Groove Of The Week #8

Let’s bounce along and enjoy Groove of the Week #8:

Groove of the week 8 is, of course, a shuffle. A groove that has powered countless Blues and Country songs as well as many popular Rock & Pop songs. You’ve probably heard shuffles on Confident by Demi Lovato, Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King, Grace Kelly by Mika, Black Night by Deep Purple, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen, Roadhouse Blues by the Doors and many other great songs. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The most important thing for the shuffle is having a consistent feel between the notes on the hi-hat. The shuffle is formed by playing the first and last notes of the 8th note triplets. It can be hard to keep this steady at first. Lets try to develop a nice steady shuffle.

Step 1:

Shuffle development exercise 1
Pay attention to the sticking and count out loud.

In step 1 we play all of the 8th note triplets. The right hand plays the first and last note of the triplet, the left hand plays all the middle notes (the “puh”)

Step 2:

Shuffle Development Exercise 2
Move the right hand to the hi-hat; Keep counting.

In step 2 the pattern is the same as step 1 but we move the right hand to the hi-hat. You should be able to hear the shuffle rhythm on the hi-hat now.

Step 3:

Shuffle Development Exercise 3
Stop the left hand; Keep counting.

In step 3 we stop playing the left hand on the snare drum, we now have just the shuffle rhythm playing on the hi-hat. Keep counting out loud to make sure you are leaving space for the middle note of the triplet. Try moving smoothly between step 2 and step 3 without stopping. Play 4 bars of each. Does you’re right hand hi-hat part remain constant?

Step 4:

The shuffle complete
Add some bass and snare drum. Keep counting.

Finally in step 4 we add the bass and snare drum to complete the groove. Keep counting out loud to solidify the feel.

Taking It Further

There are many great variations on the shuffle, but for now we’ll stick with this basic one and look at adding fills to it.

As with any groove you want to be able to move in & out of it using drum fills. Normally when playing shuffles drummers will stick to the 8th note triplet subdivision as a base for fills. Here’s 4 basic fills that you’ll want to be able to do.

shuffle fills
Four Basic Triplet Fills

Once you have these 4 basic fills down, then try moving your hands around the kit to create your own ideas. Check out Fill Of The Week #8 for a more advanced triplet fill.

I hope you enjoy shuffling along with Groove of the week #8. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, please contact us via the contact us page.