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Thread: Triplets Pick Direction

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Triplets Pick Direction

    I found an old thread I believe addresses my issue, but, sadly, I don't understand the responses. I'm playing Jay Ungar's Mountain House (3/4 time). One measure has a half rest followed by a triplet. A second measure has a half note followed by a triplet. I presume pick direction is the same for both but can't decide if it should be DUD or UDU. What do you think?

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Typically it should be a downstroke since you describe it as on the 3rd beat.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    So DUD

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Have a look at where you are going next. It's probably easy enough, and effective enough, to play the triplets either way. If you need or want to start the next note on a down, UDU could work for the triplets.

    Are they on the same note? Same string? (I don't know this tune.)

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    If the second note is on a higher string than the first I will probably use DDU. If the first two notes are on the same string I might use a split downstroke for these two notes. Then, of course, you don't need to pick every note, so D-HO-U or D-PO-U may be the most convenient move.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    The notes are DEF#, then G (A & E strings).

    This is a beautiful tune. Free sheet music if you Google "mountain house sheet music." I need to be ready for a May 5 recital.

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    You can always just use alternate picking. I use it all the time for triplets and jigs.

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    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    I don't think there's a rule that "all triplets are played DUD" or "all triplets are played UDU." I think it's strictly mechanical--where are you coming from and where are you going next? Whatever is most efficient is what you do.

    Not being critical, just musing: When people talk about what the "right way" is--like, what did Bill do, or what did Earl do--if back in the day, when Paganini* played, did people whisper to each other, "Are you sure Alessandro** done it this'a way?"


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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    OK, that was confusing.

    I looked up the sheet music and was quite puzzled until I figured out I was looking at the tune in the key of A, and it was also available in G. How are you fingering the passage? You might want to look at second or third position for the triplet so you don't get the sudden change in timbre between the D and the open E. Looking at it in context, do whatever is most comfortable picking—my guess is that there isn't a right or wrong answer.

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    Registered User Pete Braccio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    When in doubt, play more downstrokes.
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    OK, that was confusing.

    I looked up the sheet music and was quite puzzled until I figured out I was looking at the tune in the key of A, and it was also available in G. How are you fingering the passage? You might want to look at second or third position for the triplet so you don't get the sudden change in timbre between the D and the open E. Looking at it in context, do whatever is most comfortable picking—my guess is that there isn't a right or wrong answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    I don't think there's a rule that "all triplets are played DUD" or "all triplets are played UDU." I think it's strictly mechanical--where are you coming from and where are you going next? Whatever is most efficient is what you do.
    Not being critical, just musing: When people talk about what the "right way" is--like, what did Bill do, or what did Earl do--if back in the day, when Paganini* played, did people whisper to each other, "Are you sure Alessandro** done it this'a way?"
    *Paganini was known as the fastest violinist of all time; the Devil apparently taught P. before he taught Robert Johnson . See https://youtu.be/qVrkc6zRzEE and watch the speed of his left hand at 5:05 et seq! **Alessandro Rolla was Paganini's mortal teacher.
    When I played in a bluegrass gospel band and we were working on a cover of say Doyle Lawson, a band member would sometimes day that wasn't the way "Doyle" did it. My reply maybe Doyle didn't do it right.

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Well ….. "it" is always about the tune. What works in the context of how the melody lays out on the fingerboard. Mostly pick or bow direction is about the "leave" …. as in what's next and how is it played. I expect alternate strokes will work as well as anything …. let us know what you decide. R/
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    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    that wasn't the way "Doyle" did it.
    "Well Doyle aint here, izze?"

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    I had not heard this tune. Very pretty and suttle!

    The notes are DEF#, then G (A & E strings).
    I'm going to guess that the DEF# triplet in question is the "pick up" run that starts the b section (the 2nd part) of the tune. Is this correct? If so, I think the G note on the first down beat of the b part is the important place to land squarely. Maybe try Down on the D, up on the E , hammer-on the F#, then down on that G. Think of it as 4 notes. D-U-HO D.

