View Full Version : Strum Direction Arrows in Tablature

07-07-2016, 10:04 AM
I'm confused (which is not a new experience!). When reading tablature, I sometimes see an arrow, pointing either up or down, which indicates the direction of the strum/tremolo. My confusion is figuring out what is up and down! Does an arrow pointing up mean that I should strum up (towards the ceiling, from the A string to the G string) or does it mean I should strum down from the G string toward the A string (towards the floor)? I haven't really found a clear explanation of the use of this particular notation. Thanks!

07-07-2016, 11:03 AM
Tablature and standard notation don't care how you hold the uke; they're pitch-centric. That's why "up" on the fretboard is toward the bridge or from the 4th string to the 1st. So with tab you strum in the direction that strikes the strings in the direction of the arrow. In other words, with an up-arrow, you strike the strings from 4th to 1st, just as the tab indicates, which generally equates to a physical downward strum. Similarly, in standard notation, an up-arrow means the same thing: pitches struck from lowest to highest (ignoring that the 4th string pitch is struck out of order on a reentrant uke). It may be a "downstrum" from the physical perspective, but that's one of the few things that is labeled from the physical perspective rather than the pitch perspective.