Offbeat Reggae

by Sinisa Cekic

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  • Hi folks,

    Wellcome to my new lesson about Offbeats Reggae!

    Playing a reggae rhythm guitar involves playing on the offbeat. Just what does that mean? Well, let’s say we have a song in 4 / 4 time you would count it out like so:

    Here you see that we have notes in between the beats, between the actual number count if you will. This is the offbeat. To get the reggae rhythm, we will strum our guitar only on the offbeat, that is we will strum on the 'and' part of the measure.

    In other words, let's play a bass note on the beat while playing the rhythm on the offbeat.

    I recommend starting out with a very basic beat to start out with.When you feel comfortable play the rhythm in eighth notes, then you can give the triplets a try.

    Once you feel that you’ve got a handle on this, do it again using only downstrokes. Remember to keep them short and clipped. Now try both - upstrokes and downstrokes. See what you like, where and how you get a sound that you like.

    My favorite is skipped first beat (leave them to bassist) and mixing offbeats up -

    If you're not totally relaxed and leaning behind the beat, reggae guitar doesn't work. Playing on the two and four sounds easy but you've got to be completely laid back.

    This technique helps to really concentrate on the rhythm and it sounds very cool as well.

    Here it is:


    Chord progression- G/D/C/Am/Gsus4

    About bass line - You may have noticed in the first part that the bass line has moved to a second's much more interesting :)

    Enjoy it !

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