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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jig (6/8 9/8 etc) time picking pattern survey

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oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 08/12/2007:  18:26:25

I'm curious to know which is more common in Irish tenor playing.

DUD, DUD, DUD, DUD picking (down up down, down up down) - all first and 3rd notes of each triplet set done with a down stroke.


DUD, UDU, DUD, UDU (down uo down, up down up) with emphasis added to the first of each set no matter what the pick direction.

I remember most of the bousouki players I met used the 2nd pattern but the tenor banjo players (who tended to do more melody) seemed divided between the two camps. Now that "Irish Tenor Banjo" is much more common I'm curious if one or the other style has developed a clear majority. Actually there may have been a clear majority even then - I didn't spend a lot of time at Irish jams.

I remember a similar (and very controversial) difference between two schools of jazz guitarists too, so it may be that there is no cut and dried answer.

The Whiskey Before Breakfast variations and "F" tuning tabs are now available on the web at:
There are mp3s of G tunes in F tuning on the web at
Rocket Science banjo is on youtube now. Here are the addresses:
Lesson 1 The Basic Stroke
Lesson 2 Drop Thumb
Lesson 3 The Big Cluck
Julie Anne Johnson

banjopaul - Posted - 08/12/2007:  19:36:50

I never really thought about it, but I just checked, and I play jigs DUD UDU DUD UDU

The Banjo: The Downfall of Modern Society

CageyK - Posted - 08/12/2007:  22:35:10


Before discovering clawhammer banjo, I was playing mandolin and exploring Irish music.

In that period, I learned of 3 "definitive" ways of picking manodlin in 6/8 time when playing Irish tunes:


The 4th way I leanrd was the most useful: "Play whichever way is easiest for you."

Alright...this isn't directly banjo-related, but it may translate for some.



diarmaid - Posted - 08/12/2007:  23:05:12

i play DUD UDU DUD, i nearly almost start the first tune with a downstroke and stop thinking about it after that, and let my hands do all the work and the tunes just play themselves!

Differential - Posted - 08/13/2007:  09:07:33

DUD DUD. Basic flat picking jig pattern for putting the emphasis on 1st and 4th notes for 6/8 (1st, 4th, & 7th for 9/8). Initially harder to learn & maintain than straight alternating DUD UDU, but once you become efficient with it it makes a big difference in rhythm & phrasing, and worth the extra trouble. Best to get the basic DUD pattern down solid to avoid learning any bad habits that will cause a revert back to DUDUDU.

Edited by - Differential on 08/13/2007 09:43:20

ruraltradpunk - Posted - 08/13/2007:  16:34:25

I was just at a Kieran Hanrahan workshop at the weekend - one of the tunes we learned was a jig, "The Tongs by the Fire" and Kieran was getting everyone to concentrate on doing DUD UDU DUD. It definitely felt more comfortable to me to play that way as opposed to DUD DUD.


mikeyes - Posted - 08/14/2007:  16:06:20

I discussed this with Angelina Carberry two weekends ago and have asked a number of banjo players what they do. DUDUDUDUDU is the most common even though on the mandolin you have to use DUD DUD in order to get the right emphasis. This difference is that a banjo does not need a lot of energy from the pick to have a good tone and volume so with some practice you can use DUD UDU whereas the mandolin is a double coursed instrument needing a lot of energy from the pick hand.

AC suggests DUD DUD for the lilt, but has no problems if you end up using the other way.

Mike Keyes

bnjomn - Posted - 08/14/2007:  17:44:33

Most Irish tenor banjo players that I've encontered play DUDUDU, but my experience is far from comprehensive.



"A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well."

G. K. Chesterton

mikeyes - Posted - 08/17/2007:  10:32:39

I just asked Mick Moloney what he does and he said DUD DUD. I think I will write an article about this <G>

Mike Keyes

Edited by - mikeyes on 08/17/2007 10:33:09

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