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Secrets of Reggae Guitar solo


In this article we will look at some simple reggae guitar solo tips you can employ whReggae Guitar Soloen you are jamming by yourself, with a friend or at a gig. I will also give you some practicing techniques, which should help improve your reggae guitar solos - I need to practice them as well. The embedded video shows a simple reggae solo using some of the techniques I have explained.

Before we get technical, you must remember that reggae in not on the beat, it's off. Keeping this concept in mind is important when trying to play reggae guitar solos. It will make it easier for you to solo and your reggae guitar sound will be more authentic.

What must I do to develop my timing you asked? Just one thing, find as many easy reggae guitar solos as you can, and learn them, all of them. Practice playing them along with the track. Trust me on this, it always works and all the greats have done it.






It has a way of developing your tone and feel to a very high standard - and again I should be doing more of it.  Remember the guitar solos don't have to be complicated; in fact the easier they are the better.

The two most popular scales used by reggae guitarist for soloing are the minor and major pentatonic, so learn them well.  There are loads more scales that can be used but for now we will keep it simple ok.  

When you learning your scales, practice playing them up and down the fret board in a musical way, and one more thing, make sure that you do not play any of the scales fast. Go as slowly as you can, 40 bpm. No more! If you do, it will ruin your technique. Playing slow is the secret to playing fast. You were warned!

They say that melody is king and it is. So if you want your reggae guitar solo to sound right all the time, listen carefully to the melodic structure of the song. It's your interpretation of what you are hearing that matters, since everyone hears different melodies in a song.  Use what you hear as the basis of your reggae solo compositions.

Reggae guitar soloing is not dissimilar to other genres. So make sure you include techniques such as hammer-ons, slides, bends, pull-offs, double stops, vibrato, string skipping... etc. The video shows many of these techniques, its starts off with some double stops.  So take a look at it to get some ideas. 

Playing reggae is not complicated, irrespective of what you hear. The key is to work on the feel and timing. Great reggae guitarists know this intuitively and it is for this reason they keep their playing simple, but when you hear it, it sounds amazing. And so it should, they are playing naturally. Don't copy what others play note for note, be yourself, develop you, your own personal voice and soon others will want to play like you.

The instruments in reggae music leaves room for the other reggae instruments to breath and you should too when you are playing your reggae guitar solos.  It will take pressure off you and the other musicians will love you for it.  Remember, reggae is about peace and love.

It's largely cultural the reason reggae musicians play the way they do.  It will do you no harm to learn as much as you can about the reggae culture or even the Jamaican culture, and no am not talking about puffing on that stuff!  

Two of the greatest reggae guitarists, Al Anderson (Bob Marley) and Donald Kinsey (Bob Marley and Peter Tosh) are Americans and they can play reggae guitar solos very well if you ask me. Even singers have learnt a lot by immersing themselves in reggae culture; look at Gentleman from Germany and Alborosie from Italy. I rest my case.

Some reggae guitarist you may want to check are Earl "Chinna" Smith (he has played for everyone), Cat Coore (Third World), Ernest Ranglin (he has played for everyone), Eugene Grey, Maurice Gordon (Jimmy Cliff), Al Anderson, Donald Kinsey, Kenroy Mullings (Beenie Man), Audley Chisholm (Maxi Priest), Andrew Simpson (Morgan's Heritage), Mitchum Chin (Tarrus Riley), Clinton Fearon and Robert Angus (Beres Hammond).

If you want to learn how to play reggae guitar, these secrets are a must.  So, make sure you practice, practice and more practice. That's it, have fun!

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