Free Video Guitar Lesson

Ska Guitar 101
by Lawrence Katz of

Instructor: Lawrence Katz
Speciality: Alternative Rock

Welcome to the world of Ska Guitar!

Ska is a style of music that can be described as "Upbeat Reggae." It has influenced classic rock bands like The Clash, as well as more modern bands like No Doubt.

Here we'll look at a rhythm guitar technique that describes the basics of Ska.

This is the first example in a five-part series. We'll work on a basic Ska rhythm, playing on the upbeats. Keep the right hand loose and moving in an up-down motion. Focus on the upbeats.

Keep a soft, clean tone with an out-of-phase pickup setting. A guitar with single coil pickups is best for this (a Fender Stratocaster or similar) but you can also use a guitar with humbucking pickups, if you use the middle position on the pickup selector.

You'll need to mute notes with the left hand on your down strokes. Keep the notes very short!

Don't dig into the strings too hard or rake across them strongly with your right hand, or you will sound like a washboard. Always keep it light and loose!

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