Pick Direction in 3/4?


#1

I have been playing with the downstoke of the pick on the down beat. So in 4/4 a run of four 1/8th notes followed by two 1/4 notes the (pick would go (D U D U D D) This is pretty common, but when playing songs in 3/4 do you all play D U D D U D when faced with six 1/8th notes or just alternate D U D U D U?


#2

Do you mean triplets? like in 6/8 time? Where there are two beats, but each beat is a triplet (one and the, two and the) like “Drunken Sailor”? I wonder how people approach pick direction in 6/8 also.


#3

In 3, I end up sometimes doing different things, but I try to resolve to a down on 1 in 3/4 (and 4 in 6/8). Everything else is try to make as much “normal” up down as possible.


#4

3/4 time gives me fits, as regards pick-direction. I can’t seem to keep track of up beats and down beats the way I can in 4/4 fime. It’s not so bad for me when it’s a string of 8th notes (then, I just alternate pick). But when it’s a mix of 8ths and quarter notes, or when there are pickup notes before the beginning of a measure, then I get totally befuddled.

Is bluegrass-style flatpicking just built for 4/4 time, or am I in need of lots more practice?


#5

Triplets sometimes cause me problems with pick direction, but 3/4 doesn’t usually cause me any more difficulty than 4/4. I just use regular alternate picking. My riff vocabulary is more limited in 3/4 time, but I think that’s just because I don’t practice it as much.


#6

— Begin quote from “Julian”

It’s not so bad for me when it’s a string of 8th notes (then, I just alternate pick). But when it’s a mix of 8ths and quarter notes, or when there are pickup notes before the beginning of a measure, then I get totally befuddled.

— End quote

I agree Julian, it’s the rests that make it difficult. It’s interesting to me also, when swinging something, in essence we are changing the up beat 8th notes to the third note of a 8th note triplet. If I were playing the triplets straight through 3 beats, that would be (down beats in bold) D U D U D U D U D. When swinging I play D U D U D. In essence, I am always playing the swung down beats with a down stroke. When I start adding triplet phrases mixed with swung 8th notes, it can really throw things off. I’ll just have a 50-50 chance of my playing a particular note after a rest as an up or down stroke. Sometimes I have to just pick a direction that works best and repeat it until it gets natural.


#7

Good stuff, Mike. If you were treating the swing beat like a triplet with a rest (using D U D, D U D), you would be playing all downstrokes which seems odd at first, but after thinking about it, I realize I do this quite a bit when playing a blues beat with a power chord.

But with D U D, U D U, triplets it would be D D, U U, D D. And that seems very strange.


#8

— Begin quote from “ldpayton”

But with D U D, U D U, triplets it would be D D, U U, D D. And that seems very strange.

— End quote

Yep, I’d have a hard time dong that. You mentioned blues… that’s a perfect example. I am trying to imagine playing a blues shuffle (I am thinking Pride and Joy) as DD, UU, DD… eeeeeeek!


#9

— Begin quote from “KGM”

Do you mean triplets? like in 6/8 time? Where there are two beats, but each beat is a triplet (one and the, two and the) like “Drunken Sailor”? I wonder how people approach pick direction in 6/8 also.

— End quote

First off thanks for all the comments. It might help for some context since it seems the message is, it depends on the song, and type of music. I was/am working on “jesu joy of man’s desiring” mandolin/guitar duet (not really bluegrass, but a good church piece). I have seen the sheet music in 6/8 and 3/4, but it is definately not the drunken sailor/galloping 6/8 more the waltzy type. I have also heard that DDU, DDU works for this, but I am going to try and work on DUD, DUD since the accent on the 1 or 1 and 4 is so strong with this song.