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  #1  
Old 01-19-2008, 11:49 PM
Vinnysimmo Vinnysimmo is offline
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Default Reggae Drumming

Hello.
Id like to learn the basics of reggae drumming. Could you recommend some decent songs to play along with to get a feel for the basics of reggae?
Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2008, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

I'm not that familiar myself but a great place to start would be listening to Bob Marley.
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  #3  
Old 01-20-2008, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Any Wailers stuff, look into Sly and Robbie productions, Sly Dunbar is the man to look at.
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  #4  
Old 01-20-2008, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

I say listen first and most to Bob Marley & the Wailers' stuff. The drummer, Carlton "Carly" Barrett, was, in my opinion, THE all-time greatest reggae drummer, and along with his brother Aston "Family Man" Barrett on bass, one of the greatest rhythm sections ever in any genre. They were also in the Upsetters with Lee Perry, another influential founding father of reggae.

Carly played in the "one drop" style which was the foundation for much of the "classic" reggae sound. Kick and snare are played together on the 3, leaving the rest of the bar open for creative ride rhythms on the hi-hat, and accents. Crashes to mark the bars are also usually on the 3. The snare is played cross-stick style, with the snares kept off, and snare accents often are rimshots (which sound pretty cool on the snareless snare). Think of a bar like: 1 is empty / 2 (upbeat) is hihat / 3 is downbeat: kick and snare / and 4 is hihat upbeat again. That's basically it. Then do two/thirds of a triplet on the hihat upbeat and you've got it!

Sly Dunbar is certainly a lot more well known and more influential. He and bassist Robbie Shakespeare played with Peter Tosh after Tosh left the Wailers, and later with a wide range of other artists, many outside the reggae genre. But Sly's stuff is never as interesting to me as Carly's. Lots of times Sly puts the kick "four on the floor" which drives the beat with a (again, my opinion!) too-busy mechanical feel, totally losing the up & down open bounciness of the one-drop style. Carly occasionally plays four on the floor, like in "Buffalo Soldiers", "Exodus", or "Is the Love", but mostly he keeps kick and snare on the 3.

Watch this youtube clip of "Concrete Jungle". The guy is totally in the groove and dropping the coollest accents on kick and snare. Greatest reggae drummer, hands-down EVER!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSg1A...eature=related

Sly's great, but Carly was the king. Too bad he was murdered in 1987 by some total a**hole.

There's other styles of reggae, too. Rock Steady and Dancehall fer'instance. Modern reggae can be a lot different than the "classic" reggae I'm talking about. Lots of times it sounds more like disco to me. But basically, the way to learn reggae is just to listen to it. Lots of clips on youtube, too. Watch, listen, dissect the rhythms, and then just try playing it. Good luck, and have fun!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Barrett
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_drop_rhythm
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  #5  
Old 01-20-2008, 04:11 PM
Vinnysimmo Vinnysimmo is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Thank you to you all for you help. Please keep it up!
Im currently working on just playing 8ths on the hihat and the bass on 3. When this feels like a very natural thing ill start trying to add snare to this. But for now im just working on 8ths on the hihat and the bass on 3.
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  #6  
Old 01-20-2008, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

just as an added extra, check out other african influenced rhythms...after all reggea came from calypso which came from the orignal rhythmic ideas brought over from africa when the slave trade was going on...

that way you may be able to deeper understand what rhythms your playing and why!! and also how they changed over time...it will, open up a whole new door to you

:)
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2008, 04:02 PM
King Of Drums King Of Drums is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by criz p. critter View Post
I say listen first and most to Bob Marley & the Wailers' stuff. The drummer, Carlton "Carly" Barrett, was, in my opinion, THE all-time greatest reggae drummer, and along with his brother Aston "Family Man" Barrett on bass, one of the greatest rhythm sections ever in any genre. They were also in the Upsetters with Lee Perry, another influential founding father of reggae.

