Watch the R&B-Reggae Hybrids online guitar lesson by Andrew Ford from Focus On: Reggae Bass
Now we will look at reggae bass through an R&B lens. As a matter of fact, in a track like this the only thing hinting at reggae is the bass line. The bass line is similar to the line in the song "The Joker" by Steve Miller, which almost has a doo wop 50's type feel to it. The whole example is based on a big hit by the artist Shaggy called "Angel". The syncopation in the bass line and the outlining of the triads with its hypnotic vibe gives it a reggae-like feel. In the original, the Jamaican style vocals also give it that feel. It has that question and answer flow to the bass line with the two phrases played here over a 1-4-5-4 progression in A. The first phrase starts on the root doubling the bass drum to drive home that R&B feel with the 8th notes. We continue with a 1-2-3-1 riff before moving to the same sparse 8th notes over the D chord like in the beginning. We will then leave some space before continuing to the next phrase in bar 2 which starts with a reggae type syncopation using the major 3rd of E, G#. Next we continue our E chord phrase moving down to the root and again play the root and octave below that. The second phrase ends over the D chord with a 16th note riff that walks down from the root to the major 7, C# to the 6, B, and then a chromatic connecting note A# or Bb that leads us back to A nicely. We are telling a story with this bass line, having a conversation, listen for the space, the melodic flow, use of various combinations of 16th and 8th notes, while maintaining that heavy synth bass type sound that drives the song.