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can anyone give me a crash course in reggae or carribian music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fr0me0, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    can anyone give me a crash course in reggae or carribian music. I just got a call from a band askign me to come down in jam next weekl. I told them I am pretty much have only played jazz classic rock and metal and they want me to come down anyways.

    bassically want to know if there's any tricks I should know, what kinda scales its usually based around and how to approach it rhythmically. I'm gonna download some stuff this weekend but if anony could give me som tips beforhand it would be much appreciated.


  2. I've really only done a handful of reggae tunes in my life, but my take on it is there are no tricks to it. it's like learning any other genre of music, you will have to listen to it and immerse yourself in it.

    One example, the relationship between the bass and drummer is a little different. There is a common slow reggae drum pattern where they place a single bass drum beat on the three. If you have never heard it before and use to the down beat on the one, it could throw you off a little. Stuart Copland used it quite a bit with the Police. It's not a tough as it sounds though. The bass lines usually are pretty melodic and carry the tune.

    Technique, depending on the tune a little palm muting at the bridge.

    If it where me, I would have suggested they sent me a tape\cd with some tunes to learn. Try Bob Marley's Get Up, Stand Up. It's easy to learn and fun to play. You can't go wrong with Bob Marley.
  3. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Reggae bass is simple and repetitive. The line never changes, find your groove and stick to it. It helps to have a lazy, behind the beat feel and a huge, fat sound. No rear pickup Jaco tone for this, crank de bass mon.

    Reggae is built off standard licks or riddims that get used over and over. Yeah, you can make stuff up, but the style is mostly about knowing the standard patterns and using them.

    If it wasn't considered inappropriate around here, I'd tell you about a great book about Reggae Bass, but I can't so I won't. :bag:
  4. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    If you can play jazz, you shouldn't have much trouble learning the basics of reggae. The advice already given is great, but remember there are exceptions, listen for example "I shot the sheriff" on the wailers' "burnin'" album (they were only the wailers for some time, then it was bob marley and the wailers). It's got a great bass line and it's rather upbeat compared to most reggae tunes. But I agree with most already said, just lay back, relax and have a good time. Oh, and have a spliff if you can/like ;)
  5. He can't cos he wrote the book, but I can!

    It's a great book to kick start you on your way - if you are an accomplished bass player you will chew through this and will be able to quickly come up to speed with the main stylistic aspects.

    ... and there's some good fun stuff in there too!

    Reggae Bass by Ed Friedland
  6. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Smoke some weed!!!
    You'll get it!:cool:

  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    In terms of life advice, this aint good! But it has to be said that smoking weed does give you a certain insight into the feel of ska, reggae and dub </redeye>

    Style-wise, Sly & Robbie's greatets hits and Marley & The Wailers - Babylon By Bus will give you a load of great stuff to work from.

    Essentially it's pretty much root, 3rd, 5th and octave only. Like Ed says, very simple, repetative lines - often a line that has two subtely different endings every 8 bars. Keep it as simple as possible, often dropping beat one sounds good, if you play minor use aeolian. If in doubt, always drop a note and play less!

    Sound: neck pickup, play right up by the fretboard with fingers or thumb, turn up the bass, roll of the mid and treble completely!
  8. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    I'm in a similar situation: our singer booked us to a bob marley/peter tosh tribute/charity concert, with the proceeds going to some hippy cause (Save the crash pad) or something.

    We're learning 4 tunes from each, and....it's relatively simple. Lay back a lot, very bassy tone, don't let the "backwards" placement of the snare/high hat mess you up, and just play chord tones.
  9. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Well, that works too....
  10. fatsobasso


    Dec 24, 2005
    Ormond florida
    i studied reggae bass, for 2 years,played many many songs,immersed myself in the style and culture,it is not as easy to play as some might say,it really is an art form to play reggae
    the right way.
  11. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    I'm glad you agree on that even if I never smoked weed to play reggae.
    But if there is a style of music that rely strongly on a laid back feel (associated with been high) it is reggae music.
    On a more sober state,reggae music rely on a bass line based on the chord tones 1,3,5 with occasional missing downbeats and triplet feel that give a laid back feel by putting the accent on the third beat of the bar.
    One of the best way to know a style of music is by listening to some classics in the style and then analyse them.

    Carribean music(Merengue) is a bit different on the feel: it is forward as far as the pulse and based typically on triads

    Hope this will help,
  12. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    For Jah sake....What ever you do.....Don't thump anything!

    Just listen to as many Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Israel Vibrations albums as you can find. Pay attention to the drum beats. There are just a few basic patterns on the drums, with a ton of variation.

    Learn what a One-Drop is!

    Keep in mind that in Reggae the bass often takes on a more melodic role than in other forms of music. In Reggae the drums, guitar, and keys are all playing on different parts of one overall beat. the bass is the instrument which ties the beat to what the singers are singing.

  13. phaneo


    Mar 14, 2001
    Fort Worth TX
    Contact BurningSkies here at TB, he plays Reggae, and has a wealth of knowledge. He pme'd me with some great info when I was starting to play reggae