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Five Classic Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett Riffs


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I was saddened to hear of Aston 'Familyman' Barrett's death last week, but I decided to celebrate his fantastic work by featuring five of his classic bass riffs in a YouTube lesson.


All five riffs come from Bob Marley songs, as these songs form a big part of his career, and they're great! But Familyman also had a long career after Bob Marley, right up to a few years ago. 


These bass line are very accessible and not too technical but the real secret to playing them, and Reggae bass in general, is your feel and groove. Pay particular attention to the rest of the band and where they are playing. This is called 'placement,' and as you develop as a musician, placement becomes very important. When I dep (or sub as it's sometimes called), I always check out where the band, especially the rhythm section are playing in regards to the beat. Some bands play right on the beat, some behind, and some in front.


Focusing on 'locking- in' with the drummer will also help you to produce a solid groove for the whole band.


Groove is what Familyman was known for, so always have this in mind as you play his bass lines. If you develop a strong sense of groove, you'll always have the audience bopping with you when you play live.


Transcriptions of each riff are on a free PDF - link under video lesson. 



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