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Thread: Pig Jicking?

  1. #1
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    Default Pig Jicking?

    Suppose you're playing an Irish jig. One bar of 6/8, 2 x 3 eighth notes goes 'diddly diddly', bowed NVN VNV on fiddle. Or a 9/8 slip jig - 3 x 3 eighth notes, 'diddly diddly diddly', bowed NVN VNV NVN. Left to my own devices, that's what I do picking on mandolin, with occasional diversions when picking across strings. Seems to work, but I need to get it cleaner and faster.

    So, I look up Irish music in a method book, and find - 'Jig Picking 6/8: NVN NVN' . I try it, and that seems significantly harder and more awkward to me than NVN VNV, with or without accents on the first of each group of 3.

    So, is there a good reason to play a 6/8 jig NVN NVN on mandolin, eg is NVN VNV going to trip me up at a more advanced stage, or is this a case of 'do what works for you'?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I use alternate picking (DUD UDU) on jigs and slip jigs. Using DUD DUD seems like making it harder for no good reason.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Many pickers find they can pick jigs DUDUDU and good luck to them.

    It was a struggle at first, but I found that DUD DUD helped me play a more convincing jig rhythm, especially when playing solo or leading off in a session.

    If you practise it until it's second nature, then it's not harder and the question becomes merely what sounds better.
    Bren

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I use alternate picking (DUD UDU) on jigs and slip jigs. Using DUD DUD seems like making it harder for no good reason.
    Well, it sounds different 😁

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    There is a ton of discussion on how to flatpick jigs in the Celtic etc. sub forum here if you want to dive into it.

    My personal take on it, is that DUD, DUD pattern is useful for beginners who don't have the rhythm of a jig already embedded in their brains. It helps burn that pattern into your playing.

    Once you get the sound of Irish trad into your head, you'll start using ornaments like trebles (fast triplets), hammers and pull-offs to make it sound "Irish" on a mandolin, and that screws up a fixed pattern. Your pick is suddenly moving in the wrong direction. So you use more of an alternate picking pattern, throwing in ornaments where it seems right, and that jig pulse just becomes part of your picking dynamics. At least that's how I do it, your mileage might vary.

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I'm still essentially a beginner/novice mandolin player but I struggled with DUD DUD at first.(Although I was decent at alternate picking) It was absolutely painful trying to play a Jig as I would play a couple beats, I would mess up, and become discouraged. I think what eventually got me to a point where I could happily play DUD DUD was actually playing a lot of 4/4 tunes that had lots of triplets(also picked DUD). Once my hand was Comfortable with triplets in 4/4 style tunes, I had a much easier time with full DUD DUD picking and it was much easier to lock into the correct jig rhythm once my hand was physically capable of DUD DUD.

    YMMV

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  13. #7

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    with or without accents on the first of each group of 3.
    Accent the last note of each group of three: DUDDUD|DUDDUD

    (delaying the U's a little while you're at it, to get that IT jig swing.)



