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Tell me about reggae and it's bass lines

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ttyR2, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. ttyR2


    Feb 23, 2003
    Athena, OR
    I've been listening to Bob Marley a lot lately and am curious about how you would define reggae and especially reggae bass lines.
  2. There was a really good thread about reggae here not too long ago. Do a search for it, I'm too lazy at the moment, sorry. :)
  3. To me, most bass lines are simple. Nothing fancy, maybe some 16th notes. Most of the Reggae lines I've listened to are based off of minor scales. They like to out line the chord alot.. 1-3-5. Big thing, for me atleast, is the groove between the drummer and bassist. If they arent right on with each other, it just doesnt sound right.. Very groove oriented..

    I mean, I'm not really sure what type of description you are looking for.. You just gotta listen to it.

    There is this new guy I have been listening to, Matisyahu.. He is a Hacidic Jew that sings Reggae. http://www.hasidicreggae.com/ is his website. You have a few extra dollars, order his CD.. Its REALLY REALLY GOOD. I got to see them live and the drummer and bass player were really tight. Plus, this music has a great message. A good change from the "my mother left us, my dad beat us" bullcrap you hear onthe radio.
  4. dubstyle5000

    dubstyle5000 Guest

    Jan 24, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I play a lot of reggae bass. Bob Marley is a great place to start if you want to learn the art of reggae bass. "Family Man" Barrett is a world class bass player.

    The most important part of reggae bass is timing. No question. It isn't just the notes you play, but the space and time left between notes. I've heard passionate bass line that consisted of only a few notes per measure, but their timing was precise and impactful.

    If you listen carefully to reggae you will notice that many times the bassist will not play a note on the first beat of each measure. This is what has come to be known as the "one drop".
    A good example is the song "War" by Marley. This is tricky at first, and it takes some discipline to lay off that root note where it's normally played. To make things even trickier, the guitar is almost always playing on the upbeat. It's best to not think too hard, just try and let it flow. :bassist:

    Other than that, that other post is pretty accurate. Outline the chords a lot, and use a lot of minors.