Curious how people strum in 6/8

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Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:27 pm

I saw a video recently saying to strum 6/8 a certain way, but it seems really messed up to my brain. I've always done it DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down, but the video was saying to do it DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up. Now I never thought of doing like this before, and I understand keeping a constant up-down-up-down, but at the same time I don't think as far as phrasing and emphasis it makes sense to have an upstroke on the second "1" of a "1-2-3-1-2-3" feel. I've tried playing along to the other one like this and it's really hard to get used to. Is it advantageous in the long run to practice the DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up?
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby tigerstrat » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:01 pm

Stevo123 wrote:I saw a video recently saying to strum 6/8 a certain way, but it seems really messed up to my brain. I've always done it DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down, but the video was saying to do it DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up. Now I never thought of doing like this before, and I understand keeping a constant up-down-up-down, but at the same time I don't think as far as phrasing and emphasis it makes sense to have an upstroke on the second "1" of a "1-2-3-1-2-3" feel. I've tried playing along to the other one like this and it's really hard to get used to. Is it advantageous in the long run to practice the DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up?


In a band setting I mostly just strum the 1 and 4 like |DOWN-0-0-DOWN-0-0| or maybe |DOWN-0-0-DOWN-up-down|
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby tcsned » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:21 pm

I usually do it with all down strokes. Less thinking involved/
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:53 pm

Guess you can do the all downstrokes thing with relatively slow 6/8s, but I'm mainly referring to upbeat 6s like the other one, etc. To do the more advanced funky rhythm guitar chops in a fast 6/8 with lots of stuff on offbeats it seems to me you're forced to keep some type of steady motion of the strumming hand.
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby jahozer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:07 pm

hmm. I was just trying to think about it. I think for like the other one its still straight down up down up alternating.

I think it helps to make sure you have proper strum arm technique and plant your elbow and swing your whole forearm. For years I planted my wrist, but a proper full arm swing just gives you so much more tempo control. Like a metronome (not that I am like a metronome, mind you, but you can divide those beats with more accuracy).
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:14 pm

I think the hard part isn't so much the mechanics, it's just trying to get my brain be o.k. with having a perceived downbeat be played with an upstroke!
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby JonnyBoy » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:07 pm

It is funny, especially when I was studying music in college, on SOME things where they say a specific method is the RIGHT way of doing things, I always asked why even if I was doing it "correctly". Some reasons made sense, most were just plain choice of style. Guitar especially has a lot of technique that can be modified for comfort or your preferred way of doing it. I would like to ask the video guy which guitarist in history said 6/8 had to be done that way? :roll:

But I do see some techniques, like using your pinky in scales, sweep piking, basics like that being techniques that have to be adopted to master the guitar's outer bounds.
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Pete B. » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:45 am

What song(s) are you referencing for this time sig?
There is probably a YouTube of the original artist strumming it.
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Stevo123 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:32 pm

The main thing that comes to mind is The Other One, which after thinking about it maybe isn't really a 6/8 (guess it could be thought of a lot of different ways, possibly a 4/4 with superimposed triplets). I just looked and found a vid and it does look like Bob primarily keeps the down-up-down-up-down-up pattern over the 1-2-3-1-2-3. It definitely feels unnatural to strum that pattern, and even looks unnatural when you watch it! Although it really is the only way to strum it fluidly. Guess it's just something to work at until I can get used to an upstroke on a downbeat?
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Pete B. » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:26 pm

Other One... Cool.
Wikipedia to the rescue... "6/8 Queen Medley"... We are the Champions into Somebody to Love???

Grateful Dead songs with unusual time signatures:
http://www.whitegum.com/rhythm.htm
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby tcsned » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:03 am

I would say that the Other One is a 12/8 tune - for faster triplets I'll do straight up down - every measure will end on a up. Sometimes all downs - it gives you a heavier sound. A little tricky at fast tempos. Same thing on tunes like Truckin' and most blues tunes.
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Re: Curious how people strum in 6/8

Postby Grateful Dad » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:34 am

Stevo123 wrote:I saw a video recently saying to strum 6/8 a certain way, but it seems really messed up to my brain. I've always done it DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down, but the video was saying to do it DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up. Now I never thought of doing like this before, and I understand keeping a constant up-down-up-down, but at the same time I don't think as far as phrasing and emphasis it makes sense to have an upstroke on the second "1" of a "1-2-3-1-2-3" feel. I've tried playing along to the other one like this and it's really hard to get used to. Is it advantageous in the long run to practice the DOWN-up-down-UP-down-up?


I'm curious to know what particular song(s) are you trying to play in this time signature? Can it be broken down into a 3/4 feel like High Time and To Lay Me Down?
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