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How to play reggae?

mertas

Member
Messages
498
could you please give me basic kick off for starting reggae playing. Rhytm is clear to me

nice song:

Are there generally any basic chord progression like X7 - dom - sub - ton 12" bar?
Any common scales? types of chords? any good tutorial on youtube.

all advices apreciated

thanks
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,678
Are there generally any basic chord progression like X7 - dom - sub - ton 12" bar?
No.
Any common scales?
Just the usual.
types of chords?
Just the usual.
any good tutorial on youtube.
Probably. ;)

IOW, reggae uses the same scales, chords and chord sequences as most pop music. It's only the rhythmic approach that's distinctive and different - and you say that's "clear" for you anyway.

I guess you could say that the rhythm guitar tends to use smaller chord shapes, partial ones on the top 3 or 4 strings. But then so does jazz, often. That's not a reggae thing specifically.

I'd also say chord sequences are often simpler than the average pop or rock song - often just 2, 3 or 4 chords in a whole song. If you know movable shapes for major and minor triads (on the top 3 or 4 strings) then you know all you need to know in that respect.

So it comes back to that rhythmic aspect, the short percussive chords on the offbeat. The guitar is actually not a very significant instrument in reggae. Bass and drums (and vocal) are where the action is.

Naturally you should listen to real reggae to get a feel for it (Bob Marley, not Jeff Beck ;)).
Most famous reggae guitarist - probably Ernest Ranglin (check him out on youtube).
 

ShawnH

Member
Messages
1,387
Many songs just a I - IV cadence. If your looking to solo over its pretty much a major scale and/or major pentatonic.

Some nice chord progressions in songs like "please don't rock my boat" and "nice time" are 2 Marley songs that come to mind. Get some nice min7 chords in there etc.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GGinMP

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,342
Ernest Ranglin's the bomb, but I never thought of him as famous (outside the world of music geeks). Peter Tosh was definitely known for his guitar playing.
 

Rob 62

Member
Messages
177
Closely akin to American soul music and R&B, with much of the same vocabulary: sliding sixths, thirds, fourths, double-stops, etc. There are Bob Marley songs that directly quote Al Green, or the Impressions. Try listening to (and playing) a lot of that music, as well as reggae.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrqJphU-1cI
 
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JonR

Member
Messages
15,678
Ernest Ranglin's the bomb, but I never thought of him as famous (outside the world of music geeks). Peter Tosh was definitely known for his guitar playing.
True. It took a while for Ranglin to get noticed.
 

cameron

Member
Messages
4,281
I've never really tried to play reggae as such, though I did play for a singer-songwriter for a while who had some vaguely reggae-flavored items in his repertoire. However, I do have a little experience playing ska, reggae's uptempo cousin genre.

A key factor in playing reggae, ska, or the various Afro-Caribbean genres associated with Cuba, Puerto Rico or the DR, is that the rhythm is independent of the changes, and in itself it's just as important as the changes. A subtle thing rock musicians do, that they're generally not even aware of, is emphasizing the changes by accentuating the first beat when a new chord arrives. In the Caribbean genres you just don't do that - under no circumstances do you introduce a secondary emphasis other than what the beat itself demands. So, when playing rhythm guitar, what you want to strive for in a reggae context is to keep the playing <i>even</i>. Play the changes, without emphasizing that there are changes.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,354
I've never really tried to play reggae as such, though I did play for a singer-songwriter for a while who had some vaguely reggae-flavored items in his repertoire. However, I do have a little experience playing ska, reggae's uptempo cousin genre.

A key factor in playing reggae, ska, or the various Afro-Caribbean genres associated with Cuba, Puerto Rico or the DR, is that the rhythm is independent of the changes, and in itself it's just as important as the changes. A subtle thing rock musicians do, that they're generally not even aware of, is emphasizing the changes by accentuating the first beat when a new chord arrives. In the Caribbean genres you just don't do that - under no circumstances do you introduce a secondary emphasis other than what the beat itself demands. So, when playing rhythm guitar, what you want to strive for in a reggae context is to keep the playing <i>even</i>. Play the changes, without emphasizing that there are changes.
Interesting post!
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
9,006
These should be a good start and easy to figure out the changes....





