Learn to Play Ska on the Guitar

learn to play ska on the guitar

Lynval Golding of The Specials is a great example of how to use the Ska Stroke to drive the rhythm of a song.

Ska always sounds great played on the guitar.  It might not be a guitar style full of flash licks and solos but in my mind some of the best guitarists have roots in ska.  So if you want to turn heads then learn to play ska on the guitar!

Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s.  Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American Jazz as well as blues.  The Ska guitar style is very much rhythm based with the guitar playing strongly accented, off beat chords.  This style of chord playing is known as the Ska stroke or the Skank chop and is a key skill that you need to acquire if you want to learn to play ska on the guitar.

Ska was historically always the less famous relation of the better known reggae, popularized by the likes of Bob Marley.  However, if it wasn’t for ska there would be no reggae.  Many bands owe their individual sound to Ska.  After Bob Marley introduced Reggae to the world, young bands such as the Clash and The Specials took elements of ska and wove it into their musical DNA.  Ska gave a different rhythm and therefore sound to their songs.  The ska stroke was ideal in creating the aggressive driving rhythm that these bands looked to create and which was to become so popular.  A good example of this is Gangsters by The Specials.   Check out the video below to see how the ska stroke can drive the rhythm of a song.

The ska sound was popularized in the US by bands such as Fishbone and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones throughout the 80s.  But perhaps it wasn’t until the 1990s that ska regained the popularity that it had in the 70s and entered the mainstream.  Hits from bands such as No Doubt, Rancid and Sublime pushed ska into the limelight and made it a style people wanted to hear.

As a guitarist it is always good to be versatile and ska is a great rhythm style to build into your repertoire.  The ska stroke can take a very mundane rhythm and really spice it up.  Therefore if there was one recommendation it would be to learn to play ska on the guitar.

To help you Jam Play, as part of their Weekend Warrior series, are running a course so that you can learn to play ska on the guitar.

If you didn’t know Jam Play is one of the biggest and best known online providers of guitar tuition so you are in safe hands.

If you are interested to Learn to Play ska on the guitar then head over to Jam Play and check out their weekend warrior series.  If you sign up for a subscription they are giving you 25% off which is a great deal on what are fantastic lessons.

Give it a go and remember to quote the code warrior25 to get your 25% discount on a subscription.


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