Carly played in the "one drop" style which was the foundation for much of the "classic" reggae sound. Kick and snare are played together on the 3, leaving the rest of the bar open for creative ride rhythms on the hi-hat, and accents. Crashes to mark the bars are also usually on the 3. The snare is played cross-stick style, with the snares kept off, and snare accents often are rimshots (which sound pretty cool on the snareless snare). Think of a bar like: 1 is empty / 2 (upbeat) is hihat / 3 is downbeat: kick and snare / and 4 is hihat upbeat again. That's basically it. Then do two/thirds of a triplet on the hihat upbeat and you've got it!

Sly Dunbar is certainly a lot more well known and more influential. He and bassist Robbie Shakespeare played with Peter Tosh after Tosh left the Wailers, and later with a wide range of other artists, many outside the reggae genre. But Sly's stuff is never as interesting to me as Carly's. Lots of times Sly puts the kick "four on the floor" which drives the beat with a (again, my opinion!) too-busy mechanical feel, totally losing the up & down open bounciness of the one-drop style. Carly occasionally plays four on the floor, like in "Buffalo Soldiers", "Exodus", or "Is the Love", but mostly he keeps kick and snare on the 3.

Watch this youtube clip of "Concrete Jungle". The guy is totally in the groove and dropping the coollest accents on kick and snare. Greatest reggae drummer, hands-down EVER!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSg1A...eature=related

Sly's great, but Carly was the king. Too bad he was murdered in 1987 by some total a**hole.

There's other styles of reggae, too. Rock Steady and Dancehall fer'instance. Modern reggae can be a lot different than the "classic" reggae I'm talking about. Lots of times it sounds more like disco to me. But basically, the way to learn reggae is just to listen to it. Lots of clips on youtube, too. Watch, listen, dissect the rhythms, and then just try playing it. Good luck, and have fun!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Barrett
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_drop_rhythm
Ya I agree. I have always found Carly's riddims more interesting than Sly's. I find that his style is a lot more feel oriented. I don't think I've ever heard any drummer that has played on reggae albums that has that much feel. You're right Sly's style does seem more mechanical but he still has more feel than me any day lol. He is one of the legends of reggae music.

Now onto the drumming itself. I think you can probably play the majority of reggae out there with the one drop beat. It has already been explained so I won't elaborate too much. Basically you can start with 4 on the hi-hat 3 on the bass and 3 on the snare with a side stick. Than basically it is all improvisation with the hi-hat (almost no reggae beat is played on the ride cymbal), cross stick and kick drum. I think it would be a good idea to start first experimenting with the hi-hat. Reggae can be played with a swing feel or a straight feel. So try experimenting on the hi-hat with different broken eight note and triplet patterns. Try opening the hi-hat on the 4 of the bar, that is pretty common in reggae beats. It is also common to open it on the & of 4. Than try improving with the side stick, and kick drum. Add some fills in every now and than which are often based on dotted or triplet rhythms. Occasionally hit the crash and snare at the same time on the 3 of the bar than try it on the 4. Etc. Bah I don't want to get to technical with this stuff as the best to play reggae is to feel it. And to feel it you've got to listen to it.

Anything done by the wailers (later called Bob Marley and the wailers) from 1968 onwards Carlton Barret plays on. So I would say listen to as much Bob Marley as possible, but don't just listen try learning the beats. Put some songs on your mp3 player and sit at your drums listen and imitate. I would also suggest listening to a lot of roots reggae in general. Also check out these artists, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Inner Circle, Third World, Jacob Miller, Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Aswad, The Abyssinians, The Congos, Misty in Roots etc. etc. At first start to learn from songs that are easy. Slow pace nice steady one drop, not too much improvisation going on. Than slowly start learning harder songs. Hmm a couple easier songs to start learning, I would say Natural Mystic by Bob Marley and the Wailers and So much trouble in the world also by them.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Tommy Igoe has a very nice explanation of basic one-drop drumming on his Groove Essentials. The explanation given on this post is very good, but it's always nice to see the technique. Some of the Groove Essentials lessons are on this site and also on the Vic Firth site. You might want to check those two places to find his reggae explanation. This has already been said, but remember to do fills with rimshots on your snare with the snares off to get that authentic sound. "The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff is an excellent play along CD for reggae.
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2008, 06:15 PM
Vinnysimmo Vinnysimmo is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Thanks for your help!
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Your going to have to play one-drops and listen to Bob Marley for sure. Also I great simple book that is one of the few I have found on this style of drumming is simply called "reagee drumming" Its a great book. Word of advise from experience. When you play one drops and get used to the downbeat on 3 start doing fills before the next measure. The trick is you will go back to playing two and four. Its harder to master keeping the one drop happening after fills and not going back to a regular 4/4 backbeat.

