Top 7 Guitars for Reggae Music (2020) – Our pick of the Best reggae Guitars

Best Reggae Guitars - Blog Cover

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Our top 3 Reggae guitars

4.7/5
  • Best for Reggae out-of-the-box
  • Ideal for Reggae sounds like the ‘quack’
4.6/5
  • Simple and sturdy guitar
  • Extremely easy to play
  • Ideal for Reggae

4.4/5
  • F-holes for clearer sound
  • Great guitar for the price

Jamaica’s gift to the world, Reggae music has its own way around the guitar and to honor this great genre you need to pick the guitar that will bring out the best in you. And our guide to the best reggae guitars for beginners will help you do just that. 

If you want to play a smooth rhythm like Marley or jazzy like Ernest Ranglin and even if you want to solo like Al Anderson, you need the best guitar for reggae music – one that has ideal tones so you can show off your true potential.

The Best Reggae Guitar:

  • Has a clean, crisp and clear sound
  • Executes the Wah-Wah effect perfectly
  • Gives you the ease to play those catchy licks
  • Is shaped to give an ultimate advantage to play reggae

We have compiled great reggae electric guitars in this list based on these criteria and these will add up to giving you the best experience for playing this genre.

Let your dreadlocks free, get some of your greens stuff and pick your right guitar to groove to for playing the music of the Kings.

List of 7 Best Reggae Guitars

True Music Helper Rating - 4.7/5
4.7/5

This guitar was the first guitar of the legend in the reggae community, Bob Marley. This is the most popular guitar in the world and it has even shaped the way we think what an electric guitar looks like.

How does it sound?
Fender Strat sounds lovely, the tone is simply fantastic. It is a very versatile guitar and it fits into most genres that you throw at it, but reggae sounds exceptionally good on this guitar. The iconic quack sounds in the genre come out perfectly in this guitar.

How does it feel?
You can tell that this guitar was designed with comfort to play in mind. . It is also extremely customizable so let’s say you don’t like the tone, you can take out the pick up and switch it with the one you prefer.

Pros

  • Incredible for this genre out-of-the-box
  • Comes in an affordable Squier series
  • Ideal for Reggae sounds like the ‘quack’

Cons

  • None

True Music Helper Rating - 4.6/5
4.6/5

This, hands down, the best guitar for reggae. It has a lush and bright tone which does wonders for the overall sound when you play it live. It is also a very attractive guitar.

How does it sound?
Because of the way the pick-ups are designed they give a high pitch sound which goes with the genre beautifully. And when you play this guitar live it cuts through the mix of all instruments and sits exactly on top of all the sounds.

How does it feel?
The frets are very small so even if you are a beginner at playing the guitar, it can be played very easily. But what if you are an expert at playing guitar? That just means it is extremely easy for you to play this guitar.

Pros

  • Simple and sturdy guitar
  • Extremely easy to play
  • Ideal for Reggae

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Occasionally the pick-up makes a lot of noise

True Music Helper Rating - 4.4/5
4.4/5

It may be a little pricey but it is one of the best guitars made by Epiphone. What you get for the price is still commendable. It can totally pull-off the traditional reggae sound.

How does it sound?
It has great pickups and the F-holes in Sheraton help the music ring out clear and crisp. The tone is simply beautiful.

How does it feel?
It is not a beginner’s guitar for sure but if you know your music your fingers will guide through the neck. It will take a while to get used to the size since it is bigger but you’ll surely get used to it.

Pros

  • F-holes for clearer sound
  • Great guitar for the price

Cons

  • Tricky to get used to the bigger size at first

True Music Helper Rating - 4.1/5
4.1/5

This guitar is a direct copy of Ibanez SG and it sounds exactly the same too. So, to save you some money we’ve added the cheaper one to the list.

How does it sound?
SGs are traditionally thought of as an alternative or a rock guitar because of its fat tone but it can do much more than that, especially in this genre. Once you put play in with a clean sound you will see what this SG is really capable of.

How does it feel?
The body is solid, double-cut and made of mahogany. It is flat on the top and covered only with a plastic pickguard. This guitar will really set you apart from other guitarists.

Pros

  • Too good for the price
  • Attractive and unique guitar

Cons

  • Quality is lower than the guitars on this list

True Music Helper Rating - 4/5
4/5

This may be the guitar of choice for the alternative legend, Kurt Cobain, but that doesn’t mean it cannot Reggae. It is an incredibly versatile guitar and can handle a lot of the genres that you throw it’s way.

How does it sound?
The sound of this guitar is super clean. The Mustang also has the out-of-phase tone which works awesome with a wah-wah.

How does it feel?
The guitar is made for guitarists with tiny fingers so if you are someone with somewhat smaller fingers and you want to play this genre then you should totally go for this guitar.

