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Blues shuffle

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Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
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Could someone explain what a blues shuffle is ? I've don davids before you accuse me lesson and dont quite understand. You choose the I, IV, V chords of the key you want to play then use one one of the patterns. Then you pick the I,V,VI note of that chord and thats a shuffle is that right ? I think i got it just wanna make sure. Thanx

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5108

It's moving in the I IV V pattern that makes it a shuffle. You can indeed boogie on the 5 chords (picking up that neighboring 6th with the pinkie) to boogie on the chords. Take a look at the lessons on "Kansas City" and "Roll Over Beethoven". Those are shuffles too. Learn the 12 bar shuffle and you can plays lots of great classic songs -- Chuck Berry, Stones, Beatles. (Some great Beatles shuffles, for example, "Back in the USSR", "Revolution", "Come Together". You get the idea.)

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582

You might also be talking about a chug rhythm. It is called the Blues shuffle.

It is not called a chug by accident. It actually sounds like an old locomotive train. It was what Blues players were imitating. Chug a Chug a Chug a Chug.

It is based on eighth note triplets. In 4/4 time you would count...

1 2 3, 2 2 3, 3 2 3, 4 2 3, 1 2 3, 2 2 3, 3 2 3, 4 2 3

Now, to get this chug rhythm, simply leave out the 2 in the middle.

1 - 3, 2- 3, 3 - 3, 4 - 3, 1 - 3, 2 - 3, 3 - 3, 4 - 3, 1 etc...

Hope I didn't confuse you there.

This is often used in Blues on the lower bass strings. Here it is in the very common Blues key of E.


......1.....3.2.....3.3.....3.4......3.1.....3.2.....3.3.....3.4.....3.1 etc....

I had to use brackets to mark the measure there.

If you do this right, it will sound like a train chugging down the track.

Listen to Chuck Berry. He made this Blues Shuffle famous. But it is used in many Blues and Rock tunes.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis

New Member
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Another way to do what Wes mentioned is in LittleBrother's newest video lesson Blues Shuffle E Primer. It uses a bit of palm muting to get the same effect.