Basic Blues Shuffle (Guitar Lesson)


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Orville Johnson

Basic Blues Shuffle

Orville Johnson demonstrates a basic blues shuffle. This incredibly easy rhythm piece will have you sounding like a blues great in no time!

Taught by Orville Johnson in Beginner Acoustic with Orville seriesLength: 12:38Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

Basic Blues Shuffle

A shuffle pattern is a simple rhythmic pattern used very frequently in blues that will give you the ability to play many great blues songs. This technique was utilized often by the blues artist Jimmy Reed.

The feel of the shuffle rhythm comes from a triplet pattern. A triplet is a subdivision of a beat into one-third (3 triples to a beat). To play a shuffle, play the first and third triplets of every beat, leaving out the second. Put a slight accent on the first note to keep the pulse feel of the tempo.

If you look at the supplemental content for this lesson, you will notice that the song Orville is playing is written in eighth notes. Blues music is often notated in eighth notes even if it has a shuffle rhythm. If you look at the beginning of the piece, you will usually see a notation indicating that eighth notes are to be played with a shuffle rhythm.



Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


johnicejohnice replied on January 26th, 2016

The second E7 is a D7 !

reneesarahreneesarah replied on April 11th, 2015

My hand just will not make a 7, 9, 11 spread. :-(

guloguloguyguloguloguy replied on December 21st, 2014

.....This "Shuffle" reminds me of a tune by the Ventures, titled "Honkey Tonk" ! It's a Great sound!....

dslicklipdslicklip replied on October 28th, 2014

Very enlightening! I can't wait to practice this 12-bar Blues lesson... after I've got the practice session of the "Modes" under my belt... Thank you Orville!

Orville.JohnsonOrville.Johnson replied on September 8th, 2014

Hi dorkman- I will be filming a new set of lessons this month and catching up on comment replies.

dorkmandorkman replied on February 22nd, 2014

Great lesson! Could you please give us that fill-in lick which you add right after the turn-around? That ending really adds to this piece.

dorkmandorkman replied on February 19th, 2014

You're a very good teacher Orville. Are you still instructing for JamPlay because I don't see any replys from you and I also don't see any recent posts?

dorkmandorkman replied on February 19th, 2014

Enter your comment here.

JustOldBobJustOldBob replied on October 7th, 2013

Just great! Orville,My trial version is running out so I will miss you for awhile till I get the money for my subscription.Just like to say that you have really broadened my horizons with your lessons,Love ya Man

MikeRGRMikeRGR replied on March 9th, 2013

Great Lesson OJ thanks mike

rivalrival replied on April 26th, 2012

This is cool. Can you please expand on this lesson? e.g some of those fills you were adding etc.

gary rgary r replied on December 29th, 2011

I am having with my little finger . Would this be a good song to build up my little or is there exercises so I can build up my little finger?

walterswalters replied on December 4th, 2011

I find this difficult having small hands, can't span 4 frets without taking my first finger off the 9th fret ( bar 10 ). I must find another way.

guitar4twoguitar4two replied on September 13th, 2012

its very hard my pinky finger is to hard for me to, but i found a way to do it. i do it were i have my index finger on the 9th fret and my ring finger on the 11th fret.

hemantsachdevhemantsachdev replied on December 3rd, 2011

Enjoying your lessons Mr. Johnson. I first learned to play the blues shuffle in the key of A. So the I IV V progression was A, D & E and that can be played much easier using just open strings on the base notes right there up the neck. I know I found it easier, so maybe others might as well. Great lesson, thank you now that I understand the theory behind it instead of just playing the shuffle.

jboothjbooth replied on July 11th, 2011

Sup content will be coming shortly, thanks for the patience everyone!

Beginner Acoustic with Orville

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Discover the essentials with Orville Johnson by learning some of the most popular topics and techniques in beginner guitar.



Lesson 1

Overcoming Beginner Challenges

Orville talks about some challenges you will likely face as a beginner and offers some advice that will help you overcome them.

Length: 13:05 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Flatpick and Strumming

Orville talks about flatpicks, how to hold them, and how to strum with them.

Length: 13:29 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 3

Fingerpicking and Patterns

Orville Johnson introduces some basic fingerpicking patterns.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Metronome and Practicing

Orville Johnson explains why it is important to practice with a metronome. He also covers some practice strategies that will help minimize your frustration.

Length: 21:35 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Practical Theory Part 1: Intervals

Orville dives into part 1 of his beginners' guide to practical theory. In this lesson, you will learn the basics of intervals.

