LESSONS IN REGGAE RHYTHM

BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer staff reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 05, 2013

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A VETERAN American musician is teaching the rudiments of reggae rhythm guitar through online company Guitar Control.


Jimmy Dillon, an accomplished guitarist, says his lessons focus on a basic pattern played in G major. It is geared toward experienced musicians and beginners.


In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Dillon commented on the difference between lead and rhythm guitar.


"Lead guitar can be sometimes overrated. Rhythm is what really counts...serving the song and supporting the groove. Especially in reggae," he said.


Since the lessons started in March, Dillon says there has seen a lot of interest expressed on his website (jimmydillon.com).


Mastering reggae rhythm guitar, he noted, is an enjoyable process.


"Playing reggae guitar chords can be a great exercise, regardless of a person's preferred style of music. The tempo is unique and often upbeat, so it's easy to enjoy and doesn't take too much effort."


Dillon says so far his students are from diverse backgrounds. From Australia, Europe and Canada.


The rhythm guitar is an essential part of Jamaican pop music. Some of its leading exponents are Jerome 'Jah Jerry' Haines, Lynn Taitt, Eric Frater and Alva 'Reggie' Lewis who excelled in ska, rock steady and reggae.


Dillon, 62, has toured and performed with big-name acts including Sting, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Toots and the Maytals. He describes his music as "blues-informed but very eclectic".


Dillon says he grew up in Los Angeles and Michigan, listening to Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and legendary blues guitarists such as Muddy Waters and BB King.


He formed his first band, The Fugitives, at age 15 and says he is adept at a variety of styles.


Dillon is also founder of the Blue Star Music Camps, which guides aspiring musicians.


 

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