    Try playing chords this way (like the DADGAD guys do) — it'll help you get the feel, and then the reason for picking melodies this way becomes obvious.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    In classical music written in 6/8 DUDUDU makes sense usually. For jigs in Irish music, see above posts for proper accents.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Apr-03-2021 at 1:28pm.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I played fiddle in Scottish dance bands in UK for years. The usual way to play jigs in one of those bands is to swing them - syncopate with the 1st note of every group lengthened, the second shortened and the third about as written. The second group of three in each bar are less accented - DAA d' da / DA da da. Highland pipers often play them that way too, as they have no other way to accent notes. I changed Scottish bands to one led by an accordionist from Dublin, and he played the groups of three strictly equal short length but with a volume accent on the first of each - Da da da / Da da da. Of course these bands play for dancing rather than listening - It all sounds good, just different.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    The bottom line is that as long as you're playing the jig with the correct rhythm, whatever works best for you is what you use. Using DUD DUD is, iirc, supposed to give you the right rhythm because the assumption is your right hand moving down is stronger than it moving up, so that tiny emphasis on the down stroke gives you the lift you want for the jig. I, on the other hand, managed to learn to play upside down, so my upstroke is stronger than my downstroke (don't ask). I've found that I can do a strict alternate picking motion DUDUDU and get the emphasis/swing right so I do that. I can do DUD DUD but for me it seems to distract from actually playing because of the chance i'm moving to a slide or slip jig and have to reset my brain.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    I played fiddle in Scottish dance bands in UK for years. The usual way to play jigs in one of those bands is to swing them - syncopate with the 1st note of every group lengthened, the second shortened and the third about as written. The second group of three in each bar are less accented - DAA d' da / DA da da. Highland pipers often play them that way too, as they have no other way to accent notes. I changed Scottish bands to one led by an accordionist from Dublin, and he played the groups of three strictly equal short length but with a volume accent on the first of each - Da da da / Da da da. Of course these bands play for dancing rather than listening - It all sounds good, just different.
    Interesting, Max.
    I played in a couple of sessions in Ireland in 2019 and in each, someone asked if I played in a dance band.
    I didn't realise it was that obvious and I was wondering if they associated that style with old kerthumpety-thump Irish ceili big bands.
    I am quite heavy-handed I guess and sometimes I was starting tunes they didn't know so nobody joined in..

    When playing with my accordionist bandleader/pal in Scotland, at ceilidhs or just sessions , pick direction doesn't matter much, since he has a strong left hand but I've internalised DUD DUD (which I thought impossible at first) so much that I mostly do it anyway, with a few exceptions. And band usually has a bouzouki playing rhythm and occasional melody lines, a fiddle and a banjo.

    6/8 jigs, slides, slip jigs, triplet passages in strathspeys and hornpipes - all pretty much DUD.
    Bren

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  23. #12

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    6/8 jigs, slides, slip jigs, triplet passages in strathspeys and hornpipes - all pretty much DUD.
    I know that I'm not in the majority on this, but I pick slides DUD UDU DUD UDU, keeping the pick direction consistent even when quarter notes are involved.

    (Then again, I'm not in the majority on quite a few mandolin-specific IT techniques, and in the instrument's overall role in the genre. )

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  25. #13

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Here's an attempt to illustrate the difference between DUDDUD and DUDUDU.

    It's NOT a fair example, as I use DUDDUD mostly for jigs and therefore I'm better at playing that way. But I think it does illustrate how DUDUDU can (without practicing it to overcome this) lead to jigs that don't sound quite right.

    jig_picking.mp3

    Of my many favorite Irish banjo players, as far as I can see, some use DUDDUD mostly, others not - they all sound good and their jigs sound like jigs! My point is that:

    DUDDUD may be more work in terms of learning how to make the pickstrokes consistently, but I believe it is actually less work in terms of playing jigs and making them sound like jigs.

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  27. #14

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by ampyjoe View Post
    DUDDUD may be more work in terms of learning how to make the pickstrokes consistently, but I believe it is actually less work in terms of playing jigs and making them sound like jigs.
    I would agree with that.

    I find that DUD DUD for normal (non-jig) 6/8 or 12/8 melodies seems unnecessarily awkward, but feels very natural when playing jigs.

    Listen to banjoist Kevin Griffin play a few jigs, and then the whole DUD DUD thing will make sense.

  28. #15

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I forgot to point out that in the short clip I included, I play the first part of the Humours of Glendart (twice) using DUDDUD, and then play the first part again attempting as best I can to use DUDUDU.

  29. #16

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    AmpyJoe nailed it with his comparison pretty obvious difference.

  30. #17
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I've been puzzled by this strict adherence to pick direction in jigs for a while now. I think (DUD DUD) is a bit to 'trendy' or orthodox IMHO. The issue for me is the confusion over down strokes having to be accent sounds. The topic should be where to put the accents.
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  31. #18

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    The topic should be where to put the accents.
    Well, maxr asked "So, is there a good reason to play a 6/8 jig NVN NVN on mandolin?", and ampyjoe replied "it is actually less work in terms of playing jigs and making them sound like jigs" that's a nicely straightforward answer. Before ampyjoe's reply, I said "Accent the last note of each group of three: DUDDUD".

