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Justinguitar - Free Guitar Lessons

12 Bar Shuffle Picking Techniques

The Blues Guitar Lessons

More than the common way to pick a blues rhythm...

Embarrassingly, I didn't really think much about the way I played a 12 Bar Blues until I joined a Rolling Stones Tribute band in the late 90's... and discovered the way I played it didn't sound right. After a bunch of research I worked out that the "12 Bar Shuffle Riff" thing we looked at last lesson is often played strummed, muting all the unwanted strings. Suddenly all the Chuck Berry stuff I'd been playing for years sounded much more like the recording. After this lesson the best thing you could do is to listen to a bunch of blues that use the 12 Bar Shuffle Riff thingy and see if you can work out which picking is being used... 

Watch The Video Lesson


Backing Track

Here is the Blues in A Backing track for you to practice with! This one is more "straight" than a shuffle, and is in the style of the Chuck Berry stuff, where you want to strum all the strings and mute the ones you don't want to hear!!

Blues Rhythm Track 2 by justinguitar

You can download the 13 track set of mp3's for this series for £5 (approx $8) (Blues Rhythm Guitar Mp3) - they are also included on the Blues Rhythm Guitar DVD for £15 (approx $25) of this series which comes with 3 bonus lessons (44 minutes worth!) and a pdf booklet.


12 Bar Blues in A


So just the run through again...

1. Play regular "chunka-chunka" with no mute. Tends to sound a bit lame, but with a lot of energy can sound awesome.

2. Play with a mute between the pairs of notes - the middle note of the each triplet is muted.

3. Play with light mute on every note.

4. Play with alternate picking just playing the 2 strings being used (uncommon).

5. Play with alternate strumming, playing all strings but muting all the ones not part of the riff.

6. Play with all up up picks, or experiment with the idea... (very weird, but people do it!!).


BLUES DVDs CDs and eBooks Available



Lesson ID: BL-202