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Reggae Bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mdsmith, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    Hey guys, If've had my bass for about a year, and have just been messing around without any real direction. I've decided to get serious and start focusing on reggae bass. Two questions. Is this a good style to start/lear with? And does anyone know of any good books, videos or websites that focus on reggae bass? For now I've just been playing "Stir It Up", and "One Drop"(my personal favorite Bob song) with the recordings. Thanks
  2. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    I played bass in a reggae band in Toronto in the mid-to-late 1980s (Fujahtive). I don't recall any formal books etc, but I think if you listen and learn all the classic Bob Marley tunes, along with some Sly & Robbie and maybe some Steel Pulse tunes, you will get a good feel for it. Lock in with the drummer (especially the bass drum), keep it simple, minimal, laid back, and rhythmic.
  3. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks man. I figured there probably wasn't much on reggae bass. I guess it's probably not all that technical, but more about capturing that reggae feel. That's the part I'm not sure about how to do
  4. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    No problem. Also, Ed Friedland has a video on you-tube:

  5. Jluckie3


    Mar 14, 2008
    endorsing artist Lakland basses
    hey go to jamrid.com it's an encyclopedia of the riddems that form reggae complete with audio samples that will give you excellent ideas on how to play rockers, steppers and one drop riddems.
  6. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks for that too. I feel like I'm getting a late start here. I'm 30 years old, and just starting. By the time I'm good enough to play in a band, I'll probably hav a tough time finding a reggae band that is anywhere near my age. Oh, well, I can still have a good time playing with my cd's
  7. Jluckie3


    Mar 14, 2008
    endorsing artist Lakland basses
    hey i'm 30 and just started playing in a reggae band with people younger than me so don't give up hope, if thats what you love then go for it and you'll find the right situation.
  8. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    That's awesome for you. How long have you been playing all together? I know it depends on natural ability and the ammount of time you spend practicing, but I'm wondering how long it will take befor I could even consider joining a band. There are people I could play with, but none of them are into reggae.
  9. TRob1293


    Feb 1, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    42, just starting to learn, concentrating on Blues.
    Never too late - do what'cha love!
  10. afromoose

    afromoose Guest

    Hey as luck would have it I've written a lesson for this purpose

    it's on my website you can download it


    PM me and I'll send you a link to the full version

    The lesson focuses on aston barrett (Bob Marley's bass player), and ideally it's a playalong with 10 tracks. The tracks are listed there but I also have link for that if you want it too.
  11. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks afromoose I'm trying to print it out now. This may be a little off topic, but what is a good reggae bass setup? Right now I'm playing a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz with Fender flats on it. I'm playuing through an acoustics 20 watt amp. Does this sound like a decent setup? How do most reggae players set the EQ on their amp and guitar? Sorry for all the questions guys
  12. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    cut the treble, use the neck pup, and pluck over the neck (at least that's my favorite reggae bass tone)

    a jazz bass (albeit passive) is somewhat the standard in reggae
  13. afromoose

    afromoose Guest

    Flats sound about right, especially if you're only doing reggae.

    Usually I think the eq is scooped, so it's empty in the mids, has a bit of top for clarity, and lots of sub for POWER

    It's a tricky one - really the eq sounds like the only thing relevant to your set up because at 20w you're not really kicking out enough sound for a gig with your amp. When you get a bit bigger amp-wise, then things like a large cone (better for lower frequencies) will help. I use a 1x18 cab and that deepens the sound considerably and you can lots of sub. BUT - If you're not talking about playing live then cabs, amps etc isn't as relevant. Just turn down the mids a bit, turn up the lows, add a bit of top.

    Also, the way you pluck the strings will have a BIG effect on the tone. Play near the neck, play lightly, let the amp do the work, not your fingers.

    On the guitar itself, with flats, I'm not sure if you'll have to roll off the tone that much, but with normal strings people usually turn the tone nob down a bit.
  14. Mazatleco17


    Mar 27, 2008
    I love reggae bass and I have that book, lots of simple but cool sounding reggae basslines.
  15. paul_wolfe


    Mar 8, 2009
    As well as the Ed Friedland book there's a volume in Hal Leonard's Artist Recorded Bass Line series (or whatever it's called) on Bob Marley. Search on bassbooks.com and you'll find it.

    Also a great reggae album to check out: Toots in memphis. It's Toots (from Toots and the Maytals) covering loads of classic soul tunes in a reggae style, Sly and Robbie are the rhythm section I believe. Wicked.
  16. Jamarcla


    Nov 17, 2007
  17. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Go out and buy all of the Studio One recordings you can get your hands on! Also check out stuff on the Blood & Fire label (lots of Bunny Lee productions). After you've listened to a ton of Studio One (the foundation), check out some of the other production houses and producers: Joe Gibbs, Impact (there's a double CD called "Randy's 50th Anniversary" on VP records. It also comes with a DVD), Channel One, Henry "Junjo" Lawes, Prince/King Jammy - the list goes on. These names are all very important in the world of reggae and the more you listen, the more you'll make connections between these producers and labels. I'd also recommend reading up on the history of the music. This may well give you more confidence with the material (and is good stuff to know anyway). Probably the best one out there is Lloud Bradley's "Bass Culture" (which was also published under a different name in the States - not sure what that name was). And yes, Steel Pulse and Bob Marley are excellent sources for some great bass lines (and playing) - just don't forget all the other wonderful players out there! Have fun - I think reggae is a fantastic place for you to be starting out!
  18. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks guy. All of your replies are very encouraging, and I can't wait to dive in. I did check out some videos on youtube last night, and there's a tone of good stuff on there. One technical question. When people refer to their EQ settings, is it assumed that you are starting with all of them in the "in the middle"(Ithink it's called flat) position? And ,having settings on the guitar and amp, do you use both, of leave one alone. In other words, can you just leave all the amp settings flat, and control you tone from the guitar alone? It almost seems like ther are too many knobs to tweek
  19. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Leave lots of "breathing room". Bass is all about feel and even more so with reggae. Don't rush the beat. The percussive role of bass is important in reggae. Think about where your "thumps" are, as well as what notes to play.

    20 watts will never cut it in any band. Do yourself a favour and move up to at least 200. It's not just a volume thing, it's about having headroom, moving air, and having a presence.

    Age is no factor. You'll do great!
  20. mdsmith


    Jan 31, 2008
    DVH, thanks for the reply. Right now I'm pretty far from being good enough to play in a band. I got the 20 watter because I figured it would be loud enough for practicing in my room, but I've heard from more than one person that a bigger amp would give me a better sound. Maybe it's something to start saving for.

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