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Downbeat Upstrokes

MattHenryMattHenry Washington, DC✭✭✭✭
edited April 2014 in Welcome Posts: 128
Do you guys do anything special to avoid these?

I'm working on interrupted/partial sweeps among other things - just gypsy picking, really - and downbeat upstrokes are disruptive to my groove. I'm wondering if I should D-D to reset that the way I do preparing a partial sweep on the string above or if there is some use for training downbeat upstrokes and I just can't feel it yet.


  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    Hey Matt. Not sure I understand, but just in case I do:
    if your upstroke is followed by a downstroke on the same string or an upward string, I wouldn't worry about it. If the next downstroke is downward, then you're better off playing all downstrokes and keep momentum to your next 'partial sweep'.
    Do I make sense?
    - JG
  • MattHenryMattHenry Washington, DC✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 128
    Hey Stephane!

    Yes, I'm a big fan of the partial sweeps (since returning from DIJ 2013 anyway) and I've been enjoying the double down strokes to set them up. What I was asking was about situations where you find yourself playing a downbeat (e.g. the 1, 2, 3, or 4) on an upstroke. Obviously, things feel more natural when upstrokes are on the "and" between the beats.

    I'm happy to just let it all shake out on its own but I was curious if folks practiced a down down reset for beats the same way they do for changing strings.

    Hope that makes more sense and thanks!
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited April 2014 Posts: 1,711
    Personally I like the kind of syncopations you can get by having downstrokes not always falling on the beat... I'm particularly partial to DDU- type patterns.

    But then I guess I'm kind of old school....

    Anyway, I've got to say that this is a concern that has never occurred to me since I began learning this style in 2008, and I've never heard anyone else mention it either, not at this site, nor in my vast collection of instruction manuals, nor jamming with other GJ guitarists.

    So I'm gonna be so bold as to say.... "Learning GJ, ya got ninety-nine problems... but this ain't one!"

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    I just don't feel the upstrokes on 1,3,5,7! I always end up doing a double down or something to try to avoid it! Also on descending runs with 3 notes per string I find myself gravitating to DDU instead of the DUD. The U on the last note makes the movement to the D on the lower string easier.
  • Four years ago I switched from. Alternate to rest stroke. For the first several months I played nothing but downstrokes. I still have a bit of a hybrid style in that I use upstrokes sometimes when changing strings at speed but don't need the extra accent. It's not reLly a concious thing any more.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    @boze Got it. Yes definitely DD, otherwise as you say you'll get a crooked / limp swing... although this might be an interesting trick to create an effect.
    - JG
  • bluemovesbluemoves New
    Posts: 49

    I don't think I'll EVER be able to play like this!

    It takes me a good 15 minutes to change strings (if I'm going to change one, I'll usually do the whole set)

    and you guys are talking about doing it in the MIDDLE OF A SONG?!!


    Wim GlennLango-DjangoBill Da Costa WilliamsDjangheureuxJSanta
  • Posts: 33

    since i came from the Scofield style legato fingerings and transcribed a lot of Horn Players and Wes Montgomery long time ago these lines are still in my head and yes, in my fingers, i do have the same problems when playing them with Gypsy Picking having the beats on the upstroke and the offbeats with them strong downbeats which feels strange and sounds special. I practiced playing like this just in case i stumble across my old Lines. Otherwise i would have to do Downstrokes only which is also great to practice but limits the speed! Tweaking the fingerings would sometimes work but not very often to be honest:-(

    Some fifteens years ago i played with a Singer/Actor these neck breaking fast Charles Trenet up tempo Polka Swing tunes sometimes four times in a row until my arms fell off. The great guitarist from the "Palastorchester" recommend me to play the Bass on the 1 & 3 with an upstroke and the chords on 2 & 4 with a downstroke. It took me half a year to get used to it since in these tempos you have to really feel the 1 & 3 to make it relaxed! So it is possible to get used to what felt strange at first!

    But then again turning the beat around when playing lines or melodiös doesn't feel good and doesn't sound good so i'll have to change my vocabulary...


  • MartinGMartinG MontréalNew Dupont
    Posts: 33

    Hi MattHenry !

    Great topic ! I really think playing upstrokes on the beat (or downstrokes on the ANDs) can bring a great variation in your playing, in term of phrasing. This is one of the big improvement in my playing in the past years, and I stole this from Adrien Tarraga who sometimes does it

    The accents that the downstroke brings on the ONE are really great. What I did to work on it is to start with an downstroke on the AND of 1, and keep on with 8ths notes.

    I hope it helps ! :-)

    BucoBill Da Costa Williamsrudolfochrist
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