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up and downstrokes for eighth notes?

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New Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

I'm just 8 weeks in ...... starting with an acoustic guitar and Book 1 of the Alfred Music series The New Guitar Course.... When they get to eighth notes, they say they should be played with alternating downstrokes and upstrokes. Is this always the case? Are all eighth notes played that way? Also, they use symbols over the notes to reinforce this up and downstroke.... a V for the upstroke, for example ... is this a formal symbol or only one used for the purpose of this lesson. ie will I see it on all guitar sheet music?

Thanks a million for answering.

Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 57

It's called alternate picking, and it's the most common way to pick. Strict alternate picking is what you described. There are also variations on that, such as economy picking, where you break from strict alternate picking when changing strings. so for example you might use two upstrokes in a row when moving to a lower string in order to conserve movement.

And there are exceptions where you would want to use all downstrokes, like when playing double stops.

Generally, you should get used to strict alternate picking until it is just automatic before trying things like economy picking.

The notation you described is fairly standard. It's generally what I've seen in all music books I've looked at.

Now look at them yo-yo's that's the way you do it you play the guitar on the MTV