Best of luck

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  #11  
Old 01-26-2008, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Ditto on the Tommy Igoe suggestion. That's how I learned reggae.

Ditto also on how hard it is at first to not hit the bass drum on the one after a fill. Feels really empty at first, but once you get used it it, it's not too bad.
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  #12  
Old 01-27-2008, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Another fun reggae tune to play is Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster(Jammin')". I play to that song a lot when I practice reggae.
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2008, 11:08 PM
Vinnysimmo Vinnysimmo is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Id lkie to thank evryone who suggested things in this thread as the 1-drop is now another part of my "vocabulary" in drumming, and feels quite natural and fun to play
Thanks.
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2009, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Hi Vinnysimmo,

I was just checking on what hi hats are good for reggae and came across your post. Not sure if you are still there. I am a huge reggae fan, live in Africa (Tanzania) and REALLY enjoy playing along to Lucky Dube.

First of all, Lucky Dube is a huge reggae star in Africa, but little known elsewhere, which is a real shame. He picked up his style from Peter Tosh, and you can get a strong sense of that from his singing. I have no clue who drums for him, but the reggae drums are truly formidable - dense, complex, and with that typically powerful rhythmic reggae vibe. Check it out. He has produced lots of albums, many of which I am sure would be easy to get hold of in Sweden. His last album was Legacy. Sadly, he was murdered in front of his kids when dropping them off by car thieves, so we have lost another great reggae legend.

I have been a longtime fan of Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Aswad, Black Uhuru and most of the other famous reggae artists, but for drumming, there is nothing quite like Africa's Lucky Dube! Check it out!

James
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2011, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

first of all, whoever said start out with BoB MarLeY, that's a no go. sure, listen to him to experience the essence of reggae, or when your cheifing. what you need to do is start out with UB40. they play the most basic beats, and although they are british, they still play with some swing (triplett based reggae beats) the CD or album to get is food for thought. once you can comfortably learn to play along with UB40 and match the offbeats of the guitar with the off beats on your high-hat(although its really like playing the beats on a high hat like they are all downbeats) then you can jam to a lot of reggae. but after that id say try some sublime. Bob Marley is really tricky cause the swinging isn't really regulated. other than that favorite artists are Burning Spear for sure, Steel Pulse, Easy Star All Stars (great studio band) and john stone.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2011, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakheine View Post
first of all, whoever said start out with BoB MarLeY, that's a no go. sure, listen to him to experience the essence of reggae, or when your cheifing. what you need to do is start out with UB40.
You gotta be joking...
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  #17  
Old 01-07-2011, 09:59 PM
vtmathndrums vtmathndrums is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Gil Sharone is about to put out a DVD thats right up your alley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9hn7berjL4

Its the first real Reggae instructional DVD. He knows what hes talking about, and groves like a champ. Check out the clips.
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  #18  
Old 01-07-2011, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Hi Vinyssimmo,

My name's Mel Corcino. I've been drumming for about 25 years. My background had been mostly latin-rock and latin-pop.

About 2 years ago I made the line-up for a Bob Marley and The Wailers Tribute Act called Hope Road. You can find us in facebook and myspace. Also, there are links in my webpage http://www.melcorcino.com. We had been experience a nice steady growth with shows in New England's tri-state. As it is now, we are proud to have about 250 - 350 amazing fans coming to our shows.

After 2 years, I'm still learning new vocabulary in reggae drumming. But, I thought on sharing how was my experience on learning the style, specially coming from a long period of playing pop/rock music.

First of all as it was stated earlier, classic reggae feel is counted 1 2 3 4 with the bass drum and crosstick on 3. However, I initially change the counting of the feel to 1+2+3+4+ with bass drum and crosstick in 2 and 4. To me, this was easier because it related to my rock/pop background.

