Technique Focus Reggae skank
There is a popular myth among guitarists that the reggae ‘skank’ is played with up-strokes of the pick. Using up-strokes means that you are guessing where the ‘skank’ should happen instead of using the mechanics of the rhythm hand to provide consistent results. If you watch Bob Marley playing live you will notice he uses down-strokes. This provides more consistent results and also means if you are playing a quaver permutation you can follow the initial down stroke with an upstroke. The frettinghand muting is all important with regards to creating the correct tone and length of note. Try lightly placing your fingers on the strings above the desired frets. As you strum just press down enough to let the string make contact with the fret. As soon as the strings make contact let the pressure off. Experiment with various amounts of pressure until you achieve the desired effect. You can get away with not really fretting the strings at all. Listen to the intro of Stir It Up by the great Bob Marley, as it’s fascinating how he implies the harmony with what is essentially muted strumming.