Watch the 5-4-1 Reggae Groove online guitar lesson by Andrew Ford from Bass Groove Survival Guide
This first chord progression we will use is often refered to as 5-4-I. You will find it in a ton of songs like Sweet Home Alabama. You may be wondering, what does 5-4-1 mean?, basically, I am talking in terms of intervals, or the distance each chord is from the root. To figure out the chords in a 5-4-1 progression in the key of F we would first determine the note that is an interval of a fifth or 5 from F. That would be C, our first chord of the progression. Then the note which is a fourth away or 4 of F, that would be Bb. The final chord of this progression is the 1 or root which is F. So a 5-4-1 progression in the key of F would be C, Bb, and then F.
This is a mid tempo reggae groove where the drums play a one drop beat. This is a drum beat where beat one is left open in the groove. There should be a nice swing to the rhythms played here. The use of space and accenting unconventional beats of the phrase are characteristics of this groove.