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Reggae Lines

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Timbo, Mar 2, 2006.


  1. Timbo

    Timbo

    Jun 14, 2004
    Anyone got any tips to make your reggae bass lines sound better? I got the basic handle on 'em syncing up with the drums as much as you can trying to propel the rhythm. But any other ideas or anything could be real helpful.
     
  2. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    First and foremost, listen to a lot of records, transcribe and learn the basslines.

    Ed Friedland has a great book on reggae bass...

    [​IMG]

    Hope that's of some help.
     
  3. Timbo

    Timbo

    Jun 14, 2004
    Yeah for sure! I'm going to make sure to check out that book. And yeah, lately i've been listening to a lot of music and trying to transcribe it. Most recently I've actually been listening to a lot of Eric Wilson from Sublime and Long beach dub allstars. Although the bands aren't really reggae he puts out some real good reggae vibes.
     
  4. Bryan_G

    Bryan_G

    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    Start learning riddems. I was pretty devistated to learn that some of Eric's most popular lines were just reggae riddems. Not downplaying his skill or saying he was a copy cat, but it was just a suprise.

    Bryan
     
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    You might have to be a bit more specific to get much of an answer. What about your lines isn't sounding right? What kind of reggae are you trying to play?

    Step 2: stop listening to Cali-punk-reggae if you want to learn how to really play it. Barrett Bros, Sly & Robbie, Fat Man Riddim, Roots Radics, and the Lloyds are a good place to start.
     
  6. Timbo

    Timbo

    Jun 14, 2004
    I don't only listen to cali-punk-reggae. A lot of what I listen too is Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots and Maytals, etc. But he is just more of a type of bass player I strive to be. Also, thanks for the recommendations on artists I'll be sure to check them out.

    Oh, and excuse my not knowing, but what is a "riddem?"
     
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    I don't like the term much myself. It's essentially a drum/bass groove in reggae setting. A repetitive bass riff, usually with a drop one drum pattern. Imagine a rastafarian saying the word "rhythm".

    I'm not sure why it was used in a negative sense in the previous post.

    In terms of artists, if you're already listening to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh etc., you've already got the textbook. Listen to the way Aston "Familyman" Barrett plays off his brother Carlton's drum parts on any of the Wailer records from the 70s. Try and transcribe the drum parts and program them into a drum machine, so you can play Familyman's bass lines. If you can do all that, you'll have a fundamental understanding of "riddim"
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  9. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    There's a lot of mileage in that, but it's not universal.

    If you listen to a few Bob Marley records, for example, you can hear that only a handful of songs rely on a one drop on the bass. Familyman often plays a very strong 1.
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Actually if you listen to alot of Reggae, then Bob Marley is not typical and very much has a "pop sensibility" , which is why a lot of his songs have been popular more widely and have been covered.

    Listen to some Reggae Dub and what gives it its 'rootsy' feel is the huge amount of space given by avoiding the 1 ! :)
     
  11. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Hi Bruce.

    I listen to a fair amount of dub, particularly the earlier stuff. Again, it's not universal there. Having a quick flick through some of the stuff on my iPod (see, I told you they were useful :) ), Dub Gone Crazy by King Tubby has maybe a third of its tracks relying heavily on drop 1 bass. The dub tracks on Arkology by Lee Perry pretty much all have the bass hitting the 1. Same goes for Prophesy of Dub by Yabby U.

    What is more common is for the bass to hit the 1 on the first bar of a phrase then avoid it on subsequent bars.

    It's a useful tool, but it's not everything.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - that's exactly what the original poster was asking for!! :p
     
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    A 'Riddim' is a drum & bass groove. In the islands, its not unusual for many different (sometimes hundreds) of songs over one 'riddim' or variations on a single riddim. There are a bunch of classic riddims which would serve you well to learn. Things like Heavenless, Tings & Times, Taxi, Kutchie, Prophecy, Revolution etc. When I grab pickup gigs knowing a good chunk of standard riddims definitely goes a long way.

    As has also been stated, one drop is a feel, usually based upon a drum pattern and believe it or not, the vast majority of reggae songs don't 'one drop' in the bass. Its also indicative of a specific type and era of reggae.

    If you want a guided tour of the reggae world, I'd suggest picking up a copy of the Steve Barrows' book "The Rough Guide To Reggae" it's not only a pretty comprehensive review book, but also provides info on all the styles and ethnographic/historic information. Steve is the founder of Blood & Fire Records and really knows his stuff.

    There's a lot of amazing reggae out there well beyond the usual Wailers/Maytals/Cliff stuff. Once you get involved in reggae, you'll find that you'll hardly listen to those anymore!

    Some of my favorite classics:

    Jacob Miller (fatman riddim section)
    Dennis Brown
    Abyssinians (Satamassagana)
    Congos (Heart of the Congos)
    Third World (96 Degrees)
    King Tubby (dub albums, any!)
    Horace Andy (skylarking or in the light)
    Augustus Pablo (dub albums)


    There are so many good ones, and I'm pretty sick right now, so I can't really think...but those few are a nice little start.

    If you want to hear Roots Radics rip up a bunch of classic and standard riddims in a live setting, pick up a copy of Charlie Chapin's "Take Two"...You can hear how they ride the lines and take them to 'mix' back and forth. This is probably as close to a real yardie island jam as you'll find.
     
  14. Bryan_G

    Bryan_G

    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    :D I better pay attention to what I'm typing next time.

    Next time I'm just going to let BurningSkies post. His advice is solid and better then I could ever do. All those guys he list are great and will definitely give you more of a reggae feel to your bass lines.

    I know its hard to do some times, but if you could start playing with some true reggae cats you will learn a lot. There is no substitute for experience.


    Bryan
     
  15. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    NEW JERSEY
    Are riddims basically up for grab? Because I'm recording a love song on the mud up riddim with my band. Can I get sued since only 9,000 songs have used this riddim?