Cyberfret.com: Ska guitar 101 - Page 3
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Ska Guitar Strums

One key element to keep in mind when playing ska, is the constant emphasis of the up beat or & (and). There can be some other variations on these basic ska rhythms, but these will serve you well in most situations.

C chord chart All of the strum examples are played on this C chord.

Ska Guitar, Strum #1

This first strum is a staple of ska. You are playing rhythmic clicks on the beat (strumming down), and play short chord jabs on the up beats (strumming up).

Ska Guitar, Strum #1

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Ska Guitar, Strum #2

You could just play the up beats, without putting the rhythmic clicks on the beat. This is a little more difficult than the first strum. Playing the clicks in strum #1 gives you a clear reference where the beat is, and therefore helps you keep the time. You could freely go between putting in the clicks and leaving them out. In traditional ska, the guitarist would play the off beat with only a down strum. This gives a more mellow attack than the brighter sound of strumming up. The video below demonstrates strumming up, but you should also experiment with strumming all down on this one.

Ska Guitar, Strum #2

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Ska Guitar, Strum #3

If the overall tempo of the tune is slower, 16th notes can be used in the strum to keep that jacked up ska feeling going.

Ska Guitar, Strum #3

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Page 2, Getting started playin the Ska

 

Ska Guitar 101 Jump Zone

Brief Ska History
Getting Started
Ska Strums
Ska Chords - Major

Ska Chords - Minor
Ska Harmony
I, IV, V chord combinations
Ska Resources



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