The shuffle is such an important rhythm for you to learn and master. It was first introduced in jazz and blues music but has made its way into virtually every style of music since. There are many different kinds of grooves that use this rhythm.

In this lesson, I’ll show you the shuffle rhythm and how it is played on the cymbals. You have to understand it on a rhythmic level first. I’ll show you how to practice it with reasonably good technique, so that you get the right sound and feel when you play this rhythm. We’ll practice it on the Ride Cymbal first with a jazzy feel. Then we’ll try it as a basic groove on the Hi-Hats. This lesson is a milestone! Make sure you learn this technique and practice it enough so that you can play it naturally without thinking about the rhythm or what your hands are doing. Make it groove!


Download the PDF: Shuffle Technique #1

There are only 2 exercises on this PDF. The first is the shuffle played on the Ride Cymbal with the Hi-Hats on beats 2 and 4 as shown in the lesson. The second exercise has the Bass Drum and Snare Drum added to make a basic beat. Practice and master both and play these grooves with music as well.

  • The shuffle rhythm is derived from triplets. It is also commonly referred to as "swung 1/8th notes" because it is two notes per beat, but the triplet rhythm gives the notes a swinging feeling.

  • The shuffle rhythm on the Ride Cymbal with Hi_hats on beats 2 and 4.

  • Basic shuffle groove on the Hi-Hats with a backbeat. This groove is played often in blues music and in countless classic rock n' roll songs.

The recommended tempo range is 40 and 100
Tempo: 40 bpm

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