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Welcome back! Today I wanna share with you some tips about reggae rhythm guitar.
Back in 2007 I had started a band with my closest friends in Argentina. It was never really
intended to be anything else but friends getting together and enjoying music. Somehow the
band starting getting serious as we got more gigs and for some reason, we ended up being a
Reggae band. We had a horn section, a bass player, two guitars, a keyboard, drums and a
percussionist. Let me tell you something I learned; don’t underestimate reggae! It sounds like a
very simple style of music but there’s a lot to it.
One thing that I realize back then was that reggae is all about your tone, because sure the
chords and the rhythm is very easy to play, but the intensity, color and groove you bring to this
music is what matters the most. Nobody really cares if you are playing the chord right or not;
what people care in this genre is the groove and the sound. Like, you could be perfectly playing
all the chords, but what matter the most here is your tone; the way you hit the strings. There’s a
subtleness and deepness to reggae that is usually underestimated.
Let’s grab a very basic chord progression:
Fairly easy. Now let’s make into a reggae groove:
Sounds cool huh? Well, the key to playing great reggae rhythm is to strum the chords not so
hard and not so soft, but somewhere in the middle, where it feels that it’s just about right.
Here are my personal tips to achieving a great Reggae tone:
● Focus on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings. Often times you don’t even play the other strings.
● Barely sustain the chords, barely. The perfect reggae tone comes from an almost muted
type of sound.
● A lot of of reggae guitar players actually use all downstrokes. It sounds really cool and it
adds a bit more intensity.
That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed this lesson and please remember to check out more of our material.