I don't know the technical term for the guitar playing... but to me it is very percussive.
 

jeffmatz

Member
Messages
325
Guitar playing in reggae has a few roles...the rhythmic punches on 2 and 4 are obvious, but that's not always the guitar's job. Many times the guitar will double the bassline, or play a slight counterpoint, one octave higher. If you check out early Wailers, or Toots and the Maytals, you'll hear a lot of that.

Another role, as mentioned above, is one of melodic fill-ins, often taken from a decidedly American R&B point of view.

Reggae's such a cool synthesis of music and cultural influences.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
What makes reggae reggae, to me anyway, is the rhythmic relationship between instruments. Imagine the bass guitar is the center of the beat. Now, listen to where the guitar and snare drum (and kick) fall relative to the bass. If you listen, you'll hear them as a bit late (reggae), or a bit early (ska). This is what gives the music its distinctive feel. Learned that at the feet of one of my unintentional teachers, this old white rasta who liked having me play guitar while he played bass. He'd tell me to be "patient" with the chords, that "the beat isn't right there" or something. After a while, it just clicked.

Now, I think of "beat" not as a precise point in time, but as a bell-shaped area of probability. The attack of a note can start or the decay can end somewhere in that region, more likely near the center but not always. If you have consistency in how you hit that region, you have feel, and can make the music sound slower or faster than it actually is, by playing ahead of or behind the beat. Get that, and you start really paying attention to the shape of the attack of your notes, and your muting technique. How a chord ends is as important as how it starts.

It might be easier to listen to drummers to hear this at first. Listen to the kick/snare relationship of any really good, groovy drummer, and you'll hear the rush or the drag. It's harder in reggae, where the relationships are more complex.
 

flavaham

Member
Messages
1,866
Reggae is a feel in my opinion. You have to immerse yourself in the groove. Find where you need to be. It's often about what you don't play. It's a very deliberate pulse so you should be able to find some room in there to groove.

The chords are just like any other genre really. Diatonic progressions and stuff. I'd say that you probably want to stay away from the old "cowboy chords" though and get more into triads and four note voicings.

Here's a video with Steve Golding. I'd say he's a better source for this than me. Quite the resume on him!




and another link to some nice stuff about progressions.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1...d-chord-progressions-with-steve-golding_music
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,904
These should be a good start and easy to figure out the changes....


I don't know the technical term for the guitar playing... but to me it is very percussive.

That kind of thing is often referred to as "chucks". One Love would be a single chuck, where as Stir it Up is a double chuck, or chucka. Say the word and listen to the rhythm, makes sense right? Another common term to be aware of is "the bubble", which is more of an organ thing. Similar to the chucka, it's the bounce between the left and right hands on the keyboard.

But yeah, it's a very percussive kind of thing. In fact a common move was to double the guitar track with a cheese grater.
 

euphoria2k12

Member
Messages
614
pretty much like funk,but in a slower swaggier kinda way,like most others said it's all about feel,rhythm and pulse,alot of the accents happen on the "ands"of the rhythm and that should tell you also how to approach soloing if that makes sense,the soloing mirrors the swagger of the rhythm basically..
 

Tomo El Gato

Member
Messages
1,998
fwiw, the typical chordal rhythm style is called 'skank'.
i think the op is perhaps selling the rhythmic aspect of reggae a bit short, as it's a subject as deep as that of swing in jazz.
 

stark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,422
could you please give me basic kick off for starting reggae playing. Rhytm is clear to me

all advices apreciated

thanks
Download some early Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Decker, Burning Spear. Learn all the bass lines note for note on your guitar. Then check out the Skatalites and learn those bass lines note for note. Then learn all the guitar parts. You'll be growing some dreads in no time.
 




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