#1
I have been recently getting into ska. And I want to be able to play it on my guitar but not sure how. Can anyone please tell me how to play the ska sound. What strumming pattern do i use and what not.
Thanks
#2
Upstrokes.

Mute on downstrokes(with either picking hand, fretting hand or both).

Clean amp, possibly a bit of chorus if you like the two tone kinda sound.

Major and minor barre chords are used fairly frequently aswell.
#4
mute the downstrokes and when you upstroke do it lightly. you usually only have to upstroke the top 3 strings, then mute all going down the repeat.

edit- get a good clean with some treble to make it sound good, thats what i do at least
#5
Well, it all depends what pattern you're using. Watch a lot of sublime live videos and you'll see that Brad strums quite often on the way down. Sometimes the note will call for the bass-laden tone and sometimes the treble-laden. That'll determine at least which way you go.
#6
What you do is downstrokes on the beat and upstrokes on the and of the beat.
Mute the downstrokes and play the upstrokes.

Use barre chords but only hit the top strings.

Some bands (Streetlight Manifesto) do this really fast so you might have to practice for a while to get used to it.
#7
sometimes dont mute the string, more pull your left hand of the fretboard slightly to make ghost notes, rather than palm muting (if this is what the guys above are talking about).

ska bands i would say, streetlight manifesto (best ska band imo), less than jake, sublime, specials, madness, and... FANDANGLE!!! a fantastic upcoming band, some may have heard of...

older stuff like jimmy cliff, toots and the maytals, (maybe more reggae, but still upstroke guitars...)
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#8
less than jake is pretty much a mockery of ska. Their first albums aren't. but they're a bad example. I learned how to play ska guitar from this article on cyber fret

http://www.cyberfret.com/styles/ska/101/index.php

Then I learned my town by buck o nine. You should probably start out with two tone stuff, like the specials and the madness. Streetlight manifesto is hard to play because Tomas really doesn't use straigh upstrokes, he's got weird picking patterns.

Also reel big fish is really straight forward ska strokes alot. And it's fun to play. Sublime is a good place to start too. It's hard to find ska tabs alot because when you start getting into it it gets very underground


and when people say "ska needs crazy treble" it's not true, why would hollowbodys be popular if ska required treble? it needs chorus and reverb, that's what gives the illusion of alot of treble, really you want a good balance of treble and bass, because you want those bass notes to shine through when you're playing full barre chords. but you still want the treble punch.
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Last edited by l3p4rd at Oct 6, 2008,
#9
Not to be cliche, but give the search bar a shot. I see this thread every other day, and there are some VERY detailed and elaborate responses out there that some UG members were kind enough to type out.
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#10
Ska or Ska punk?

Ska often has the same tempo as punk, but different strumming technique and most ska bands use barre chords...most of the time.

what i suggest you do is listen to some good ska & ska punk bands, get the rythym right.

Good ska bands : Reel Big Fish, Planet Smashers, Sublime (some), Catch 22

Good Ska punk bands : Citizen Fish, Big D and the Kids Table, Choking Victim, Leftover Crack, Morning Glory, Operation Ivy, The Flatliners, Rancid (i know alot more ska punk bands than regular ska...)

once you get the rythym right, learn some songs you like, and you'll notice common techniques in ska/ ska punk

when i write my own ska / ska punk songs I like to use barre chords for cleans, and when the distortion kicks in I usually use power chords... and as for solos I usually make them a little more bluesy than my other solos.

For cleans I prefer for my tone not to be very warm, so i usually use the bridge pickup...and as a rule i dont use much bass on my amp. as for distortion I just usually use my DS-1 or Double Muff.

I never realized chorus was so popular in ska.... but if people say it's popular you should give it a shot.

feel free to PM me if you have any more questions
Last edited by Swap-Meet at Oct 6, 2008,
#11
Quote by Swap-Meet
Ska or Ska punk?

Ska often has the same tempo as punk, but different strumming technique and most ska bands use barre chords...most of the time.

what i suggest you do is listen to some good ska & ska punk bands, get the rythym right.

Good ska bands : Reel Big Fish, Planet Smashers, Sublime (some), Catch 22

Good Ska punk bands : Citizen Fish, Big D and the Kids Table, Choking Victim, Leftover Crack, Morning Glory, Operation Ivy, The Flatliners, Rancid (i know alot more ska punk bands than regular ska...)

once you get the rythym right, learn some songs you like, and you'll notice common techniques in ska/ ska punk

when i write my own ska / ska punk songs I like to use barre chords for cleans, and when the distortion kicks in I usually use power chords... and as for solos I usually make them a little more bluesy than my other solos.

