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What Is Blues Guitar Shuffle Rhythm

May 7, 2008
So you have understood the 12-bar blues or at least the concept of it and you would like to push your blues playing to higher grounds.

Well your in luck my friend!

The better way to invigorate up your playing is to learn the blues shuffle rhythm. I am not sure where the name derives from, but the shuffle is a term used to identify the break down of a beat into 2 components where the first is lengthier than the second.

The blues shuffle rhythm is founded on an eighth note triplet rhythm. A triplet is when you use 3 notes in a given time space instead of two. In a standard 4/4 time signature where there is four quarter notes the eighth notes would be counted as...

1-&-2-&-3-&-4-& ... where the &'s are the eighth notes between each quarter. to fill the same time signature with eighth note triplets we'd count as...

1-trip-let-2-trip-let-3-trip-let-4-trip-let ... where the trip's and let's are eighth notes amounting up to 3 per quarter note. So basically...

1-& = 1-trip-let

The blues shuffle is accomplished by playing the first and third notes in a series of triplets. And so if the count is...

1-trip-let-2-trip-let-3-trip-let-4-trip-let ... then you'll be playing on all the down-beats or numbers and the let's. I've indicated the notes you should be striking to better exemplify.

1-trip-let-2-trip-let-3-trip-let-4-trip-let.

To discover what the shuffle rhythm actually sounds like try hearing to Led Zeppelin's - You Shook Me or Grateful Dead's - Truckin

I hope this has clarified any confusion you may have been having about the blues shuffle rhythm
About the Author
Do you want to improve your blues guitar solo? Visit 50 Blues to jam with a full professional band with blues guitar backing tracks. Find out what are the top 100 greatest blues guitar licks of all time.
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