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“Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

    Difficulty: Intermediate

    Composer – Bob Parissi

    Where to find this song – Wild Cherry track #1

    Release Date – June 1976

    The Band:

    Bob Parissi – lead guitar, vocals

    Bryan Bassett – guitar

    Allen Wentz – bass, synthesizer, vocals

    Ron Beitle – drums, vocals

    Wild Cherry’s claim to fame was the US number 1 and UK Top 10 funky
    dance single, “Play That Funky Music”, Ironically, Wild Cherry
    was a white quintet formed that year in Steubenville, Ohio. Its original
    membership consisted of Bob Parissi (guitar/vocals) and other musicians,
    although they never recorded on any album. The group took its name when
    Parissi, an accident victim laid-up in a hospital for undisclosed reasons,
    looked at a box of cherry-flavoured cough drops, and liked what he saw.

    Main Riff

    There are two guitar parts in the main riff here’s what they sound
    like together (with bass):

    Guitar 1

    Guitar 2

    How To Play It

    Guitar 1

    Begin the first riff by playing the “low E” open once. Now,
    use your 3rd finger to play the seventh fret, and then your 1st finger
    to play the fifth fret, both on the “A” string. Then, just
    move back to the seventh fret with your 3rd finger. This riff is excellent
    for finger exercises. Next, use your 1st finger to perform the hammer-on
    and then go to the seventh fret. This will be performed on the “low
    E” string. To end the first riff, simply use the same progression,
    but do not hammer-on the seventh note. Just move to the “A”
    string and play from the fifth fret to the seventh fret once.

    Guitar 2

    To play the Eb9 chord, barre your 2nd finger over all strings, starting
    from the “D” string and go on to the “high E.” Barre
    these strings on the fifth fret. You may use other fingers, but the
    2nd finger might end up being the most comfortable, because it is usually
    the longest finger, and if you use your 3rd finger to barre the sixth
    frets on the “G” string down to the “high E” string,
    you may see why:

    Eb 9

    To play the E9 chord, simply slide those two fingers down a fret:


    To play the F9, simply drop that 2nd finger down one string and play
    the eighth fret:


    To play the F#9, just slide that 2nd finger down to the ninth fret.
    You are finished! Just play those chords in that order and that is the
    other part of this riff:


    Riff Resources

    Complete Transcription
    To “Play That Funky Music” (PDF)

    Complete Transcription
    To “Play That Funky Music” (Power Tab)