Lee Oskar’s Guide to Playing Reggae Music with Guitar and Harmonica

Lee Oskar shares tips and a video on how to play reggae music with guitar and harmonica.
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I'm excited to share my musical ideas with readers of Guitar Player through our monthly series of tips, tutorials and videos.

These educational guides demonstrate how easy and fun it can be to combine the harmonica with your guitar playing—to enhance your artistry and add spice, energy, soul and variety to your music.

In this month’s lesson, we’ll show you how the harmonica in one of our altered tunings (the Melody Maker) can be incorporated with your guitar playing to perform reggae music with natural flair.

Did you know that the harmonica is not just for playing folk, blues or campfire music? Thanks to altered tunings developed by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, many different genres and styles of music can be played including reggae, R&B, country, pop, jazz, Latin, Afro and ska by with a MelodyMaker; minor blues, reggae, ska, Latin, funk, R&B and hip-hop with a Natural Minor; Gypsy, Yiddish, Asian, East European, tango and reggae with a Harmonic Minor, and of course, folk, country, blues, rock and pop with a Major Diatonic—which is the standard harmonica tuning.

For this lesson, we’ll address using the Melody Maker harmonica, which, with its three altered notes, is the ideal choice for playing standard melodies in the second position (cross-harp) to play Reggae music, as well as country, R&B, pop, world beat and Afro-Latin music.

In this short educational video featuring Lee Oskar Harmonicas featured artist Randy McQuay, we demonstrate playing a reggae groove with a G Major 7th chord to an Am 7th chord, using the Lee Oskar MelodyMaker (key of G) along with the guitar.

Check out the accompaniment patterns for guitar and harmonica, and try playing along with Randy’s approach to “Stir It Up” with a reggae groove on the guitar and adding a lead harmonica line.

We hope you enjoy what you discover when you “Stir it Up” with your guitar and a harmonica. Happy harping!

For more information, visit leeoskar.com.