The Blues Shuffle

Blues shuffle in A

Let's try a simple blues 'shuffle'. You'll probably recognise the rhythm straight away when you hear it, but it's a bit more difficult to explain in writing. Have a listen to these songs to get an idea:

  • Roadhouse Blues - The Doors
  • Riding Along In My Automobile - Chuck Berry
  • Jailbait - Wishbone Ash
  • Down at the Doctors - Dr. Feelgood

To get the idea of how a shuffle is written, we'll need to learn about triplets. Triplets are written as below, with each triplet taking up one beat. Each note is written as a quaver, but actually only takes up one third of a beat. You can use the word 'evenly' to count a triplet, as in e-ven-ly, using one syllable for each note.

Straight Triplets

With a shuffle, the triplet looks slightly different, with the middle note missed out. The symbol in the middle is a rest, meaning don't play here. You can still use e-ven-ly to get the feel of the rhythm, but don't play on the middle 'ven' syllable.

Shuffle Triplets

For our blues shuffle, we are going to be playing 2 notes at once. Let's try a very simple version first. Use only down strokes when you play this.

Simple Shuffle

Now let's try a slightly trickier version, for which we need to learn three new notes:

C# on the fifth string

C Sharp

F# on the fourth string

F Sharp

B on the third string

B on third string

Second Blues Shuffle

Second shuffle