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Reggae Bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mr._Music, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. mr._Music


    Dec 15, 2007
    I'm starting bass and I really like reggae and want to get some good rhythm in my bass. I really like Sublime, Bob Marley, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper and bands like that. Other than just learning soem of their stuff and absorbing what I can, what theory or techniques should i learn to get me some good reggae? Thanks for the help
  2. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    All I can say to you first Mr.Music is that reggae bass is a great rhythmic style to start with. I, like you, am into bands of that style. I started with Sublime in the early to mid 90's as a teenager and the band made me fall for reggae music. Eric Wilson from Sublime is an awesome and groovin' bassist; In my opinion, I don't think the dude gets enough credit. Bob Marley and the Wailers are the S@!# man, Aston "Family Man" Barrett is absolutely the first Bassist you should start learning from. His style and use of the "one drop" feel is the best there has ever been. Sublime,Pepper,Slightly Stoopid,311, etc. all sound the way do because of Family Man. Try learning songs like One Drop, I Shot the Sheriff, Waiting in Vain, Burnin' and Lootin', etc., whatever song you like by the Wailers. Don't forget about the beat after one, that's called the one drop and it is used all the time with reggae bass players. You should also learn Sublime songs just as much, their basslines are sick. Slightly Stoopid and Pepper are cool bands too, but learning Sublime first will make their stuff really easy to learn. The rest is up to you my friend. The reggae style will get you very into bass playing, but don't get just stuck in one style of bass playing, it will limit you in the long run. So long, keep playing and don't give up. :bassist:
  3. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    Sorry Mr. Music, forgot to include that in my last reply, definately learn your major and minor pentatonic scales, they are used all the time in reggae bassline. Also the blues scale can always be useful.
  4. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    Eric Wilson from Sublime is an awesome and groovin' bassist; In my opinion, I don't think the dude gets enough credit

    +1 there for sure. wayy underated.
  5. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    another thing to keep in mind is that less can sometimes be more!
  6. What do you mean by "one drop"?
  7. littlezak


    Mar 4, 2007
    "Eric Wilson from Sublime is an awesome and groovin' bassist; In my opinion, I don't think the dude gets enough credit"


    its kind of scary cause i was just thinking this last night and was thinking of making a thread about it
  8. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    It means literally dropping the one of the bar, not playing on the first beat, also means the drums play the snare on three instead of two and four.
  9. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I was in a ska band for about 3 years, and have always loved ska and reggae music. Another good band to look into besides the one stated would be the Slackers (Sad to say, but thus the name... lol), he's got great groove for the music.

    Very basic reggae you can get away with a lot of root to 5ths or 3rds with some walks. Know your scales, so you know what's acceptable at the time. Practice and time will help you further your skill. Just keep listening and getting the vibe and eventually it'll get to the point where you'll be able to improv a bass line that fits perfect for the song.

    Best of luck!
  10. Check out some lee perry stuff (originals and productions). Some thick basslines!
    War ina babylon!
  11. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    Start first by counting out the beats in a regular four beat measure in reggae. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . Instead of dropping your first note on 1, drop it on the "and" after 1. You would count it to yourself like: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and back to 1. But my point is that you should start playing after that first 1, drop your note on the "and". This is the one drop stylee my friend. Familyman Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare perfected this technique, and if you listen to any of their stuff you will definately feel it. In rock music the drums are emphasized on the 1 and 3 with the snare. In Reggae it is in fact the 2 and the 4. But this is just my knowledge to the style, and it's how we play the rub-a-dub in the band I'm in. :)
  12. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    Oh, and this is just for any of you Sublime lovers out there who have always been into Eric's tone towards the end of Sublime's career. He used a custom made bass made my his boy Dan McDonald. It had a vintage Gibson EB-1 humbucker pickup in the NECK position and aother humbucker in the bridge. He used this bass exclusively on Sublime S/T, and towards the end of all their live stuff. All the reggae stuff was played on the neck pickup he said, and he only use the other for the punk. I've been researching this for a long time. He recorded "40oz. to Freedom" and "Robbin' the Hood" with his Fender Jazz, which IMO wasn't low enough. But if any of you remember that greenish dual humbucker bass he played that's the first one I was referring to. He also used a Music Man Sabre Bass for a while, which is a rare and sweet ass bass!!! Take it easy people.:bassist:
  13. PUCKBOY99


    Sep 17, 2007
    Check Bob Marley's Stir It Up

    Easy & fun to play :D
  14. thombo


    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    +1 on the sly dunbar (dr) and robbie shakespeare (bs)!
    a little bit of research on their albums goes a long way though. personally, i don't care for sean paul or beanie man that much (2 musicians they have worked with).
    alot of the stuff under "sly and robbie" is tight, their stuff w/ the band black uhuru and peter tosh is really cool.

    the bassists bill laswell jah wobble have some cool dub reggae stuff. again, do some research though... they both have non-reggae projects (punk, death metal, free jazz, etc) and some less traditional reggae projects.
    laswell has is also involved in some cool "bam bam" projects... this is a style pioneered by sly dunbar that fuses indian tabla sounds w/ reggae grooves. tabla beat science is a fave of mine!

    if you like some harder stuff, stu brooks lays down some tight grooves with the dub trio... they are doing a dub meets punk thing.

    remember, less is more! especially with reggae!
  15. BassIsBoss


    Jun 25, 2007
    Nova Scotia
    Interesting sidebar...while listening to r&b and soul music in the sixties from American radio super am stations, especially from New Orleans (probably WWL), Jamaicans would get a slight delay in transmission...hence the hiccup after the one or as it was told to me, "They got the beat turned around".
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Sorry to be a pest, but do you have a reference for that 'fact'?
    It doesn't jive with my understanding of physics and radio signals.

    An interruption in signal might cause dropouts at the downbeat , which might produce that effect...
    maybe I'm just picking at just semantics
  17. I think it important to remember that reggae is intensely spiritual.

    To the first Jamaican reggae musicians, it was more than just groovin' feel good music. It was a rallying cry against opposition. It brought an entire nation together. People who lived in poverty and desperation were given tremendous faith by this music.

    In a recent issue of Bass Player, Family Man said something along the lines of, "Reggae bass is the heartbeat of the people." (That's not the exact quote...anyone have it handy?)

    He really meant that big time.

    Most of us face a very serious handicap playing reggae bass: We've never faced unimaginably horrible life circumstances with tremendous poise and total peace of mind. But that, to me, is the essence of reggae's power.

    Put on any Wailers record...listen to how unbelivably confident and relaxed Family Man's feel is. Most bassists can only dream of sounding that great, whatever their genre is.

    If you ask me, it's a spirtual thing...
  18. hold me tight by johnny nash has one of the best reggae bass lines ever.
  19. October 2007 issue, pg. 31:

    "'Most of the beats were like an upbeat,' Fams explains, 'so we decide to come on the downbeat, and feel it on the one-drop [where the bass drops out on a bar's downbeat], which is the heartbeat of the people--the reggae music. It's a feel within the Jamaican concept of calypso, niyabinghi, kumina, samba, and soca, with soul and funk inside. Reggae music has all of those.'"
  20. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Very true, but this could be said about most music.

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