Second, I made drum transcriptions of few Bob Marley's songs like "Woman No Cry", "Three Little Birds" and "Stir it up" which play one-drop as rhythm design. I was writing the charts using the counting format 1+2+3+4+.

Third, I played along with the tunes following the drum charts.

Fourth, I played the music with other musicians with more experience in the style than me.

Once I could play the songs using the counting system of 1+2+3+4+ with bass drum/crosstick on 2 and 4, I started counting on regular counting format of reggae, 1 2 3 4 with bass drum and crosstick on 3.

Since then my reggae drumming had improved a lot when I compare it to the first time I try to play it. My feel it's much better and I have a lot more vocabulary in the style. I do not sound exactly like Carly or Sly, which I don't mind, I guess nobody will sound exactly like them any ways :=), but all this process helped me to undersatnd the basic mechanics and the note placement of the style.

Listening to the recordings, playing along with the records and playing the style with other musicians is the way to learn. It will be a long process with ups and downs and some challenges. There's not shorcuts to this process. However, if you stick to it, you'll be amaze of all the new ways that you will find to express yourself...

I hope you enjoy your reggae journey and find other musicians to enjoy it with you.

I'm having a blast in mine...

Cheers,
-Mel
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  #19  
Old 01-07-2011, 10:24 PM
mel corcino mel corcino is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtmathndrums View Post
Gil Sharone is about to put out a DVD thats right up your alley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9hn7berjL4

Its the first real Reggae instructional DVD. He knows what hes talking about, and groves like a champ. Check out the clips.
Nice to know this...Thanks for sharing!
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  #20  
Old 08-28-2011, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakheine View Post
first of all, whoever said start out with BoB MarLeY, that's a no go. sure, listen to him to experience the essence of reggae, or when your cheifing. what you need to do is start out with UB40. they play the most basic beats, and although they are british, they still play with some swing (triplett based reggae beats) the CD or album to get is food for thought. once you can comfortably learn to play along with UB40 and match the offbeats of the guitar with the off beats on your high-hat(although its really like playing the beats on a high hat like they are all downbeats) then you can jam to a lot of reggae. but after that id say try some sublime. Bob Marley is really tricky cause the swinging isn't really regulated. other than that favorite artists are Burning Spear for sure, Steel Pulse, Easy Star All Stars (great studio band) and john stone.
I must say you are totally wrong about not listening to Bob Marley,playing reggae one has to start from the roots...like a plant,if not ,you will grow away from the real music and its style...UB40 started out listening to Bob also...go figure!!..Reggae is a 'feel' music,if you dont have the feel you can never be recognised as a good reggae musician.....
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  #21  
Old 08-28-2011, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

listen to ..Natural Mystics..Bob Marley
Dennis Brown,Aswad,Black Uhuru,Peter Tosh.....or I can give you lesson via email
(of course I've been in the bizniz over 30 years and have toured with a couple reggae acts)
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  #22  
Old 08-28-2011, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel corcino View Post
Nice to know this...Thanks for sharing!
good video,nice style,brilliant licks...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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  #23  
Old 08-28-2011, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Most of what has been said is good advice. I'd also listen to the Viceroys if you can get hold of any.

And remember it is all about feel (not the song). A Peter Tosh classic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj1GfUN5LQE
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  #24  
Old 08-28-2011, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

I don't know what that guy was thinking. Here are a bunch of Sly Dunbar intros- with a few measures of the groove- from the record he did with the French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.
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  #25  
Old 08-29-2011, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

