Drums and Drumming


What is a Shuffle?

Recently Iíve been asked about a beat from some of the Shasta Blues Society members. Specifically: The Chicago Shuffle.

The Chicago Shuffle is a beat that requires both hands to play together at the same time. Your left hand must play accents on beats 2 and 4. These accents should be practiced as rim shots.

When playing the Chicago Shuffle, there are sounds that take dominance over others, such as the snare drum and the ride cymbal. Do not overplay the bass drum!


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this is one measure



Recently, I listened to one of the all time greats, B.B. Kingís drummer, Stone Treemon. Stone used this and other shuffles in his playing style. Here are more examples of shuffles.


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this figure can be played right or left handed



In this example, one half of the snare drum line has been dropped. Compare this with the first one. This example works good for an up-beat tempo song. All of the examples are based on 8th notes.


What is a Shuffle?



A shuffle is a rhythm based on triplets ( as shown previously) and is used in rock, blues, rhythm & blues, country and gospel. The shuffle imitates the sound of four sets of train wheels as they bump across the spaces between the rails.


Here are some heavier ones to try based on 16th notes;


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By comparing the first example with the second one, you can note that the 16th note triplet on the top line stays the same. The only thing I moved was the bass drum line. By moving any of these notes around, you will have lots of fun.


For those of you who do not understand shuffles, I suggest listening to B.B. King, "live at the Regal", Bill Doggett, Honky-Tonk-King, John Lee Hooker, Freddy King or Albert King, or stop in at Herreid Music, and I would be glad to help you out.


Glenn Smith

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