For cleans I prefer for my tone not to be very warm, so i usually use the bridge pickup...and as a rule i dont use much bass on my amp. as for distortion I just usually use my DS-1 or Double Muff.

I never realized chorus was so popular in ska.... but if people say it's popular you should give it a shot.

feel free to PM me if you have any more questions



chorus is popular is 2 tone ska. Stuff like morning glory, leftover crack tends to use light overdrive for their upstrokes, but that's the difference between ska and skapunk or skacore.

When UG users post stuff like this their typically just starting to listen to ska, so usually I compare stuff to reel big fish, less than jake and other more mainstream ska bands of the current day.
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#12
Quote by l3p4rd
chorus is popular is 2 tone ska. Stuff like morning glory, leftover crack tends to use light overdrive for their upstrokes, but that's the difference between ska and skapunk or skacore.

When UG users post stuff like this their typically just starting to listen to ska, so usually I compare stuff to reel big fish, less than jake and other more mainstream ska bands of the current day.


I've never listened to a single song by less than jake, so i really know nothing about them....are they any good?
#13
Quote by Swap-Meet
I've never listened to a single song by less than jake, so i really know nothing about them....are they any good?



They're nothing too special, they have a few catchy decent songs, their voices get annoying quickly though.
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#14
there are a bunch of vids on youtube about this too. and if you want texbook upstroke/skank technique, listen to the planet smashers. and for the record, reel big fish is NOT a real ska band, they play ska/punk or ska/rock.
#15
Quote by chumpzilla
there are a bunch of vids on youtube about this too. and if you want texbook upstroke/skank technique, listen to the planet smashers. and for the record, reel big fish is NOT a real ska band, they play ska/punk or ska/rock.


uhhh.... If you think that makes a band not a "real" ska band...what does?

Most ska bands play Ska & punk/pop punk/hardcore, or ska & rock/alt, or Ska & Reggae...I really can't think of many bands that would be what you call a "real" ska band.
#16
Quote by chumpzilla
there are a bunch of vids on youtube about this too. and if you want texbook upstroke/skank technique, listen to the planet smashers. and for the record, reel big fish is NOT a real ska band, they play ska/punk or ska/rock.


I hate people like you. Just quit being ignorant. Reel big fish is real ska. If you wanna be all technical like you're being then there hasn't been real ska since the 1st wave. The Planet smashers aren't the ultimate ska band and they certainly didn't perfect anything. Somebody needs a history lesson.
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#17
Quote by l3p4rd
I hate people like you. Just quit being ignorant. Reel big fish is real ska. If you wanna be all technical like you're being then there hasn't been real ska since the 1st wave. The Planet smashers aren't the ultimate ska band and they certainly didn't perfect anything. Somebody needs a history lesson.

the planet smaserhs, in my eyes, stay much truer to ska than rbf. theres just something that puts me off about rbf. there has been some real ska since the first wave, but its more or less rocksteady thats fairly popular today and is most reminiscent of early ska. and as for the thing about the planet smashers being perfect, i just meant that they did the whole upstroke thing very well, and its a good place to start learning that technique.
#18
Quote by chumpzilla
the planet smaserhs, in my eyes, stay much truer to ska than rbf. theres just something that puts me off about rbf. there has been some real ska since the first wave, but its more or less rocksteady thats fairly popular today and is most reminiscent of early ska. and as for the thing about the planet smashers being perfect, i just meant that they did the whole upstroke thing very well, and its a good place to start learning that technique.


dude...pretty much every ska band does the upstroke technique very "well"...It's not like it's a hard thing to do Up stroke (strum the chord), down stroke (strum the mute).
#19
C'mon guys, stop fighting over what is 'true ska'; let's all skank in unision.

Anyways, OP, try checking out the UG tab for Keasbey Nights by Streetlight Manifesto. The chords are basic and the strumming patterns are ones that are often used in ska.

If you want to play your own ska, just pick a few different major / minor barre chords and start playing those upbeat upstrokes.

Good luck dude.
#20
Quote by Skatality
C'mon guys, stop fighting over what is 'true ska'; let's all skank in unision.

Anyways, OP, try checking out the UG tab for Keasbey Nights by Streetlight Manifesto. The chords are basic and the strumming patterns are ones that are often used in ska.

If you want to play your own ska, just pick a few different major / minor barre chords and start playing those upbeat upstrokes.

Good luck dude.

I agree with the first part, that's why i stopped arguing, ska is about being unified anyways and having fun.

Streetlight is hard to start out with, Tomas uses some cracked out rhythms and are often very fast.

I'd look at some stuff by the specials
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