View Full Version : Up stroke
Is there a particular time to use the up stroke or do you guys alternate ups and downs when playing? This may be dumb, but it is buggin' me.
If I understand the question correctly, my answer would be that it depends (spoken like a true psychologist). I usually alternate up and down strokes when picking eighth notes but play quarter notes with down strokes (assuming they land on the beat). However, this is not the case when crossing picking, etc.
Your right to be bugged by it and I agree with NewSong.
By always picking with alternate up/down strokes you free yourself from trying to figure out what to do with your right hand. Note that if you hammer a note during a sting of 8th notes you will have to do two up or down strokes in a row.
Play downbeats with a downstroke, play upbeats with an upstroke. (If you're counting 1+2+3+4+, you play downstrokes on the numbers and upstrokes on the "ands".)
That's not quite the same thing as changing pick direction every note -- the difference comes when you "stay out" a note. E.g., the first measure of Red Haired Boy has notes on beats 1+(2)+3(+)4+, where you don't play the beats in parentheses. I would play that DU-UD-DU, where the dashes are "don't play." And as 250sc says, if you hammer on or pull off a note, you don't pick with your right hand, so you have to "skip" the stroke you would otherwise play there.
For straight eight notes - DUDUDUDU (D = down, U = up)
If you play a quarter note, H.O., P.O, rest stroke, dotted quarter etc....if you keep you pick moving even if you don't hit the string, you will be in position to hit the next picked note.
It's always Down on the 1, 2, 3 & 4 - Up on the AND......until it's not http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Like everything else, there are exceptions to the rule, but that's the basic idea. A good practice could be to play an open string and just concentrate on your picking.
Play quarter notes - all down
Eight notes - alternate picking
Make up patterns using an eight note on the 1, 2 3 or 4 and a quarter note on the AND. Make up patterns adding a dotted quarter note. Play with a metronom set to quarter notes, and check to see if your down stroke falls on the click.
Take a look at John Moore's picking exercises (http://www.mandolinsessions.com/dec03/moore.html). These are the best way to get a hang of alternate picking, IMHO.