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Ska sound?

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bettersaysomething
(@bettersaysomething)
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Topic starter  

I just recently started getting into ska music, and I want to be able to play the ska sound but i can't figure out how to get that sound. Can somone please tell me how to play the ska style music?


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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There isn't a particular "sound" unless you are thinking of a particular group, The Specials, (English) Beat, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones all have different sound characteristics, though the first two especially often are drenched in reverb and tend to have a rather tinny sound. The Bosstones have a harder, crunchier tone, as does Rancid.

Ska really is all about playing with the emphasis the up-beat. If you are in 4/4 time and counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, where the ands are the up beat, a ska tunes rhythm hits hard (emphasizes) the up-beats or the ands. Many rhythm guitarists find it's easy to play ska by muting on the down stroke (strum) -- which is on the down-beat, then up strumming on the up-beat.

-=tension & release=-


   
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bdkauff
(@bdkauff)
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Mighty mighty bosstones is not ska. Ska was invented in the 50's by black, jamaican musicians. It sounds much different than what most people think of when they think of ska, and its much much better! Check out blue beat records for real ska.


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Mighty mighty bosstones is not ska. Ska was invented in the 50's by black, jamaican musicians. It sounds much different than what most people think of when they think of ska, and its much much better! Check out blue beat records for real ska.

There are several different "waves" of ska. You describe the first, which is the origins. Each has had it's distiguishing features, and the Bosstone are in the much-later punk-ska third wave. And I agree they are not exclusively ska. Same is true of Rancid. The Specials -- a 2 tone band -- were pretty much the first to bring ska to a broad audience. I wish they had survived their fame instead of deteriorating into factions and best-of projects.

Here is the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ska

In any case, ska starts with the rhythm.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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I loved the Orange County Supertones.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Cat
 Cat
(@cat)
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Discovered this sound while playing a gig in Negrille. BESIDES the off-beat syncopations...you need a HOT rhythm section right there with you that's tight as all-gittout...and...a split pickup.

Ya, mon! Righteous island boogie on ya, mon...

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
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how you put emotion and style into the beat is another way of playing ska guitar.
I palm mute a lot; squashing my chord tones and sustain.
there is a broken sound like the speakers of the original ska. steady rhythm. two and four.
the Skatalites are my favorite.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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Cat
 Cat
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In a previous post I mentioned a "split" pickup...

I'm referring to a pickup that sends the bottom three strings one way and the top three another way.

When you play skaa...or reggae...the synchopations come out freakin' amazing if you can "stereo" the outputs to two different amps (or channels).

Hope this helps...

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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In a previous post I mentioned a "split" pickup...

I'm referring to a pickup that sends the bottom three strings one way and the top three another way.

When you play skaa...or reggae...the synchopations come out freakin' amazing if you can "stereo" the outputs to two different amps (or channels).

Hope this helps...

Cat

Sounds interesting and a nice-to-have, but not essential to the ska sound for those with no cash to do it. If the original poster is after the early Blue Note or later 2 Tone sounds, it's probably that signature cheapo tinny sound. Something like the only tones I could get out of my Teisco PoS guitar and Checkmate amp all those years ago. Today, I just futz with the tone controls.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Carl Os
(@carl-os)
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i think its mostly just major and minor chords with upstrokes


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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It's really playing on the upbeat -- either up- or downstrokes work, as long as they are on the upbeat. Many guitarists find it easier to play upstrokes on the upbeat.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Wattsiepoops
(@wattsiepoops)
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I have found that when i want a Ska or reggae sound i always seem to do barre chords and scratch on the down stroke and then on some but not all of the upstrokes open and mute almost always straight away. The upstrokes you open on depends on the beat and rhythm that you are playing to. Best advice i can give is just play around and experiment until you get the sound you want.

regards

David

David Watts
Takamine G-Series - £229
Fender STD American Telecaster (Cola Red) - £849
Vox 15watt AMP (Valve pre amp) - £129
Acoustic/Electric Rhythm and Lead (Occasionally) Southport Elim Youth Band
Former Aftershock 24/7 Rhythm Guitarist (Band split)


   
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Cat
 Cat
(@cat)
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I have found that when i want a Ska or reggae sound i always seem to do barre chords and scratch on the down stroke and then on some but not all of the upstrokes open and mute almost always straight away. The upstrokes you open on depends on the beat and rhythm that you are playing to. Best advice i can give is just play around and experiment until you get the sound you want.

regards

David

Imagine doing this with a split pickup??? Bottom three strings and top three coming at 'cha in synchopated back beats...and...you'd SWEAR you were playing with a bassist all by yer lonesome!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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Wattsiepoops
(@wattsiepoops)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 270
 

Imagine doing this with a split pickup??? Bottom three strings and top three coming at 'cha in synchopated back beats...and...you'd SWEAR you were playing with a bassist all by yer lonesome!

Cat

Yet another way to start a one man band!

David

David Watts
Takamine G-Series - £229
Fender STD American Telecaster (Cola Red) - £849
Vox 15watt AMP (Valve pre amp) - £129
Acoustic/Electric Rhythm and Lead (Occasionally) Southport Elim Youth Band
Former Aftershock 24/7 Rhythm Guitarist (Band split)


   
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Cat
 Cat
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...you need a HOT rhythm section right there with you that's tight as all-gittout...Cat

AND a split pickup!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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