The shuffle lick is one of the most important building blocks for blues and R&B rhythm guitar, and is easily one of the most recognizable licks in guitar and music history. In this lesson, we will work in the open positions of A, E and D, as well as taking it up the neck a bit to a “closed” position.
Some of the original users of this style were Jimmy Reed and Bill Doggett in the hit record “Honky Tonk.” Of course, Chuck Berry was perhaps the most popular user of this lick, and it’s featured in nearly every song he ever recorded.
The left hand dampening that occurs is also very important, and we will stress that in playing these positions cleanly and accurately. I will also stress the importance of good right-hand technique for the shuffles, because many guitarists simply play these licks without enough control.
Important for all players.—Arlen Roth