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Playing with a pick - upstroke first?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Smedzlatko, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Smedzlatko


    Dec 12, 2013

    I just registered and have a question about playing with a pick. I am in a power metal band where I switched from finger style to pick style playing and I developed a technique, where my first note is always played as upstroke.

    I know that common technique is dowstroke-upstroke-downstroke-up.... etc but I had trouble with string skipping etc and by beginning with upstroke, I kindoff eliminated this problem xD Have you ever come across this issue? I have not suffered from aby kind of problem because of this but I still count myself as a beginner and perhaps, time will show that using this technique is not such a good idea, so I would like to ask you :)
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Your technique is fine, many players start with an up-stroke. You will learn in time that the relation to how you pick is based in how you think.
    Any picking technique begins with how you feel the count, not how you play it...as a rule you play what you think.

    If U is an upstroke and D a down stroke, then if you look at this,
    you will see in reality an up stroke always follows a downstroke....and a downstroke always follows an up stroke.
    So it is how you think about it, where you want to feel that one....is it a downtroke or is it an upstroke?.....and you will learn it does not matter to the person listening. No one learning a song you have played will feel the need to start with upstrokes....so why should you? Learn to play both because at somepoint within rhythm you will syncopation that means you have to learn to reverse the order in which you feel beats or you will trip over your pick always trying to keep the one/strongbeat consistent. :)
  3. At first you may hear a difference between your up and down stroke - but eventually they will (if you want) sound the same.

    Just do what comes naturally - and the cool thing is that, after sticking to it for a few weeks, you won't even think about it. It just will be.

    (You are still hitting down on the 1, right?)
  4. Smedzlatko


    Dec 12, 2013
    It feels natural alraeady, since I have been doing this for a few months now - it just perhaps look weird cause everybody I have seen so far always play d-u-d-u-d-u-d-u and I start with an upstroke

    So in eight notes riff - i play UDUDUDUD. There is no sound difference between downstrokes and upstrokes in my playing, I was just curious, whether this is normal xD And I start with U on 1´s note if thats what u are asking :)
  5. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Upstroke or downstroke. For me (when I play with a pick), it depends on where I am in the song, or when the note changes. Some start with an upstroke and some with a downstroke.
  6. Jamerman


    Apr 8, 2013
    Tbh it doesn't really matter what you start on, so long as you emphasis beats as you mean to. Generally guitar players emphasis beats with a down-pick, but it can be done with up-picking.

    One thing important to note is making sure you are strictly alternate picking, not doing some sort of economy motion accidently. For example, if you play the following phrase:
    G| ----------------- |
    A|----------5 6 ----|
    E|7 8 7 5-----3 3|
    You should (By should I mean it can be played fastest) do either DUDUDUDU OR UDUDUDUD. String crossing does not matter, keep alternating. Make every note sound clear and place emphasis where you want
  7. I've been a pick player from the beginning back in the late 70's, and playing down/up, all down or all up really depends on the parts in the song. In most cases it's DUDU with single notes, but with 2 string chords on D/G or G/C strings; you can get a real nice sound doing all upstrokes vs downstrokes.
  8. Hmm...

    I was playing and consciously feeling the up and down stroke in relation to the one beat. I guess it doesn't matter - I was surprised to find myself doing both.

    Now punk...Down on the one is mandatory! (just for the look)
  9. Lobomov


    Aug 2, 2013
    You are depriving yourself of sweep picking ... Being able to just go down down down, when changing string.

    But other than that .. Its fine.

    Thing is, you're lackung streng snd dexterity. Whether you build that up by playing DU or UD doesnt really matter and once you have it, you'll be able to do it either way.
  10. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    I've been doing it this way for years--start with the up, although of course I (and you, from the sound of it) do both. I never realized it until another bassist pointed it out to me. Will Lee does the same.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hey, if it's working for you...
  12. I play both finger and pick style and when i play with a pick I usually play down strokes for most songs like AC/DC, if it's a bit of a faster pace song I'll play with the down up down up technique sometimes with triplets or 16th notes (IE. Hook In mouth: Megadeth) just keep practicing and you'll develop your own style in time