Pat Garvey Drum Lesson: Styles: Rhythm & Blues

In this lesson, we’re going to take a look at shuffling, specifically the Texas Shuffle in the context of Rhythm & Blues. Late last year I took on a load of work that involved nothing but shuffling, with a blues trio and with an organ trio, and suddenly there was a lot of left hand work going on and shuffling with different swing feels (or degrees of swing if you prefer) & it got me thinking that it would be a great subject for a Tech Session because of the shuffles importance as a groove and feel in contemporary music. Understanding the shuffle and being able to swing are two very important factors as a musician.

Some of this session is about understanding technically how it works with the right and the left hand, e.g. there are more economical ways of playing than others – but that’s nothing new & nothing unique to this subject – most of it is in the feel and musical application. How good it sounds and how well you can control it at a cross range of tempi, depends on how good, or effective your technique is.

When you get into this, you’ll find there are many different ‘types’ of shuffle & feels to match, & it can all get very confusing at first. The best single piece of advice anyone can really give you here is simply to listen to the records, find out who played on them, learn to play them, get some mates together & jam it out. Get out & play music in this style & find your own voice within it — then you’ll have it. Sometimes we come across rhythms, grooves and feels that past theoretically what they actually are, are hard to quantify — this is music, just enjoy it!

Take this slow and be patient, and don’t be put off if your left hand feels really awkward at first – I’ve been there! Push through, persevere, get out & play, have fun & it’ll come.

Issue 23 of iDrum Magazine.
For the notation for this lesson, please email [email protected] and I’ll email it to you.
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