How to Chuck on a Guitar

By Scott Knickelbine
Chucking is one of the defining sounds of funk music.

"Chucking" is a funk guitar technique in which the player plays chords or individual notes with the strings muted or even completely deadened. Muting the strings isn't much of a problem, but because chucking essentially turns the guitar into a rhythm instrument, your timing becomes everything. It's a good idea to practice with a metronome to make sure your chucking rhythm is working with your drummer and not against him.

Practice chucking a note by touching a string with a finger of your left hand, just enough to deaden the sound, and picking the string rhythmically with a pick in your right hand. Press slightly harder to get a muted, but not fully resonant, sound out of the string. Practice playing lead lines using both a deadening and muting pressure.

Practice chucking a chord by playing the chord with just enough pressure to mute the strings and strumming just the muted strings in a rhythmic pattern. This technique works best with barre chords, where you are fingering all the strings on the guitar.

Practice alternating fully voiced notes with chucked notes. For instance, play a fully voiced half note, followed by two chucked quarter notes. Or try a fully voiced chord with a half note and then chuck the chord with eight fast 16th notes. You'll instantly recognize the classic funk sound.

Practice with a metronome as you speed up your chucking patterns to make sure you're staying precisely on rhythm.

Tip

A chucking guitar is frequently played through a wah pedal, so that the fully voiced notes or chords can be distorted as they're played. In a solo, the fully voiced notes can be bent to create the distortion.

Warning

Chucking is an electric guitar technique; deadened or muted notes can rarely be heard on an unamplified guitar.

About the Author

Scott Knickelbine began writing professionally in 1977. He is the author of 34 books and his work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including "The New York Times," "The Milwaukee Sentinel," "Architecture" and "Video Times." He has written in the fields of education, health, electronics, architecture and construction. Knickelbine received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in journalism from the University of Minnesota.