View Full Version : A Nuance on Jig Pick Direction

John Flynn
Dec-04-2005, 12:38pm
I am really starting to get into jigs lately after being intimidated by them for a while. OK, I know that the pick direction on eighth note triplets is always DUD. I also know that quarter notes will always be downstrokes. I am doing that and can hear why it needs to be that way. No problem up to that point.

My question, though, is what about notes that are not quarter notes and not part of triplets in jigs? Take "Trip to Sligo" from the Mandozine practice tunes.
Trip to Sligo (http://www.mandozine.com/music/search_results.php?searchfor=sligo&tuneselectby=C&mandolevel=&category=&songkey=&artist=&transcriber=&sortby=T&sortorder=A&submit=Find+TableEdit+Files)
On the first full measure, you have a quarter note (D) and you have a triplet (DUD), but in between you have an eighth note by itself. Is that down or up, and what is the general rule that would let me figure that out for myself? If it were something in 4/4, the four eighth notes would just be DUDU, but that doesn't see right here. I have played it both ways and can't tell. I will say the DDUD seems awkward.

Then in the fourth full measure there is a triplet (DUD), followed by a quarter note, followed by a single eighth note. Is that the same rule or different? Thanks in advance for the help.

Dec-04-2005, 1:33pm
I usually down/up the quarter/eight combo. It breaks the pattern, but nothing needs to be set in stone. Some people play jigs with alternate picking; it sounds different, and if that's what they want, I guess it's not wrong, just different...

John Flynn
Dec-04-2005, 1:38pm
Thanks, John! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Tom C
Dec-04-2005, 6:04pm
technically, I would play that 1/8 note down as it's like the last note in a string of 3. So the puckup and first 2 notes would all be down strokes then DUD. But it feels fine playing them as upstrokes -almost like a pickup to the next measure.

Dec-05-2005, 10:49am
I play Down on quarter notes but everything else in the DUDUDU pattern on jigs in contrast to the more conventional opinion to play DUDDU. When I started playing I was having trouble with pick direction and I didn't want the confusion of trying to learn a different pattern for jigs. I beleive you can accent a note on an upstroke same as as a downstroke.

Glad to hear you're playing Irish music (and bluegrass).

Mark Robertson-Tessi
Dec-05-2005, 1:17pm
There's no reason why you can't do either with the same results. There's no necessary difference between an upstroke and a downstroke, they sound the same if you play them the same (that's the trick though). I generally alternate strokes, accenting as appropriate. Sometimes I'll end up playing part of a tune UDUDUD intil an ornament or missing note throws it back to DUDUDU.


Dec-05-2005, 5:07pm
I try to keep up the DUD pattern throughout -- so for a quarter note followed by an eighth note i would do D for the quarter and then D for the eighth. For a quarter+eighth followed by a triplet I would do D D DUD.

Just my $0.02



Michael H Geimer
Dec-05-2005, 5:52pm
MJ ... you've made a decent case for picking jigs as DUU.

In that case, all the third eigth-notes in a triplet could be played UP and always played as a pick-up to the downbeat. I can image it might bring a nice feel to the phrases if done smoothly.

I doubt I'll swicth what I'm doing, but it's something to ponder.

- Benig

Mark Robertson-Tessi
Dec-05-2005, 5:57pm
Dan Beimborn uses the DUU pattern, as has been noted before. And his jigs sound pretty darn good.


Dec-07-2005, 6:02pm
Umm, without taking the time to go check the archives, it was in my head that Dan B's usual jig pattern was DDU, rather than DUU....

What's more important the the actual picking pattern is the rhythmic pattern. Barring occaisional deviations for effect, the triplets are not actually played evenly--the first note gets extended a bit, the second truncated, and the third at nominal value. This reinforces the accent on the beat. As I recall, it's also Dan's reasoning for DDU--the "recovery" between the two down strokes "naturally" lengthens the first note.

I play jigs in DUD, and a quarter/eighth as D_U. I tried DDU, but DUD was just too firmly ingrained....

Mark Robertson-Tessi
Dec-07-2005, 8:04pm
Ooops, you're right, he does play DDU. My bad.


Dec-08-2005, 2:44am
Yes.. DDU DDU on double jigs (all eigth notes) and usually Down-up (holding the down for a while obviously) when it's a single jig (Quarter note, Eighth note).

Dec-09-2005, 3:16pm
Well, do what feels right, but technically speaking it would be played with a down stroke. The reason is becuase in Jig Time(6/8), traditionally speaking you play it DUD DUD and in the case you are talking about the 8th note that follows a quarter note. Well is lands on the 6th eight note, which is played with a Down stroke. So the passage and after will be like this" |DUD D D|DUD DUD|DUD DUD| and so forth.