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Types of Reggae
In this article we will take a brief look at the different type’s reggae. This include roots reggae, dub reggae,
reggae rock, American reggae and Spanish reggae. Enjoy!
Roots reggae is very peculiar and the drum beat is generally between 70-80 bpm, the heart beat as they call it.
It’s normally done using mostly minor chords. The instruments used are bass, guitar, drums, piano, organs, horns
and percussion which includes bongo drums, shakers, triangles and other percussive paraphernalia.
The message is generally based on social commentary, God, politics, ‘upliftment’ and betterment. If you listen
to Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Garnet Silk, Luciano and others you get an idea of what roots reggae music really is
in terms of its content and instrumentation.
Dub in music is a big thing these days. Believe it or not there are schools devoted to teaching dub. Dub and dub
reggae developed in Jamaica. Studio engineers such Lee Perry, Scientist and Mad Professor, King Jammy and King
Tubby’s were all instrumental in the development of dub reggae or reggae dub as it’s sometimes referred to in
The foundation of dub reggae is the bass and the drum. The snare is used with reverb and delay, which can be
taken in and out. The other instruments such as guitar, piano, organs etc can be treated with effects and taken in
and out of the mix to add taste. Dub reggae can be as complicated and as simple as you want it. It is normally done
using roots reggae beats. For more on dub reggae
Reggae rock is as its name sounds, a reggae beat that incorporates a rock guitar element. The rock guitar can
either be a rhythm section, lead or both together. Interestingly, the screaming that many rock singers do has not
transferred into reggae music. I think that is one area that needs to be explored. For more on reggae rock
American reggae does not use many instruments. It mainly consists of drums, bass and guitars, loads of them. The
beats can be very lazy but sometimes it is fast. Note also that the guitar is played similar to how it’s done in
Ska although it is slowed down. American reggae also heavily involves rock guitar elements which is its most
peculiar element. For more on American reggae
The main feature of Spanish reggae is that it incorporates a Latin American feel to it. This is done by swinging
the beat excessively and using Latin American type instrumental phrasing. The artists mainly sing in Spanish
obviously but they do sing about similar topic as is found in other forms of reggae. For more on Spanish reggae