What makes ska/reggae, ska/reggae?

Is there any scales set aside for ska/reggae?

Ive been listening to alot of Sublime, Fishbone, RX bandits,Slightly stoopid, long beach dub allstars and current swell(all great bands), and i want to sound like them in my playing what scales and chords should i learn?

I think ska and reggae is all about rhythm. Its a style with the way you strum on the upbeats. Ive heard pentatonic scales, major scales, natural minor scales, melodic minor scales but the way the artist makes it fit is by accenting on the upbeats. Same with chords. I know.. that didnt help much.
I don't listen to much ska past Reel Big Fish so my opinions may be invalid but...
It's almost always just the normal major scale. What make it ska is the use of either barre chords or just chords on the three highest strings, being played on the upbeat, and scratched on the downbeat. If there are brass instruments, they usually form the melodies, and I believe usually harmonize in octaves or sixths. Again that could be wrong, as I'm not to far into the scene.
Rhythm Rhythm and Rhythm

I'll admit I don't listen to ska but I've seen a ska show and seems like it has a reggae feel to it (lots of upstroked chords on upbeats). I don't listen to much reggae at all either, but I love my dude Bob Marley.

Analyze the progressions to some of your favorite songs, work on your dynamics and rhythm with right hand technique and have a good chord arsenal.

Hopefully someone that's more familiar with the genres can help you.

Edit: Just don't take ska/reggae advice from someone with the username "metal4all"
Last edited by metal4all at Sep 29, 2009,
It all depends on the amount of instruments takien in during the jam, caribbean bands are huge, somewhat near 10 peeps onstage. You might want to spice up the standard rythmic pattern for the guitar, as most of it is made of upstrokes & minor/major chords. Add your own lead inbetween, or blend up different rythms into the same song, anything to make it stand out.

A succesful reggae jam is still composed of approx. 2 chords upstroked on the 3 higher strings, and plentiful of grass consumed prior to jam start.
I love music, if music would be a girl then I'd date her, until then let's get back on Earth
It's all about the One Drop and the Skank. The skank is the upbeat rhythm played on the guitar, and the one drop usually has to do with the bass, when it accents or starts on the third beat of the measure (someone check me on this).

And contrary to popular belief, the skank doesn't have to be upstrokes. In all honesty, I think downstrokes sound better. I think the best way to do it is to (without touching any strings, yet) get a constant down up strumming pattern going with a little bit of swing, looking a bit like this:
1 e + a 2 e + a ...

Now, you're gonna mute the down beat (1 and e) of every beat, now looking like this:
1 e + a 2 e + a ...
x x o o x x o o

(x=muted and o=unmuted). When you mute you're just going to lift your fingers up barely off the frets, so you're still touching the strings. Also, you're gonna make sure you're not strumming every string, you're gonna focus on the higher strings. Make sure your wrist is loose and relaxed too.

Well, there you have it.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea