Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Sixteenth Note Mandolin Strums

Continuing the discussion from Discuss the Mandolin lesson: Quarter Note Triplet Study:

@Mike_R posted this video inquiring about the 16th note strums:

Here is my response:


I must correct myself that the 16th note strums in the original video are happening on the & of 3, not on the downbeat.


Awesome, thanks Ben!!! I was hearing it as a triplet instead of a 16th (thinking an extra strum), so was having trouble pausing on the downbeat to catch an up stroke on the up beat to end on a down strum on one. A 16th should be much more manageable… faster but no pick direction management to get hung up. Great exercise too (playing 1/8ths as double down before worrying about the upstrokes). I suspect that will do great for me.

Thanks for indulging my questionably related question. I thought my problem was feel, but it was mis-hearing or thinking. Getting my noggin straight should get the hands working as well.


Thanks again Ben! I got to dedicate a little time to this after work. The double down on the 1/8ths really unlocked it for me. So in three, as I am getting ready to do it, the stroke on three sets it all up. On 3 (no ee) an uh 1 it is down down, up down. If I don’t prepare on the down stroke of three, I am already behind and it is too late. I made some little variants on the exercises Ben gave to get used to it. Oddly enough, playing 16ths for all of three was easier to feel and play than skipping the ee and playing 16ths only on the an uh of 3. If anyone can follow what I just wrote congrats! I think you’d have to be working the same problem to have a decent shot at it.

Anyway, thanks again. I don’t yet own it, but I am looking forward to putting 16ths on the last half beat of a measure into my tool kit. If anyone wants more explanation of the problem I was having or the steps Ben sent me on to overcome it, let me know.

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Thanks again for this Ben. I have worked on this (16ths on the &) and it is becoming “part of my vocabulary.” It’s not as natural as an accent, but it doesn’t feel totally alien anymore. As a side bonus, I have been noodling with the “Rise” song, and I think I’ll go ahead and learn it. There aren’t many songs I can think of that naturally work well for solo playing and singing with mandolin. At this point I play what sounds about right, but I think I’ll take the time to go listen closely to make sure I’ve am catching it correctly.