It is a part of Desperado song guitar tab. I'm wondering what does upward and downward arrows mean in the guitar tab?

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  • Which version is this from? Can't remember a triplet feel in Desperado.
    – Tim
    Mar 22, 2022 at 14:04
  • @Tim I've found it on youtube
    – Etemon
    Mar 22, 2022 at 16:44
  • It seems worth noting, that, though this definitely means upstroke/downstroke, the actual technique shown in the video doesn't do that. Mar 22, 2022 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


The arrows show the direction of strum, either up or down. I find it a little strange, though, as with a triplet pattern, I'd use down, up, down, followed by the second beat of up, down, up, to keep the strumming hand/arm in rhythm, which isn't shown in this version.

  • 2
    I believe the down/up is reversed, based on the string direction of the tab. Also, only first 2 of 3 triplets are being played. Mar 22, 2022 at 14:15
  • 1
    @JohnBelzaguy - what I meant was playing as writ, the strumming hand would stutter, and not be as easy to keep in time as if there was a ghost strum on the 3rd triplets (which I just don't hear in Desperado).
    – Tim
    Mar 22, 2022 at 15:34
  • Off the top of my head I don’t recall any triplets in the song either. It also doesn’t specify, Eagles or Linda version, both are very well known. I get your point but considering the slow tempo I would personally be inclined to do down-up to keep the consistency between beats. Either way would work fine, after all it’s only a 2 note strum. Mar 22, 2022 at 15:53
  • @JohnBelzaguy - turns out it's a red ferret - another Desperado..!
    – Tim
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:00

It means upstroke and downstroke. It wants you to mimic strumming the two notes. The flamenco feeling loves strumming anything from 2 to 6 notes at a time. It is very stylistically accurate.

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