    I like what Usually Pickin says here
    "Well ….. "it" is always about the tune. What works in the context of how the melody lays out on the fingerboard."
    Good luck! Keep us posted.



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    Mandolin Player trodgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    When I played in a bluegrass gospel band and we were working on a cover of say Doyle Lawson, a band member would sometimes day that wasn't the way "Doyle" did it. My reply maybe Doyle didn't do it right.
    My first instinct when I hear that kind of remark is to pack up and say something like, "Guess you should call Doyle. Bye."
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I found an old thread I believe addresses my issue, but, sadly, I don't understand the responses. I'm playing Jay Ungar's Mountain House (3/4 time). One measure has a half rest followed by a triplet. A second measure has a half note followed by a triplet. I presume pick direction is the same for both but can't decide if it should be DUD or UDU. What do you think?
    You'll most likely get many opinions on pick direction as there have been other threads about it.

    But if you go to the Videos, Pictures & Sound Files section, look for the 2019 Tune-A-Week thread and watch the videos put up by Jill McAuley you'll see some fine practical examples to emulate. Enjoy!
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Lovely tune! Thanks for the kind words Mike!

    Re: triplets and picking, Marla Fibish advocates for both DUD and UDU, depending on where in the tune the triplets fall. I would say do what feels comfortable for you and what seems to work with the flow of the tune best.
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by trodgers View Post
    My first instinct when I hear that kind of remark is to pack up and say something like, "Guess you should call Doyle. Bye."
    The statement was made tounge-in-cheek. When learning or performing a song why should I try to do it exactly like some else. That is the job of a recorder, not a musician. Ever heard of the band 1964,they do the Beatles to a tee down to the left handed bass? But what have they contributed musically. They are a novelty act nothing more.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    What pick direction would you use for triplets in this exercise? I'm thinking DUD. My classical violin teacher may have a different idea.

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Sherry, I would use UDU but that may be my personal preference for keeping my right hand in the DUDU pattern. It also puts the quarter notes after the triplets naturally on a down stroke, which for me helps with tone. It also feels more ergonomic as far as movement for my right hand but ymmv.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I presume pick direction is the same for both but can't decide if it should be DUD or UDU. What do you think?
    DDU is a popular choice as well.
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    What pick direction would you use for triplets in this exercise? I'm thinking DUD. My classical violin teacher may have a different idea.

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    Sherry, I would play the triplets in this exercise, DUD.

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    I'd practice it both ways. That way when I'm improvising the tune, for example after stumbling on a passage upstream from this section, I'm ready.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    DUD at tempo, lots of jigs as practice until you’ve really got it down, then branch out, UDU later on as your learning adventure progresses.

    Try to concentrate on one new technique at a time and be conscious of the requirements to perfect it.
    Be strict with your (DUD DUD) jig playing, always with a metronome, and always with some sort of accent.

    You need to try to get your rhythm to be slow and musical from day one.

    And of course you need to do whatever you like.

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    Default Re: Triplets Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    DDU is a popular choice as well.
    My mistake. I was thinking of how to pick for jigs. 6/8 or 9/8 picking. Not enough coffee. Sorry.


    For written out triplets that are part of the tune, I most often do DUD, and it is my default when sight reading. Second triplet in a row, I will go UDU, i.e. alternate DUD UDU as I normally would. As in "The Rights of Man".

    I have a mandolin coach that helps me with fingerings and phrasing of the classical music I try to play, and it is not uncommon that she recommends a given triplet be played UDU. There have been more than a few times where DUD was not correct, and sometimes specific bowing directions are indicated on the music (I often play from violin music).

    But if it is not marked, and I have no learned advice to the contrary, I go with DUD at least initially.



    For triplets that are an ornament, as in many Irish tunes, I go into a brief three note tremolo, which is almost always DUD. To my mind tremolo is a separate "regime" of playing, not part of the slow to fast picking continuum. So when I think of a triple ornament as a brief tremolo I can "get it" without losing the rhythm of the tune.
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