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4 Things you should know about the reggae piano!
It’s very rare these days at a reggae concert, to see an acoustic piano been used as a reggae piano. Bands
don’t use a piano for reggae anymore, in fact the only place you may find a reggae piano being used extensively is
in the recording studio and even that is becoming a rare sight.
So what happened to the reggae piano? Well acoustic pianos just slowly fade out of reggae. Technology
moved on and they were not as flexible as some of the more popular keyboard Workstations, being used to give the
reggae piano sound.
The reggae piano sound however, still has its place in modern reggae music. If you doubt me on this, ask
yourself why is it fans of reggae music all over, keep going back to the classics? It’s the sound of real
instruments being played live! I am not a purist but, that my friend is hard to achieve on a
1. Types of Pianos Used
On stage and in some studios the reggae piano sound was achieved by using an upright piano. Some studios like
Channel One in Jamaica used a baby grand as their reggae piano. You probably wouldn’t find a grand piano
being used for reggae except in very big studios if at all.
2. What Make?
Any decent make of piano can be used as a reggae piano. So brands
like Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Steinway, Bluthner, Steingraeber, Yamaha and others can and was used as reggae
3. When was it used?
The piano was used for reggae from in the 60s all the way up until the 90s when they started to conspicuously fade
out. Some studios still use the reggae piano to get a traditional reggae feel.
If you listen to the music of the Skatalites, Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and the other bands and studio
recordings from that era, you are more than likely to hear an acoustic reggae piano being
4. How was it used?
The reggae piano was first used as part of the rhythm section along with the reggae guitar to
fatten the sound and give a doubling effect. A technique call the “Bang” (The style of playing most commonly
associated with the reggae piano) was used and is still being used today.
The reggae piano can be used to add fills. This is normally done by
using the left hand to do the bang while the right hand adds the fills. Sometimes the reggae piano is just used to add fills while the guitar keeps the
It was also used as a solo instrument extensively by Jackie Mittoo and others. It is still used today by Monty Alexander, though he mostly plays
5. Top players
If you are an ardent student of the reggae piano then you need to study the works of Jackie Mittoo.
His works as a reggae piano player includes solo albums and
works he did for the Skatalites and others.
Others include Earl Lindo from the Wailers, Ibo Cooper from Third World and Monty Alexander.
And that it! Leave a comment below to let us know what you
think. For more on reggae piano and reggae keyboard
Eustace send this to me:
Reggae keyboard players
Eustace from Buffalo, NY
You need to add the following names to the list of great reggae keyboard, organ or piano players:
a. Glen Adams- one of the greatest innovators
b. Winston Wright- probably the greatest except for Jackie Mitto
c. Neville Hinds
d. Tyrone Downie known as Organ D.
e. Lloyd Chalmers
Anyone wanting to study how to play reggae keyboard should give a listen to their work.
Posted at 11:22:am 09/16/12
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