check out the band Steel Pulse, Peter Tosh, The Skatalites, Matisyahu (he mixes israeli chanting, hip hop and reggae), along with the aforementioned musicians and bands! reggae is the most underrated form of popular music. check out the pop/rock bands that incorporate reggae/ska riffs and rhythms in songs (the police, sublime, fishbone, 311, the clash, and soooo many more). get irie to feeling iyer to reach the irator (each of those words are rastafarian lingo: get that alright feeling to rise and reach the creator)
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  #26  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:55 PM
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Oh and 'Pluto' Shervington - 'Dat' and 'Your Honour'. Joy, joy, joy....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FYTL8ydERw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b7liotfQUE
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by drumfreak1987 View Post
check out the band Steel Pulse, Peter Tosh, The Skatalites, Matisyahu (he mixes israeli chanting, hip hop and reggae), along with the aforementioned musicians and bands! reggae is the most underrated form of popular music. check out the pop/rock bands that incorporate reggae/ska riffs and rhythms in songs (the police, sublime, fishbone, 311, the clash, and soooo many more). get irie to feeling iyer to reach the irator (each of those words are rastafarian lingo: get that alright feeling to rise and reach the creator)
COOL NUH MI LION!!!.........................
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  #28  
Old 03-26-2013, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Other drummers to check out would be: Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Winston Grennan (inventor of the 1 drop), Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye of Aswad, Lincoln "Style" Scot of Roots Radics, Wycliffe "Steely" Johnson, Tin Legs (Lloyd Adams) of the Upsetters, Mikey “boo” Richards, Jah Bunny (LKJ). So many of these guys are the mysterious underbelly of reggae drumming. I suggest steeping yourself in Calypso, Blue Beat,Ska, Rock Steady, Rockers, Dub and early dancehall stuff.Nyabinghi drumming is also something to check out. Enjoy studying Reggae! One love!
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  #29  
Old 03-26-2013, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

get bob marly and the wailers "babylon by bus"… their live album… so much taste and dynamic range… the energy they generate could move a mountain range! also, check out peter tosh, the police (even though they're a rock band, most of their songs have a raggae and/or ska flavor), black uhuru, and matisyahu (a reggae rapper of today)
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  #30  
Old 03-26-2013, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Bad Brains have some good reggae songs.
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  #31  
Old 03-26-2013, 07:37 PM
packfan88c packfan88c is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

I said this in another reggae post, and I'll say it here.

Reggae originated from a swing feel so be sure to practice your swing and shuffle beats a lot as well. This will REALLY help you nail the groove of it, which is the most important part! I'm seconding Gil Sharone. I bought Wicked Beats and it's really packed with information and great interviews as well. A must-have if your serious about reggae.

Also, watch this video like 4000 times...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lNi9ZKO_0g
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  #32  
Old 01-04-2014, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Bob Marley is great reggae, but not a good example of basics or a good place to start. Bob's music has many unique elements and embellishments that make it better to learn after one has a grip on the basics.
I would recommend getting a collection of some Rock Steady classics (unless you want to begin with ska).
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  #33  
Old 01-04-2014, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Saxrasta View Post
Bob Marley is great reggae, but not a good example of basics or a good place to start. Bob's music has many unique elements and embellishments that make it better to learn after one has a grip on the basics.
Bob Marley IS basic reggae... It is like the gospel of reggae. The feel is all right there, nothing hidden at all. That is literally where most of the drum sound was developed for modern reggae music. This music is all about the feel. There is almost nothing technically demanding about it at it's root. Less is always more regardless of which instrument you are talking about, particularly in Bob Marley's music. Playing with space is hard, but it's not like it requires complex rudimentary chops. Listening to these albums should be required in grade-school ;)
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  #34  
Old 01-04-2014, 08:25 PM
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criz p. critter criz p. critter is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxrasta View Post
Bob Marley is great reggae, but not a good example of basics or a good place to start. Bob's music has many unique elements and embellishments that make it better to learn after one has a grip on the basics.
I would recommend getting a collection of some Rock Steady classics (unless you want to begin with ska).
Go study up there, Junior. Marley and crew were in on creating reggae right at the very beginning, as early as rock steady (early 60s). Besides, the OP (6 years ago!) was asking about reggae basics, not rock steady.

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Originally Posted by Garvin View Post
Bob Marley IS basic reggae... It is like the gospel of reggae.
Garvin, you nailed it
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:29 PM
samueldrummer samueldrummer is offline
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Default Re: Reggae Drumming

If you're not used to playing reggae, I would recommend learning some Sublime (rock/reggae) to start with (Santeria, Badfish, etc). They're a good transitional band if you're coming from more contemporary styles trying to branch out into reggae. Then move from there into true reggae bands. It's a totally different feel and it's important to understand it. Really helped me a lot.
Cheers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8SlpbFFG-4
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