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Thread: Cross picking patterns

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    .."Theoretically-sure. In reality- downstrokes and upstrokes sound different, especially if you use rest strokes" Jim could you elaborate on the importance of rest strokes in this context please?

  2. #52
    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    If across string picking in a roll pattern can't be claimed to be crosspicking, then those who can only across string pick can't claim to be able to crosspick. So the tendency would be for those who across string pick to want the term crosspick to include what they do ("sure, I can crosspick"), and those who have learned the McReynolds patterns and believe it to be a distinctly different technique well worth acquiring, would tend to want the term to be limited to the McReynolds patterns (nope, what you are doing is not crosspicking").

    I about lived on McGann's pages rent free for a month or two when I started playing; Jordan Ramsey's exercise for tremolo posted here has been very helpful. Both are helpful, informative, and encouraging, and I admire them as mandolinists. Therefore, since I can't crosspick McReynolds style, I can't crosspick on the mandolin. (I get the distinct impression that Nils H., who sent me Up the Neck, doesn't care either way.) Stick a fork in me.

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    I guess the OP is really impressed by 4 pages of discussion and banter about what exactly is and isn't correctly labeled crosspicking. Obviously there are different types of crosspicking techniques to choose from. Hopefully their question was answered before we deviated on the minutia that is both stereotypical and endearing of the Cafe crowd. I enjoy opposing viewpoints and energetic discussion especially when we can express ourselves passionately yet remain civil.

    Quote Originally Posted by pickloser View Post
    Stick a fork in me.
    *Sticks a fork in pickloser for probably not the last time.

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    Whether you agree or think I'm just a windbag, I wish everyone great fun and great music.
    haha.. Seeing how you're a college professor it might be a little of both but we still love you anyway, John.
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  4. #54
    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Quote Originally Posted by ald View Post
    .."Theoretically-sure. In reality- downstrokes and upstrokes sound different, especially if you use rest strokes" Jim could you elaborate on the importance of rest strokes in this context please?
    I'm not Jim, but I'll try

    In a DDU roll on strings 432 or 321, the first down is played and the pick comes to rest on the next string. The 2nd pick stroke, then, is basically a continuation of the 1st- similar to a 'sweep pick'. This is an ancient technique, as Mr. Magora has mentioned, and is also used in oud playing, classical guitar and mandolin, as well as being the prevalent technique used in Django style gypsy jazz guitar. The sound it produces is full and rich, the strings are vibrating in a circular axis (watch the string ring after a 'free stroke' with the pick going out into the air, vs. a rest stroke, and you'll see as well as hear what I mean). It produces a sound fundamentally different from a down/up.

    The rest stroke is a technique also used by one William Smith Monroe. It certainly harkens back to the pre-electricity days, when musicians needed to project acoustically across dance floors and ballrooms. It produces the most volume and tone, because it gets the instrument to ring in the most efficient manner.

    I learned alternate (and free stroke) picking first, and believed that everything could be played with that technique...and that's pretty much true, but some passages are easier to play with consecutive pick strokes. The main point is they do sound and feel different. Viva la difference! It's great to know there are choices.

  5. #55
    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Quote Originally Posted by pickloser View Post
    If across string picking in a roll pattern can't be claimed to be crosspicking, then those who can only across string pick can't claim to be able to crosspick. So the tendency would be for those who across string pick to want the term crosspick to include what they do ("sure, I can crosspick"), and those who have learned the McReynolds patterns and believe it to be a distinctly different technique well worth acquiring, would tend to want the term to be limited to the McReynolds patterns (nope, what you are doing is not crosspicking").
    In real life, these terms are not going to have the kind of 'stricter definition' that I use. That's life, and I'm not so pedantic to say "that's bad" or "wrong". I just call it cross string picking. There are times I do it myself, too. It's just another tool in the toolbox. I just think calling a hammer "scissors" is kind of imprecise.

    Quote Originally Posted by pickloser View Post
    I about lived on McGann's pages rent free for a month or two when I started playing; Jordan Ramsey's exercise for tremolo posted here has been very helpful. Both are helpful, informative, and encouraging, and I admire them as mandolinists. Therefore, since I can't crosspick McReynolds style, I can't crosspick on the mandolin. (I get the distinct impression that Nils H., who sent me Up the Neck, doesn't care either way.) Stick a fork in me.
    I hope you are just being sarcastic (no smiley, man?). If you don't care to crosspick McReynolds Style (As Enforced By The McGann International Music Police), the world will still turn, you will still make fine music, and live a happy life. I only care what other people do in that part of my Job on the Force while on Earth is to be a (hopefully helpful) Instructor.

    Seriously, I am not a fan of the Music Police (the same pedantic dweeb wearing different clothes in each style of music, wagging a finger and saying 'no, no'), and hate to think that I am coming off that way.

    Now, hit the floor and give me 20 Rawhides at whole note=408!

  6. #56

    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    I cannot contribute to this subject. I would be very happy I were able to do any, alternate picking or crosspicking , nearly as good as John McGann or any of ye. So this discussion seems rather academic to me, though I am aware that the tradition of this music we like is very important. We want to keep this music alive and maintain it for future generations. Including all the variations and terms and whatever we regard important. Same goes for irish, scottish or any folk.

    I have another question. A few days ago I got "Mandolin Crosspicking Technique" from Mickey Cochran. I had quick preliminary run through the pages and I must say I think it is very good and helpful and answers alot of questions I have.