Pros

  • Used by professionals
  • Unique Groovy and out of phase sound

Cons

  • Can be tricky to set up

True Music Helper Rating - 3.9/5
3.9/5

This guitar is used by a small group of reggae players but it does hold a lot of potential. It can be called the underrated champ of the community.

How does it feel?
The sound lies somewhere between Stratocaster and the Gibson, which means, it has a great sound and it is also great for solo-ing or rock-reggae.

How does it sound?
Fender has some really good color combination options for this guitar to make it unique for you. It also has medium-jumbo frets which makes it a sweet spot for playing this genre.

Pros

  • Can be used to play multiple forms of Reggae

Cons

  • Tone sounds a little muffled

True Music Helper Rating - 3.6/5
3.6/5

If you want the iconic Les Paul style body and sound for reggae, but don’t want to pay the price tag of the Gibson, this is the guitar for you. Bob Marley even played a Les Paul while he was in the Wailers so you know it’s the real deal.

How does it sound?
These guitars are best known for its humbucker P90 pickups which produce a fat sound and crunchy lead guitar tone. That also makes it one of the best choices to play this genre with.

How does it feel?
The neck has a wider shape, and it is a heavier guitar to shoulder than the Strat or the Telecaster. You will really enjoy holding, playing or even just staring at this beautiful instrument.

Also, while you are at it, why not increase the life of your brand new Les Paul by adding a set of locking tuners.

Pros

  • Amazing sound, very close to the original Les Paul
  • Iconic shape

Cons

  • Quality of electronic components is low

The Best Technique Of Playing Reggae Music On Guitars

Reggae is a very serious art-form and in order to get the best out of it, you have to learn to discern and use your ears to find out what are the key components that make it really what it is.

Unlike most genres, reggae is in the strumming hand of the guitarists. The chop, chikka-chikka or skip – are all the different patterns of strumming and what sets this genre apart from other forms of music. Based on these criteria, we have jotted down a few rules to keep in mind in order to learn this genre quickly and easily.

Rule #1: The Reggae Strum – Playing guitar for reggae music is not like other genres. And the proof of that is the way you have to strum your chords. In reggae, you don’t want your chords to ring out. Your strumming doesn’t have to be complicated as rock or blues. Here, guitars are used to provide rhythm and feel to the music. You can go as easy as single strumming the chords to the beat of the tempo.

Rule #2: Pull your fingers off the strings, on-time – What we mean by this is – once you play a chord you need to pull your fingers away from the fretboard in order to dampen the sound. What this does is it stops the chord from ringing out. This is the most crucial part of playing reggae and you have to perfect this anyhow if you don’t want to sound awful.

Rule #3: Strumming upwards is no crime – As a newbie Reggae player, your right hand would itch to strum the strings in an upwards stroke and the vast majority of reggae guitarists would shun you if you listen to your instinct. 

Well, let us assure you that strumming upwards is completely fine as long as your can make it groovy. There is no rule or no technique is better than the other here. Sometimes you will be required to do both upward and downward strumming when you are trying to produce the chikka sound

Rule #4: Don’t clash with the keyboards – If you are playing with a collective which includes a keyboardist, both of you will be in charge of playing chords and providing rhythm. Now, to diffuse this overshadowing of sounds what you can do is – play only the higher three strings of the chord on your guitar. This will help you in retaining the higher-end of the mix where the punch is, while the keyboards will lower the end of the sound spectrum.

Rule #4: Listen to learn – To get into the zone and become the best reggae guitarist you need to walk down in the history lane and study the legends who put down the foundation of the genre. Learn from the musicians who have spent years to perfect their sound and let your subconscious mind absorb all of it. Once it starts playing in your head, it will start reflecting in your playing.

Some of our album recommendations are – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Catch A Fire (Duh!), Augustus Pablo – King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown, Skatalites – Ska Boo-Da-Ba, Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus, Don Drummond – The Best Of

So the take away from this would be to feel the rhythm and play a harmonically percussive strikes on your guitar.

The Best Amp for Reggae Guitars

Going on a shopping spree for all things reggae but don’t know which one would be best reggae amp? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.

Frankly, an amp should be your secondary concern when it comes to this genre. A lot of reggae comes from your style of playing and the guitar that you have chosen. But if you still want to know which amp would help you retain the signature sound – it all comes down to the amount you are willing to spend or the quality that is acceptable to you.

You are looking for an amp that provides a crunchy, punchy, and big sound when you groove to the beat in a clean channel. And for that, some of our amp recommendations would be – Fender Mustang LT-25, Orange Amps ROCKER15Fender Hot Rod DeVille ML 212.

Conclusion

This is a one of a kind genre and should be treated like the gift it is. And, in order to bring justice to the genre, you need to have the best guitars for reggae and figure out the best tone that suits the sound you are going for. It is something that you figure out on your own when you spend some alone time with reggae. And for that, we would like to wish you all the best!

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