.wisc.edu/epiphone_special_ii_manual.pdf

About the author

John Tschop

John Tschop

I am a music fan who is fond of different instruments and genres. The member of Klinger-McFry Band. We launched StereoShore to discuss proven tips, tutorials, and insights.

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