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Thread: Sweep picking on mandolin?

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    Default Sweep picking on mandolin?

    I see lots of NVNV picking exercises in my method and exercise books, some reverse picking and some mixed picking. Is 'sweep picking' much used on mandolin? I'm talking about pieces where say you have a one note per string arpeggiated sequence on D A G, and play those NNN.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Iím sure there are many more examples but one I like is in this video of Emory Lester, at about 1:00 he does all downstrokes thru the chord progression, pretty cool sound.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    That is basically an arpeggiated chord and I believe is sometimes called a harp effect. Why not? That is what music is about.

    Starting on page 60 on Volume 2 of the reissued Calace method (Lichtenberg & Marshall) there is are some Exercises Using Arpeggios which indicate down strokes then upstrokes. Translator note says "This is also called 'harp arpeggio' or 'cross-picking.' The first of these #320 uses 8 note arpeggios (4 down and 4 up) and the second uses 6 note ones (3 down and 3 up)
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Mar-02-2021 at 1:04pm.
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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    That is basically an arpeggiated chord and I believe is sometimes called a harp effect. Why not? That is what music is about.

    Starting on page 60 on Volume 2 of the reissued Calace method (Lichtenberg & Marshall) there is are some Exercises Using Arpeggios which indicate down strokes then upstrokes. L&M have a note saying, "This is also called "harp arpeggio" or "cross-picking." The first of these #320 uses 8 note arpeggios (4 down and 4 up) and the second uses 6 note ones (3 down and 3 up)
    Thanks. This is an old technique for classical/Italian players.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    On page 49 of Bickford Mandolin Method Volume 4 there is an etude called "Arpeggios on Four Strings" followed on the next page by "The Arpeggio on Three Strings."

    Here's the the top and the first lines of both:

    Attachment 192452 Attachment 192453
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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    I’m sure there are many more examples but one I like is in this video of Emory Lester, at about 1:00 he does all downstrokes thru the chord progression, pretty cool sound.
    Excellent, thanks. It looks like he's sweeping up N through the chords then partially V back down again, in one seamless movement!

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    On page 49 of Bickford Mandolin Method Volume 4 there is an etude called "Arpeggios on Four Strings" followed on the next page by "The Arpeggio on Three Strings."

    Here's the the top and the first lines of both:

    Attachment 192452 Attachment 192453
    Thanks Jim, but those attachments aren't displaying on this PC.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thanks Jim, but those attachments aren't displaying on this PC.
    Nor on my Mac at least at this time.

    Something like this?:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	calace arpeggi ex 1.jpg 
Views:	72 
Size:	522.9 KB 
ID:	192459

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Nor on my Mac at least at this time.

    Something like this?:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	calace arpeggi ex 1.jpg 
Views:	72 
Size:	522.9 KB 
ID:	192459
    Thanks for that chart David, that should keep me going for a while. Do you stop that on each string in turn, or sweep through them all with a constant motion?

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Sorry. I am not sure what happened there. I think I posted a pdf and it got converted to two images that no longer show up.

    Here are the two Bickford pages from volume 4 as jpegs:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bickford4-Arpeggios-1.jpg 
Views:	44 
Size:	457.9 KB 
ID:	192587 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bickford4-Arpeggios-2.jpg 
Views:	24 
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ID:	192588
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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thanks for that chart David, that should keep me going for a while. Do you stop that on each string in turn, or sweep through them all with a constant motion?
    Each sweep is one long down (or up)stroke across all strings, in a carefully timed constant motion.

    It's fun practice, I'm still getting better at being smooth at it.

    Check the attachment in Jim's post as it has picking marks.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    I see lots of NVNV picking exercises in my method and exercise books, some reverse picking and some mixed picking. Is 'sweep picking' much used on mandolin? I'm talking about pieces where say you have a one note per string arpeggiated sequence on D A G, and play those NNN.
    What do the letters N and V signify?

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    That is basically an arpeggiated chord and I believe is sometimes called a harp effect. Why not? That is what music is about.

    Starting on page 60 on Volume 2 of the reissued Calace method (Lichtenberg & Marshall) there is are some Exercises Using Arpeggios which indicate down strokes then upstrokes. Translator note says "This is also called 'harp arpeggio' or 'cross-picking.' The first of these #320 uses 8 note arpeggios (4 down and 4 up) and the second uses 6 note ones (3 down and 3 up)
    "harp arpeggio" sounds to me like a tautology. The word "arpeggio" derives from "arpa"=harp. Anyway to my mind arpeggio and sweep picking is not really the same thing. An arpeggio is a broken chord, where the individual notes may very well be played one at a time, e.g., with alternating up- and downstrokes. A sweep is one stroke distributed over several strings and may be combined with various left hand legato devices. The guitar is far richer in possibilities than the mandolin owing to the tuning in smaller intervals.

    I use it very little, if at all, on mandolin, but extensively on guitar (probably inspired by Barney Kessel). I do use a kind of abbreviated sweep on mandolin when playing triplets. Either dropping the pick from one course to the next higher one or splitting a down stroke across one course.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    What do the letters N and V signify?
    I think those are the bowing direction symbols that look like nís and vís.
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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    N and V (Nobilis and Vilis, from 1698 according to Wiki) now appear in a number of mandolin method books for Down and Up strokes. Violin convention, b.t.w., is that the indicated direction is maintained for as long as a single tie covers the notes, because that gives the 'phrasing' sound. So e.g. 4 notes (or 8, or 12, or...) with an N on the first one would all be played in the same direction with one down bow. Obviously that's only going to work for mandolin in specific circumstances, so the exercises Jim Garber kindly posted above have a pick indication on every note so we're sure.

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    Default Re: Sweep picking on mandolin?

    Most mandolin and guitar methods and tablatures, and some sheets, use something more like the capital Pi symbol and the carat or (often inverted) v letter.

    An "open bottomed box" similar to the capital Pi symbol indicates downstroke, while the "v" indicates upstroke. I don't know the origin of these conventions, but they could well have been developed from the small n and v of Nobilis and Vilis ...
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