First rest your left hand on top of the strings without applying any pressure and it will mute your sound. Then you quickly press down on the top three strings when the right hand strikes the chord. You are trying to create a short, staccato sound. Practice first with the strings muted, and then progress to pressing them down.
The right hand plays a strong down stroke motion on the offbeat of the rhythm. You are not trying to “strum” the strings, you want to “chop” them. Put some power into your picking attack and make use of the guitar as a percussive instrument. Also remember to play only the top 3 strings.
Reggae strumming patterns
- The most common reggae rhythm guitar pattern involves playing a downstroke on the offbeat of the rhythm. So if you are counting in 4/4 time then you would play a downstroke on the + (and )of the beat.
The second most common reggae guitar pattern is a down & up stroke. The down stroke is played on the offbeat and is followed by a quick up stroke on the top strings.
“Get Up, Stand Up” Bob Marley