How To Play Reggae Rhythm On A GuitarPosted by Mike Schuck
Reggae is one of the most popular music genres in this country, with its own set of rules and patterns that anyone can pick up quickly. Music theory isn’t necessary for playing reggae, but it does help!
In this article, you will learn some easy ways to play rhythm guitar in reggae style. These lessons include:
* Playing bass lines using triplets
* Creating reggae riffs using tri-tone scales
* Alternating between double drop 2nds and 6ths
* Using familiar chords as starting points for melodies
The first two exercises should be pretty straightforward for most people who have played other styles of music before. For the second part, choose your notes carefully so that they sound good and fit the rhythm!
This lesson was designed for beginner level players and those just learning how to read music. If you are more advanced, start from the first or second exercise until you feel comfortable doing both together.
Learn the lyrics
Most people start playing rhythm guitar by learning the chords for one or more songs. While this is a good way to begin, it will not help you play reggae music!
Traditionally, reggaes have no chord structures. They are mostly made up of melodies and riddims (layers of bass patterns). The bass pattern can be di-tempo (steady beat) or trip-hop (slow steady beat).
The trick is being able to recognize when the melody comes and goes without the base line getting in the way. This is where knowing the lyrics becomes important!
You do not need to know how to sing them, but you should at least understand what each word means.
When playing along with a song that has a regular bassline, look out for instances where the bass drops out and there is only the melodic part left. When this happens, use your ears to identify which notes make up the beginning of the next phrase and press those down onto the string bar to create the effect.
Practice singing the lyrics
Even if you can’t play any chords, it is still possible to learn how to sing reggae rhythm guitar! This way, you get to use your voice as your main instrument, but you just need to know the song lyrics and how to sync them with the music.
There are many ways to do this. You can either teach yourself by listening to songs that contain re-sync patterns or you can hire someone to help you out. Either way, don’t worry about what key the song is in or whether the composer wrote the melody first or not — all of that doesn’t matter when you are learning how to sync words with music!
What matters is simply knowing the structure of the song and being able to apply those structures to fit whatever musical pattern the song has going on.
Learn the chord structure
The first thing you will need to do is learn the chord structure of reggae rhythm guitar! This article will go into detail about which chords are in what position, how many notes they have, and when to use them in songs.
The easiest way to start playing reggae rhythm guitar is by learning the major-chord framework. There are two main reasons why this is such a great starting place for music theory.
First, most songs contain at least one full chorus that uses only these chords. Second, once you are able to play these chords quickly, then you can move onto other chords more easily.
Learn some reggae-inspired finger patterns
The next set of chords is made up of three notes that contain a rhythm component. These are called triads, and they are typically used for analysis or composition.
The first triplet begins with the root, third, and fifth note of a major chord (A, Bb, and G). Then add the sixth, which is the flattened second degree of the corresponding minor chord (G#, bII, B–E – A natural in this case).
These six notes make up an interval known as a sextuplet. An octave has eight steps, so a sextuple is one more than an octave! This makes sense because it goes one step higher than a normal tone.
To play these chords, you must know how to play a standard tonic-major-chord pattern. Simply substitute your new chords for the ones already stated.
Practice using the same song as before.
Learn how to play rhythm guitar
First, you will need to know what key your song is in. The easiest way to do this is by looking at the lyrics or listening to the music yourself!
You can now begin learning some basic chords for the reggae rhythm guitar. These are called Reggea de ronda. In these types of songs, there are always a bunch of alternating chord shapes that make up the verse and pre-chorus (or intro) before the main chorus comes around.
The trick is to learn which notes go into which chord shape.
Learn how to use your pick
A finger or a stick (or both!) that you use to press down on the string is called a pick. There are three main types of picks!
There are bass picks, treble picks, and rhythm picks. The best place to start learning guitar is by practicing using only one type of pick!
You can also learn how to mix and match picking styles in music making.
Learn how to use your fingers
The first key thing about playing rhythm guitar is using your hands and your feet! There are two main reasons for this. One, it helps set up the next part of the song or piece you are learning to play. Two, it can help make your music more authentic.
Many guitarist only use their hands and not their feet! They stick their thumbs through the strings and pull down hard with both hands, creating a bass-like tone. This works great for some styles of music, but it will not work if you want to learn reggae rhythm guitar.
You need to be able to use your hand and foot positions to go after those sweet rippling notes like a pro! And really, who wants to hear that terrible buzz every time you press down on a string? (Not me!)
There are many ways to approach this. You can choose which ones are most comfortable for you, and then strive to perfect them. For example, try pressing down on one note with each finger before moving onto the next one.
Try recording yourself
The best way to learn how to play reggae rhythm guitar is by doing! Recording your own music is the most effective way to hone your skills as a musician. You can do it live or off-camera, and you don’t need any equipment to get started. All you really need is a computer and software that allows you to record audio.
There are many ways to go about recording music, so choose one that works for you and keep practicing! Some of the best apps for beginners are YouTube, where you can create a channel and upload songs and rhythms. Or you can use third party apps like Soundcloud or Google Voice which have free accounts you can use to test out your song before buying a paid account.
Another way to start is to find a genre you want to experiment with and learn some basic licks and patterns. Then add some other elements (like bass lines, lead melodies, etc.
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