    So, the accent goes on the third eighth note of each beat, and DUDDUD makes it easy to get the accent. Ya, if you can get the accents with DUDUDU then who cares, but ampyjoe's right, it's easier that way, that's why everyone (almost) does it that way, and there's maxr's "is there a good reason" question answered.

  32. #19

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Please allow me to go "black and white" for one post.

    I've played with guitarists, banjoists, bouzouki-ists and mandolinists who played DUDDUD and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "wrong", but I don't recall ever playing with someone who played DUDDUD and sounded "wrong".

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  34. #20
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    Please allow me to go "black and white" for one post.

    I've played with guitarists, banjoists, bouzouki-ists and mandolinists who played DUDDUD and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "wrong", but I don't recall ever playing with someone who played DUDDUD and sounded "wrong".

    "Sounded" wrong. Yea, that's just the point.

    Also, why do anything the 'hard way'?
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    So, is there a good reason to play a 6/8 jig NVN NVN on mandolin, eg is NVN VNV going to trip me up at a more advanced stage, or is this a case of 'do what works for you'?
    Most definitely there is a good reason.

    It gets the emphasis right which propels the tune. The down stroke is typically a little stronger than the up. Many folks pick jigs DUUDUU DUUDUU

    Another way to get the emphasis right is to pick the emphasis explicitly. This is surprisingly harder for many people. To pick DUDUDU DUDUDU (emphasis in bold) is tricky.

    To address your bigger question, it has been explained to me by instructors and one or two great players that "perfect" is to be able to do any emphasis required, or no emphasis at all, with any pick pattern at all.

    One exercise that really broke my confidence is to pick paradiddles without emphasis. DUUDUUDU DUUDUUDU The exercise is meant to break any automatic picking habits and put the conscious mind back in full responsible control of the process.

    My takeaway is that the important thing is to get the emphasis right for the type of music you are playing. And if you can do that without changing pick patterns, good on you. If you find it easier with a specific jig picking pattern, DUD DUD or DUU DUU, and it sounds good, go for it. And the reverse is true. If you are struggling to get the emphasis right, try something else.

    YMMV etc.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Chris Thile, in one of his videos talks about pick holding and how it helps or hurts one in being able to up pick with the same emphasis that one down picks. The implication is no unintended bias due to pick hold or bad habits.
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  38. #23
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    Please allow me to go "black and white" for one post.

    I've played with guitarists, banjoists, bouzouki-ists and mandolinists who played DUDDUD and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "right", I've played with those who played DUDUDU and sounded "wrong", but I don't recall ever playing with someone who played DUDDUD and sounded "wrong".
    I understand and appreciate where you're going with this, but Irish trad isn't just about picking the notes. It's about articulating the notes with ornaments like "trebles," hammer-ons and pull-offs that add expression and make it sound like Irish trad. Otherwise you might as well be playing Classical, OldTime or Bluegrass.

    Once you start adding these articulations it screws up fixed picking patterns, which makes this whole discussion moot. It really doesn't matter whether you're picking DUDDUD or DUDUDU on a jig, as long as you can make it "sound Irish" with articulations within your picking pattern.

  39. #24

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    It really doesn't matter whether you're picking DUDDUD or DUDUDU on a jig, as long as you can make it "sound Irish" with articulations within your picking pattern.
    I am in complete agreement.

    AmpyJoe's mp3 being hard to refute, however, does anyone have video example of a mandolinist (I've got a great one of a guitarist my wife used to duet with in Galway) playing DUDUDU and making it "sound Irish"?

  40. #25

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I wonder how much ink Andy Irvine gets over at the Harmonica Cafe?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qE5HiApH_o

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