#1
I've receantly gotten into Reggae and Reggae guitar and I was wondering if the UG community had any tips. I already know that you play the off beat, alot of up stumming, and playing only parts of chords but is there anything else important that I should know?

Thanks for your answers
#2
that's pretty much it. just study how different artists you like write songs, pay attention to the chord progression and such. it's pretty much the same as learning any other style of music - listen to and study the style.
#3
On another thread, I was talking about playing less. I came upon this when a band I was in was doing dub reggae. Often what you aren't playing is as important as what you are playing. I know it sounds stupid, but it isn't. Reggae is about feeling it. If you're an uptight white-boy, people will know. It is a flow. It is all about rhythm. You either get it, or you don't.

Google Robbie & Sly, aka--Bass & Trouble. These guys had a hand in almost every well known Reggae artist in the '80's. For true roots, listen to some Marley(obviously), Bunny Wailer. I've got to stop. I love this genre. I can give you the names of so many people who do it well, I'd have a huge post. Just one more, on the Brit vibe Steel Pulse does some very cool stuff.

Edit: There are some more modern artists I like too. PM me if you want to get a huge list. The thing about Reggae is it is a culture of sorts. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in Jamaica. They listen to what's hot in the US, but they make it their own. Cool as it gets.
Last edited by chokmool at Jan 2, 2010,
#4
Quote by chokmool
If you're an uptight white-boy, people will know. It is a flow. It is all about rhythm. You either get it, or you don't.
what does being white (or a boy) have to do with it?? People will be able to tell through listening if you're uptight and lack flow, but not if you're white or black or male or female.
Si
#5
Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I'm an uptight white boy. What I was clumsily trying to say, is that Reggae is cultural. When I was in Jamaica, just hearing their voices, the natural rhythm of the way they spoke, was very cool. Call me racist if you want to, but most of the preppy frat-boys I've met wouldn't appreciate how wonderful and deep the culture is. They'd just rape it for a few bucks if they could.

Happy now ya bumbaclot?
#6
yeah, use your top three strings also. Much lower than that and it interferes with the featuring bass line that is quite characteristic of reggae.

Concentrate on really not playing very much. That's the bass' job.
#7
yeah and try muted single note lines ...very common in reggae and it sounds really cool
#8
Quote by chokmool

Happy now ya bumbaclot?

No need for namecalling ya batty boy.

but really, work on making your skanks (offbeat upstrokes on top 3-maybe4 strings) as staccato as possible. Another common technique is to double the bassline on guitar with palm mutes, or as said earlier, play some minimal muted single note lines with some bursts of tremolo on select notes.

if you want to keep up with modern reggae standards, a delay pedal is a must. Depending on the song, set it to dotted 1/8 or 1/4 note repeats.
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#9
Quote by Zigioman
I've receantly gotten into Reggae and Reggae guitar and I was wondering if the UG community had any tips. I already know that you play the off beat, alot of up stumming, and playing only parts of chords but is there anything else important that I should know?

Thanks for your answers



Listen to a lot of reggae and isolate and analyze what the guitar is doing. You can't "fake" reggae. Its a lot harder than most people think...and a lot more diverse. Also study New Orleans Funk and second line line grooves and clave playing, because there's a lot of very cool fundamental concepts.
#10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6U-TGahwvs

Watch Bob's right hand. Do that.

The video/audio are not synced, but hopefully you can tell what he's doing.

Rarely are you going to play just upstrokes. It's a combination of muted/unmuted downstrokes/upstrokes. It's not just upbeat upstrokes. That sounds rather awkward, and the point of reggae is to be relaxed and just groove on it. A loose right wrist is important, and a dynamic left hand (it'll hold the barre chord position, but it will be alternating between fretted and muted. Here's the pattern of everything:

D=downstroke, U=upstroke, x=muted (or not played at all, just miss the strings with the pick), o=fretted

1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a
D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
x x o o x x o o x x o o x x o o
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#11
Basically what everyone has said above me is true. Theory is still important, but reggae is about feel. It is not very complex and looks easy, but to be a great reggae guitarist is no easy task. Listen to, and absorb as much of the music and culture as you can. Check out:

Bob Marley
Peter Tosh
Dennis Brown
Burning Spear
King Tubby
Eek-a-mouse
Barrington Levy
Toots & the Maytals
Sublime
Slightly Stoopid
Pepper
Jah Roots
Passafire (possibly the most talented band out there now)
Tomorrow's Bad Seeds
880 South
Easy Star All-Stars

Also check out some books on Jamaica, Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell, and Bob Marley, they will help you see how reggae came about.

Also, look to what the original reggae artists listened to; the blues, ska, old R&B(motown/stax kind of stuff), and New Orleans jazz. And check out Fela Kuti and Count Ossie.