    Will not any lecturer and anyone who is writing about this subject will have to take account of what Andy Statman or Jesse McReynolds or any other artist invented or improved ? And will not this book by Mickey Cochran also have these elements included ?

  7. #57
    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Mickey's book is cross string alternate picking, not McReynolds style. You can apply Jesse's picking patterns to many of the examples, and the music in the book is all good and valid, how about if we call it a 'different take' on crosspicking...

  8. #58
    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Professor McGann, you got me wrong. I meant if that's the way you want it, then good enough. You are not a policeman, you are an expert. I owe you, and I'm gonna have it your way. I appreciate the help you give. I'd like to be able to crosspick. If I live long enough, I hope to get to it.

    (Right now, I think trying to acquire that skill would mess up that other thing I learned that's not crosspicking. Get the fork back out Greg.)

  9. #59
    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    I never put it away. I knew you'd be back. I can't believe we're still forking talking about x-picking.
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  10. #60
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    You know what? Whether you use Jesse style or alternate picking, it sounds really good, doesn't it?!?

  11. #61
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Well, alternate picking or crosspicking, what I would really like to know is how exactly you fit a melody into such a pattern. How would I take a melody and work a pattern around it? For instance there is a tune by Alison Kraus singing the Beatle's I do (I think) and there is a banjo cross-picking solo. Very nice but how does he/she flesh out the melody, according to what principles?

  12. #62
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    As in Scruggs style banjo, the melody notes are generally surrounded by (mostly) chord tones and sometimes scale notes from the key/mode of the moment.

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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Does anyone have copies of John McGann's cross-picking materials? Unfortunately, for obvious and sad reasons, the links to his website no longer work.

    Thanks!

    Lee Lauridsen
    Lawrence, Kansas

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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Thanks to J Ramsey and all for an insightful discussion. I think definitions are as powerful as their clarity and succinct description.

    Playing:
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  15. #65
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Getting in on this late but as I understand it Jesse was using banjo rolls with a flat pick. The main banjo rolls are forward and reverse, but sometimes this won't work in the melody so there are other, less used rolls ( in and out, forward backward etc) but the rythem or timing remains constant or another way to say it is the time between notes is the same. We've all heard banjo players? that "gallop" rather than roll. That comes from thinking 1,2,3 now I' ve finished start again. In a roll the time between 3 and 1 is the same as between 1and 2or 2 and 3. This is what I think defines true cross picking and is not necessarily true in alternate picking. Both have a use in mandolin playing but are different, having worked on "true cross picking" for years I think it is harder to do correctly. IMHO

  16. #66
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cross picking patterns

    Quote Originally Posted by lauridsenl View Post
    Does anyone have copies of John McGann's cross-picking materials? Unfortunately, for obvious and sad reasons, the links to his website no longer work.
    You can find the page on archive.org. I don't know if that link will work so here is the actual page content from the site:

    WHAT IS CROSSPICKING?

    "Crosspicking" is a term that is often confused with alternate picking. Let's define our terms:

    ALTERNATE PICKING: The art of plectrum (pick) playing which places a downstroke on the downbeat and the upstroke on the upbeat, so the pattern would look like DUDUDUDU for 8 eighth notes in a 4/4 measure.

    The strength of this style is that your right hand becomes trained to deal with any string grouping (although not all are as comfortable as others). This "all-purpose" technique allows you to play fast, fluid lines without getting "hung up". However, the emphasis is always strong/weak, grouped in twos, when playing groups of 8th notes.

    CROSSPICKING: Developed by master mandolinist Jesse McReynolds in emulation of the bluegrass banjo sounds of Earl Scruggs, but probably used for centuries in "world music". There are two basic patterns (imagine strings 4 3 2)- a reverse roll is DUUDUUDU strings 42342343. A forward roll would be DDUDDUDU strings 43243243.

    The strength of this style is that you are now able to play a strong syncopation by accenting the "and of 2" with a downstroke. Alternate picking does not give the same sound, as you'll hear and feel by experimenting.These patterns yield a 3+3+2 grouping across the measure, which adds a totally unique feel compared to alternate picking.

    Applying alternate picking patterns to the above crosspicking pattern does NOT make it crosspicking. True crosspicking is based on DDUDDUDU or DUUDUUDU patterns across the strings-not alternate picking.

    In the DDU pattern, the second down is really a continuation of the first. In other words, play the first downstroke and come to rest on the next string- then just follow through. You can build a head of steam rather quickly with this crosspicking technique, which agrees wholeheartedly with the laws of physics.

    I once learned a Tony Rice solo ("Farewell Blues") note for note. I played it with alternate picking. It never "sounded right" although I knew I had the right notes and positions. I learned about crosspick, applied the pattern, and viola. Night and Day!

    Alternate picking is alternate picking, whether on one string or across a group of five. Why call it crosspicking? Because you "go across the strings"? Alternate picking does not yield the same sound/articulation as crosspicking. I think crosspicking was VERY well defined in the '70's when Andy's book on Jesse came out (and it remains the definitive source for true crosspicking). Everyone who talked about "crosspicking" on the mandolin was talking about the "Jesse McReynolds" style. I have never seen the term "crosspicking" applied to alternate picking until the past couple of years.

    Andy Statman's "Jesse McReynolds" book, Oak Publications (now out of print, sadly) is the definitive guide to true crosspicking.

    There are several mandolin books on the market purporting to cover "Crosspicking"; in reality they are using alternate picking across groups of strings.

    (Apply Yankee accent): My cat could have kittens in the oven, but I wouldn't call 'em biscuits! >:-}

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