Cyberfret.com: Ska guitar 101 - Page 7
Cyberfret.com Online Guitar Lessons
     
 
Home > Guitar Styles

Ska

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF


Ska Harmony

Ska has its roots in R&B music of the early 1960's. Therefore the types of harmonies and chord changes that occur in ska tend to be those basic I, IV, V or I VIm, IV, V progressions.

What the heck does that mean you say. Well here is a very brief explanation. The chords that are build from a C major scale are as follows.

 

Chord construction graphic

The roman numeral represent degree of the scale that the chord is build on. The I, IV, and V chords are major while the IIm, IIIm, and the VIm are minor (the small m means minor, just like in a chord symbol) The chord build on the VII is a diminished chord, and for our purposed here, forget about it. Check out this theory lesson on basic chord construction for more information.

Most rock songs will be in the keys of C, G, D, A or E. These are the "guitar keys". Ska tunes use the keys of C, F, Bb, Eb, and Ab, especially when there are horns in the band (trumpets, saxophones) The reason for this is that trumpets and saxophones are transposing instruments. To make a long story short, when a trumpet plays a C note, it really sounds like a Bb on the guitar. Therefore when the horns are playing in the keys that are most comfortable for them, the guitar has to play in some different keys to accommodate them.

Here are the chords in all of the major keys. Start out by playing the I, IV, V in the "guitar keys" and the keys that are commonly used in Ska. Try using the combinations of the different Ska chords that you have learned.

I
IIm
IIIm
IV
V
VIm
VIIo
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
Bo
G
Am
Bm
C
D
Em
F#o
D
Em
F#m
G
A
Bm
C#o
A
Bm
C#m
D
E
F#m
G#o
E
F#m
G#m
A
B
C#m
D#o
B
C#m
D#m
E
F#
G#m
A#o
F#
G#m
A#m
B
C#
D#m
E#o
 
I
IIm
IIIm
IV
V
VIm
VIIo
F
Gm
Am
Bb
C
Dm
Eo
Bb
Cm
Dm
Eb
F
Gm
Ao
Eb
Fm
Gm
Ab
Bb
Cm
Do
Ab
Bbm
Cm
Db
Eb
Fm
Go
Db
Ebm
Fm
Gb
Ab
Bbm
Co
Gb
Abm
Bbm
Cb
Db
Ebm
Fo

 

Page 6, Minor Ska Chords

Page 8, I IV V I chord combinations on the top 3 strings

 

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



Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF







Guitar Courses

Rhythm Guitar Mastery
How to strum guitar like a pro, master rhythms, and build your vocabulary of essential chords

60s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 18 classic 60s rock tunes

70s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 70s rock tunes

80s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 80s rock tunes

90s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 90s rock tunes

Modern Country Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 16 modern country songs

Guitar Lick Factory
A system for creating rock & blues guitar licks