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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Alternative Picking

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pweller - Posted - 03/04/2007:  15:52:16

Is alternative picking a necessity in tenor banjo? I'm currently slogging through Gerry O'Connor's Irish Tenor Banjo method and he never mentions upstrokes other than for triplets and trebles, but other sources I've consulted say that alternative picking is vital for developing speed. So, which is right?

Harry - Posted - 03/04/2007:  15:56:45

Normally you would do up and downstrokes just as with flatpicking on a guitar. Garry mentions pick directions probably only to show you how to do the triplets.

We tune because we care (Doc Watson)

banjopaul - Posted - 03/04/2007:  16:03:30

you always play upstroke-downstroke etc when playing the tenor, except during triplets when it shanges sometimes.

"If you can't fix it with duct tape, you haven't used enough duct tape!"

pweller - Posted - 03/04/2007:  17:07:39

Well, this is a bit unsettling. I came into banjo from the world of R&B guitar, where down-picking is pretty much the norm. I play banjo with almost all downstrokes, so this comes as news to me.

Harry - Posted - 03/04/2007:  17:13:43

If you go to you'll find a lot of tabs for mandolin and a lot of exercises on how to practice up and down picking.
Since both have four strings the method is useful for both instruments.
Any questions left you can email me.

We tune because we care (Doc Watson)

ramblin - Posted - 03/04/2007:  19:47:59

I don't have any specific experience with tenor banjo (maybe soon!), but gypsy guitarists use 'rest stroke' picking extensively - even exclusively you might say. It's essentially a downstroke pick technique and they manage to develop absolutely tremendous speed. It wouldn't surprise me if their guitar style was adapted from banjo picking in the years before reliable amplification was available.

FWIW, in the few recordings I've heard of Perry Bechtel (on guitar, admittedly), it sounds like he uses a similar 'rest stroke' approach.



salmoncove - Posted - 03/04/2007:  21:08:44

I have O'Connors beginner DVD and he talks about it right from the start. It makes for more efficient playing.


pweller - Posted - 03/04/2007:  21:29:15

Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board. All I lost was 2 weeks, so no big deal.

DeeTee - Posted - 03/08/2007:  15:32:02

yeah, Gerry definatley mentions DUDU he'says that this will be the technique used from now on fairly near the beginning of the dvd

pweller - Posted - 03/08/2007:  18:02:23

yeah, my bad. However, it only took me about 4 days to adapt to the alternate picking style. And it is a lot faster and more comfortable.

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