G.Love on Groove

“UNDERSTANDING POCKET PLAYING IS THE key to great groove guitar,” professes G. Love. “The pocket is the way you manipulate the beat to give it swing. Start by thinking of a metronome beat. The pocket is how much space you can put in between when you’re swinging from side-to-side, beat-to-beat—like a pendulum. The idea is to stay as long as you possibly can on each side without loosing the groove. It’s a subtle thing, and the best way to learn it is to listen to the greats. John Lee Hooker is the godfather of groove guitar—he broke his blues down to one-chord vamps. James Brown made the beat funky by emphasizing beat one of each measure. I take fragments of chords and licks I learn from old Delta blues recordings, turn them into repetitive parts—live loops— and then twist them in a hip-hop direction.”