Reggae Tuning?

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

  1. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    Hey Guys,

    I've yet to get into playing Reggae.Seems the older,(more seasoned would be more flattering i suppose) I get the more I become interested in different Musical styles.

    I dug around a little on the net recently,& came across some references to Reggae.Namely that Bassists in that Genre are using 18" Cabs,& sound systems that push LOWER than 30hz signals.

    So the question is what tunings are these guys using? Is there a fairly standard Reggae tuning now a days? Was there in the past?

    I know the Fundamental tone of a Open Low B hits slightly above 30hz,so are these Reggae guys dropping to A? Or lower?

  2. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I don't think that reggae bassists use altered tunings. The key to get that thumpy tone heard in reggae basslines (aside from lots of lows from your amp) is to play them using the palm muting technique. This is accomplished by plucking the strings with your thumb while the heel of your hand rests on the strings near the bridge. Flatwound strings (or really old roundwounds) also help.
  3. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    And that may very well be true in Classic,or Old School Reggae,but the New Guys must be doing something different,(at least in the U.K.).

    Otherwise there would be no need for systems that push BELOW 30hz.

    Traditional Bass simply does not require,nor support it.

  4. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    Ivestigte the U.K.

    They apparently have a different scene going on over there.

    Start with the Deciples,they're,(and others as well) using 18" Scoop Bins,& custom built Amp's specifically desinged to pump Bass BELOW 30hz.

    They HAVE to be doing something different!

    Just because you're not farmiliar with it,doesn't mean it doesn't exsist.It just doesn't exsist in your world.

    Expand your mind.
  5. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    I am genuinely interested in knowing all that they are doing.Since I have not explored Reggae I simply made the mistake of assuming it was universal.

    In that it’s the same here as it is in the U.K.

    I thought that Reggae players here would not only be familiar with the techniques some Bassists are obviously using to achieve extended SubBass output.

    Honestly I thought that they would be using them as well.

    It’s becoming painfully clear that I was wrong.Beyond that if I knew EXACTLY what they are doing I wouldn’t have bothered to ask the question at all.

    I have a knowledge of Bass,along with that I am familiar with the frequencies generally produced,or generated by it.

    That does not mean in any way that I know EXACTLY what these guys are doing with it.

    There systems are obviously complex if they have to have Amps,& Cabs custom built,& they are obviously doing something radically different to have need of them.


    Which came form there,by the way.
  6. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    P.S. It has everything to do with my original post,I've simply had to try to make you understand the question.

    You're speaking of the Reggae you know.It's bigger than you.
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Most of the bass-heavy dub reggae players still use standard tuning EADG on a four string. There's little tricks to get that extreme bass tone like using an envelope filter set so the envelope doesn't open, and adding a subharmonic signal to the mix.

    Using a cab that can push 30Hz is a good way of ensuring you're pushing 41.2Hz comfortably.

    It would help if you could name some bands and players.
  8. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    I just wanna know some websites about reggea bassists and reggea bass players. Other then that, I'm just lurking around and have no value to this thread....
  9. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005

    I appreciate your input,& I will keep all that in mind should I go for playing any traditional Reggae.

    In reading the replies here form American Bassists,comparing it to what I originally read about U.K. Bassists,& reading even further still,(cause it's obviously alien to you guys).

    It's clear they've gone far beyond simple techniques,& simple gear.And what all you guys are speaking of must be traditional.

    Here's a little bit of it,maybe you'll get were I'm coming from after reading it;

    Can we talk now about subsonic bass tones, or bass signals which fall below 30 hertz. (Jah Wobble named his record label "30 Hertz" in homage to these subliminal bass movements) If anyone has insight into subliminal bass tones, it's going to be a bass addict such as yourself! Can you speak about the use of bass tones so deep it isn't a sound anymore, but a resonance, a feeling, like a wind force. Apparently the human ear can take in specific sounds, but below 30 Hertz, the signal breaks up. Bass then becomes a felt and experienced phenomena rather than a heard phenomena. The effects of these sub tones on the human mind, form, sensibilty and psyche have been researched for some time now. What's your experience of these sound forms?

    "Currently in the UK sound system scene you have sounds that use a massive amount of speakers and amplification: 600 watts, 18" speakers in huge scoop bins mounted on top of each other and spread around the venue. And these are powered by massive custom built amps. The very essence of the scoop bin is to "push air", disperse sound. Many sounds totally rely on this sometimes overwhelming sound vibration, in which the sound is felt rather than heard."

    Although no one here has been knowledgeable,or informative at least I know now that it is a movement not known in America,& that it is not Traditional Reggae as Americans know it.

    So I’ve tracked Russ D. down,& e-mailed him.

    LWIL,One way or another I’ll get to the bottom of the Bottom.
  10. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
    de la,

    Here's a link to Russ's site.I'm sure he could turn you on to plenty of U.K Reggae Bassists.

    As for Americian,(or otherwise) Reggae Bassists just do some digging around on the net.

  11. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005
  12. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I wasn't talking about traditional reggae.

    I'm a UK bassist who plays dub. Let's see where this is going...

    He's talking about a "sound system" which is essentially a PA used by a dj/producer to play reggae records. He's not talking about cabinets used by a bassist. He's talking about the amplification of the whole thing, drums and all.

    Believe me, modern dub bassists use standard tuning... it's all in the processing and of the sound.
  13. zeleuo


    May 9, 2005

    I’ll wait to hear form the Man who did the Interview in the first place.
    As opposed to a personal interpretation of it.

    Unless of course you're positive you know more about his music than he does? It's quite possible he could be doing something different than you,or anyone else.Wouldn't that be refreshing.

    Since he's a Professional Musician he more than likely won't have the time to fire off messages at will.

    So patience is the key.

    But thanks for your Infinite knowledge none the less.

    So in the meantime we might as well have a bit of small talk.You say you're from the U.K.

    Interesting,very interesting.Tell me where abouts?

    Where were you born? Raised? The Schools you attended,the places you hung out,the places you play now as a "Dub" Bassist?

    You know all the general stuff.

  14. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004

    You ask for advice about a style you admit you're unfamiliar with. Someone who is familiar with it gives advice that's contradictory to what you were expecting and you choose to insult them and question their credentials?

    The interview mentions Jah Wobble and Russ D, who are both well known (Wobble more so) bassists on the UK dub scene. I'd be surprised if Jah Wobble wasn't well known in the US as well. They both play fairly traditional roots based dub.

    This style of music is well known in the US as well. Bill Laswell is one of the better known US dub bassists and producers. I suggest you have a listen.

    Russ D talks in the interview about "sound systems" that can cope with 30Hz. You take that as meaning a bass amp that can cope with 30Hz, kind of understandable since he's a bass player, but he's not talking about bass amps. Lets see what else he has to say about "sound systems" (remember, it's a specific term used by reggae artists)...

    Here's a little more about the history of sound systems...

    It's a bit rich that you ask for my credentials, seeing as you haven't filled out your own profile.

    I was born in Birmingham and now live in the east coast of scotland, I've been listening to and playing reggae (but not exclusively, I also like blues and some jazz) for about 17 years and have played at various venues around the UK. I'm currently not gigging. I did not learn reggae at a school (I did, however, learn a lot of it when I should have been at school). I'm an aquarius, 5'10", 200lbs, dark hair, good sense of humour and my turn-offs include brussel sprouts and rude people. Happy?
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