Length: 17:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Practical Theory Part 2: Scales

Orville Johnson takes a look at scales in part 2 of his practical theory mini-series.

Length: 18:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practical Theory Part 3: Chords and Construction

Orville Johnson jumps into part 3 of his practical theory mini-series. This lesson is about chords and their construction.

Length: 21:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Practical Theory Pt. 4: Modes

It's now time to tap back into the practical music theory portion of this series. Continuing on with part 4, Orville now discusses what modes are and how they are really just scales with Greek names.

Length: 19:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Basic Blues Shuffle

Orville Johnson demonstrates a basic blues shuffle. This incredibly easy rhythm piece will have you sounding like a blues great in no time!

Length: 12:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Connecting Chords with Bass Runs

Orville Johnson demonstrates how simple chord progressions can be spruced up with bass runs. The classic song "Oh! Susanna" is used as an example.

Length: 12:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Voice Leading

Orville Johnson talks about the concept of voice leading. This concept will help you play chord progressions that flow better and sound more harmonious.

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Chords

Orville Johnson teaches the basic major chords in this lesson. He also explains the best way to change from chord to chord, a challenge for many beginners.

Length: 19:23 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Note Values

Orville Johnson jumps into some light theory with a lesson on note values.

Length: 7:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

The CAGED System

Orville Johnson takes a beginner's look at the CAGED system.

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Open D Tuning

Orville Johnson introduces open D tuning and encourages exploration of its possibilities. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles.

Length: 24:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Open G Tuning

This time, Orville Johnson introduces open G tuning. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles and sounds pretty without even fingering a chord.

Length: 21:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Beginner Fingerstyle Techniques

This lesson is perfect for the beginner looking to develop dexterity and independence in the right hand fingers. Orville guides you step by step through basic rhythm concepts and fingerstyle exercises.

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

How Does a Capo Work?

This lesson presents any beginner with the information needed to understand how a capo works. This tool enables you to change the key of a song without learning any new chord voicings.

Length: 22:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Beginner Lead Techniques

Orville introduces basic techniques that can be used to play lead guitar. This lesson includes a primer on hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends and harmonics.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Orville's Guide to Practicing

Orville dispenses a lifetime of accrued wisdom on the subject of practicing and learning. This lesson is only 16 minutes long, and it will not only change how you learn the guitar, but can also be applied...

Length: 16:38 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Creating New Chords

This lesson is all about creating different types of chords. This does steer the lesson towards music theory, but the information is invaluable and infinitely applicable.

Length: 23:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Orville Johnson View Full Biography Orville Johnson was born in 1953 in Edwardsville, Illinois and came up on the St. Louis, Missouri music scene, where he was exposed to and participated in a variety of blues, bluegrass and American roots music. He began singing in his Pentecostal church as a young boy, in rock bands in middle school, then took up the guitar at 17,with early influences from Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Chuck Berry. In the early 1970's, Orville spent several seasons playing bluegrass on the SS Julia Belle Swain, a period-piece Mississippi river steamboat plying the inland waterways, with his group the Steamboat Ramblers.

Orville moved to Seattle, Washington in 1978, where he was a founding member of the much-loved and well-remembered folk/rock group, the Dynamic Logs. Other musical associates include Laura Love, Ranch Romance, File' Gumbo Zydeco Band, Scott Law, and the Twirling Mickeys. Johnson, known for his dobro and slide guitar stylings and vocal acrobatics, has played on over 100 albums. He has appeared on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion, Jay Leno's Tonight Show and was featured in the 1997 film Georgia with Mare Winningham. His musical expertise can also be heard on the Microsoft CD-ROMs, Musical Instruments of the World and the Complete Encyclopedia of Baseball. He teaches as well at the International Guitar Seminar, Pt. Townsend Country Blues Week and Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.

Orville released 4 recordings in the 1990's: The World According to Orville (1990) Blueprint for the Blues (1998) Slide & Joy (1999) an all-instrumental dobro tour de force and Kings of Mongrel Folk (1997) with Mark Graham. He also appeared on 4 discs with the File' Gumbo Zydeco Band and produced Whose World Is This (1997) for Jim Page and Inner Life (1999) for Mark Graham. In the 21st century, he has released Freehand, a new Kings of Mongrel Folk disc, Still Goin' Strong, and been featured in the soundtracks of PBS' Frontier House and the Peter Fonda flick The Wooly Boys as well as the compilation cd Legends of the Incredible Lap Steel Guitar.

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