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strict alternate picking 8th note triplets

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mambo4, Dec 2, 2019.


  1. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I'm practicing strict alternate up-down picking, using Irish tunes.
    I want to make sure I have triplet 8th notes correct.

    triplets.png

    I think the correct approach is as above: every quarter note down beat is a down stroke.
    This creates a counter-intuitive "double down-stroke" between the last triplet note and the next downbeat. My natural tendency is to simply continue alternating, but I find this breaks the "every downbeat is a down stroke" form, which can mess me up in the next phrase or bar

    so, am I doin it right?
     
  2. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Downstrokes-on-downbeats and strict-alternation are equally "legit" techniques, and (fortunately) much of the time they produce the same result. With triplets they don't, so you have to choose one or the other. You'll get people arguing both sides of this, so I suggest using whichever works better for you.
     
  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    @Lobster11 is correct. Per Carole Kay, you always start on an upstroke and always alternate. So, one could say different strokes for... well, you know.
     
    MattZilla and IamGroot like this.
  4. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I believe Carol Advocates Down-strokes on downbeats.
    Interestingly she advocates DOWN UP UP for triplets at slower tempos
    From tip #27 on her site:

    But, when It comes triplets in an Irish reel, I'm thinking it might be "too fast" for DOWN UP UP. I'll give it some time tho. I hear she knows her stuff.
     
  5. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    If I were playing that with a pick in the Irish idiom, I would use two downstrokes on the quaver pairs (first and third beats) then up-down-up on the second and fourth beats. Imagine the Bodhran players' right hand...
    ...but I question the notation. The time signature would be almost universally 6/8, with beats 1 and 3 being a notional crotchet-quaver group. This then works with strict alternating, with the 'upstroke' on beats 1 and 3 being a non-playing 'reset' stroke. I guess, to get the 'jig' feel you are interpreting the quaver pairs with swing, to the same end?
     
  6. D_D UDU D_D UDU
    or
    D_U DUD U_D UDU
     
  7. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    if you try both, you will notice the difference in sound. if you do down-up-up you have an emphasis on the downbeat which can be desireable for certain styles. And with a little practice can be done very effectively up to certain tempos. at high tempos alternating will be necessary and the downbeat will loose importance...
     
    IamGroot and SteveCS like this.
  8. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    The first one. The relentless driving rhythmic engine is pretty much a prerequisite for the jig. This is fast intense dance music, and there is no time to stop and risk stumbling just to change direction. Watch the bodhran players - it's a continual.motion.
    It's not uncommon to mix things up by playing 3 in the first beat, or by tying across the barline. With the hand going up and down all you have to do is lift away or engage to play the ties or extra triplets without interrupting to engine.
     
  9. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Indeed.
     
    IamGroot likes this.
  10. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Those who subscribe to strict-alternation-no-matter-what-so-help-you-God will say that you should be able to make your upstrokes and downstrokes sound exactly the same, and accent either as necessary/desired.

    Not taking sides here; just sayin'....
     
  11. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    The specific piece is a reel, not a jig. So, its 4/4.
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  12. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I would most likely play it strictly alternating:

    upload_2019-12-3_8-17-20.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    JimmyM likes this.
  13. Think 'choc-o-late'
     
  14. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    OK, then its more tricky. Have a look at this...
    Lesson #3: Rhythm bowing patterns for jigs and reels

    Also this might help, which blows the strict alternating out of the water...


    Edit. Actually, listening to this video again the more it sounds like two semi-quavers and a quaver (scottish style), not a real triplet... the last of the three sounds long to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  15. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    i know. JimmyM demonstrated that alternating vs. downstrokes only does sound different, although he himself was convinced it doesn´t. I would only advice people to try the Down-UP-UP thing because it produces very lively basslines and fills BECAUSE you have a kind of D-u-u gallop with an emphasis on the downbeat going that´s actually harder to do when alternating.
     
    Lobster11 and SteveCS like this.
  16. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    funny I googled the exact same video :)

    "Strict" in my OP is more about the picking direction than triplet note duration.

    Today I learned that French Canadian syncopation is a thing
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    SteveCS likes this.
  17. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    That makes two of us!
     
  18. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Right, right.... He recorded something twice and challenged everyone to try to tell the difference (and was shocked when everyone could). I can't remember, though: Was that specifically about triplets, or was it some other kind of odd-number-of-notes thing?

    Anyway, for me the picking pattern is always about what feels right. The thing I most like about playing with a pick isn't so much the tone as it is the physical motion, which really helps me lock into certain kinds of grooves. Sometimes the motion that feels right is downstrokes-on-downbeats and sometimes it is strict alternation (and of course oftentimes these are the same).
     
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  19. I suggest listening to some recordings of fiddler's playing the Irish tunes you're working on.
    Listen for bowing ties and where they play their up and down-bows. Generally, the down-bows are arranged for ease of playing and emphasis of high points in the music, much like down-strokes when playing with a pick.
     

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