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Reggae bass players?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rick Martin, May 28, 2001.

  1. I'm working on the mysteries of bass for Reggae music. I have the Mel Bay Reggae Bass Groove book, but that's the only bit of instructional material I know about. I did learn some Bob Marley songs from Tab found on the web, but I crave much more. Any Reggae bassists out there that want to try and help?
  2. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    Well, I am glad I can help you on this. Check out www.dubroom.com, the best site for reggae resources.

    tons of midi files with real reggae bass riffs!!
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Samie, that link doesn't work for me. Can you please check and see if it is correct or is it just my lame computer?
  4. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    sorry about that, were you able to down load any of the midi files? you can learn the bass part and the mute the bass on playback. They sound decent even on a general midi system
  5. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    My best advice is to listen to a ton of reggae music. The lines are not super complex. Generally they are simple grooves that get repeated for the whole song. The lines are all about feel.

    Get the box set Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music. If you learned all of those songs you would be able to play most any reggae song. Bob Marley is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Bob Marley is, in many ways, not typical reggae music.

    After you listen to reggae for a while you will come to realize that there are a finite number of riddims that get reused over and over. Go to www.reggae-riddims.com for a list of the most common riddims and their versions. For example, that site documents 216 versions of the Real Rock riddim. Just learning that one riddim you have learned over two hundred songs.
  6. Thanks for your replies. I have been listening to Reggae music for many years. I even have some wild mix tapes I got in Jamaica. Ever ting Iree on dat tip, Mon. The problem is I have only been at the bass for a little over a year and it takes me forever to pick out a riff by ear. As you say, a lot of the bass parts are very simple and repeat throughout the song. The rythmns are easy for me to pick up by ear, by I sure would have a hard time putting them down on paper. One of the many sites linked to your suggestion had some cool tabs and last night I leaned three Gregory Issacs songs that I had been listening to for years. Ya, Mon!
    I also am going to order the Ed Freidland book. My favorite band (besides Bob) is Steel Pulse. I sure would like some help figuring out "Blues Dance Raid" and "Roller Skate".

  7. Just a note on picking up bass lines by ear. Listen to the song, then hum the bass line to yourself. Repeat a few times, then hum the bass line over the song. Then, finally, pick up your bass and attempt to recreate that bass line on the instrument while you hum it.

    This is a fairly good way to start training your ear to recognize intervals. Brought to you by the Royal Conservatory of Music Ear Training Division :)

  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It just so happens that the Ovation channel will be having two interesting shows about Bob Marley in June. One will be June 15 at 7PM and is called Bob Marley--Caribbean Nights. It has interviews with family and friends and archival footage of Marley.

    Then on June 15 at 8:30 PM, footage of a Marley concert is shown filmed at London's rainbow Theater in 1977. The concert features Marley hits like "Get Up, Stand Up." I Shot the Sheriff" and "No Woman No Cry." The show is called "Bob Marley and The Wailers Live!"
  9. Irree Mon! I found a site in French with three Gregory Issac's tabs. I've been listening to the "Night Nurse' album for close to twenty years and now I can play along on three of the songs. I'm not saying Tab is the way to go, but I sure did get what I want from it.
  10. Thanks Jason. You know, I can generally live a happy life not having access to a single TV channel, but when I read news like that, it really makes it tough! ;)

    Ah, I'll be on deployment anyway so I guess it doesn't really matter now, does it? Oh well....
  11. Moonraker


    Mar 7, 2001
    Surely you don't know enough about reggae , without mentioning the great Robbie Shakespeare , he is probably my favourite bassist in reggae and one of my favourite bassists full stop. Check out the stuff he played with Grace Jones , Black Uhuru , Sly and Robbie and many others I can't think of. He is seriously underated. Aston 'family man' Barrett should not be dismissed either , he is one of the best and legendary bass players in reggae.
  12. HeKLeR


    Dec 29, 2009
    Just remember the most important thing about bass and reggae. The empty space and the bounce to the bass, syncopation. I've been in a roots rocker band for almost 2 years now and the funny thing is I grew up playing tool and primus. By far the hardest thing for me is to just relax and jam slow.
  13. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    First tip: don't ever say "Ya mon" unless you're actually Jamaican. ;) Regarding the music - you really have to learn this stuff by ear. Forget the TAB and standard notation. If you can't learn most reggae lines by ear you're going to be hopeless as a reggae bassist. The music is all about feel. Start with easier stuff and work your way up to the lines of Family Man and Ronnie McQueen (Steel Pulse). A lot of the Studio One bass lines are easy to learn and play. One that has already been mentioned is "Real Rock" by Sound Dimension. Another one is "Darker Shade Of Black" by Jackie Mittoo. Learning old Studio One riddims will give you a strong foundation (many if not most of the bass lines still being reused in reggae originated at Studio One). PM me if you'd like some more suggestions. :)
  14. the ed friedland book is super awesome
  15. jodyacoustic


    Nov 29, 2008
    i agree, ed friedland's reggae bass is a good one.i used to be the same when i first started playing,loved reggae but couldn't work out the basslines.once you have a bit of an understanding of broken 16th notes it will be easy..i usually sing or tap out the basslines on my ipod somewhere and attempt them wheni get home.iv'e learnt some cool lines just sitting on a bus
  16. jodyacoustic


    Nov 29, 2008
    try burning spear
  17. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    A few random tips:

    1)Lay off the down beats
    2)learn the "slow triplet" feel where you play 3 notes to a half note
    3)try not to think to hard
    4)play through a loud amp, turned up very loud, and play very softly

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