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Blues Guitar Lessons: Boogie Shuffle

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Okay, now we're gonna get down to
the heart of the classic
blues rhythm sound and
that's called the Boogie Shuffle.
Now we've already played a version
of the Boogie Shuffle but
this is kind of the fully
fleshed out sound.
It's interesting to note that
this style of rhythm playing
is usually credited to a guitar
player who now is extremely famous.
And his name is Robert Johnson.
Now, Robert Johnson didn't play
electric guitar on record.
There are rumors that he was playing
with an electric in clubs and
stuff before he died but
there's no recorded record of that.
But in any case he developed a style of
rhythm playing on his acoustic guitar
that was borrowed from piano and
had some of the same elements
as the left hand of the piano.
But it just did the job so
beautifully that the people who
were inspired by Robert Johnson,
who was actually a very small
group of people at the time.
He was not a popular figure.
He wasn't known outside
of the Mississippi Delta.
But guys like Elmore James and
Muddy Waters knew who he was.
And listened and stole his ideas,
as everybody steals everybody's ideas,
and what they heard Robert Johnson
doing was something like this.
so on,
It's that big booming kind of a rhythm
sound and what's going on in there
is the same boogie shuffle that we've been
playing, but he added an extra note to it.
And I'm gonna show you what that
what that note is.
It's the sixth degree in the scale.
Now is we're in the key of A,
one, two, three, four, five, six.
Put that on the fifth string.
I play the power chord.
And then I reach up with my little finger
And add that note.
Now, it's one little thing you gotta be
aware of here.
I'm playing the
power chord which is a three note chord,
in this case.
And then when I add that note,
I only wanna hear two notes
the six
the fifth string.
So, I let my fourth finger
[SOUND] mute the fourth string.
I don't wanna hear this
That's what happens when you
bar with your fourth finger.
That's not the sound.
It's one note, just the sixth.
So the end result is like this.
Beautiful sound.
Now, the rhythm that I'm playing, the
phrasing of the rhythm, The loud notes,
the soft notes, the short notes,
the long notes, it's exactly the same.
So all I've done is add that one extra
pitch to it and what that does is give
the rhythm kind of a bigger sense of form,
you kind of feel the beginning and
the end of the beat a little
bit more clearly that way.
All right, so here's what we wanna do.
Is play the 12-bar blues using
the boogie shuffle rhythm,
and we'll start off in the same key
that we were in before, the key of A.
Fifth fret, there we go.
When I go to the four chord, I do the same
thing I was doing before which is play
the D power chord shape,
index finger mutes the sixth string.
Add that extra note now.
In my picking hand, I'm using nothing but
down strokes.
I'm keeping my right hand up and
away from the strings.
I'm not using palm muting.
I'm letting it ring out,
and I'm controlling
it all with my fretting hand, and then
there's my five chord.
Now, when I make my transitions
there's a little pause in there.
So five
I let go of that E chord and I give myself
an ace note to get back to the A chord.
So I hit the A chord right
on the down beat, but
I let go of the E chord
a little bit early.
And that makes the transition
sound smoother.
So that's within the rules in
this game right here, okay?
Now, here's what we're
gonna do as an experiment,
because I want you to play
this in all keys as usual.
I know what you're thinking.
We're gonna play the 12
bar blues in the key of A,
and then without stopping,
no pause whatsoever,
we're gonna switch into the key of D and
play the 12 bar blues in the key of D.
Now the result is we're in A and
when you play in A,
the four cord is D, okay, and
then E and then back to A.
That sounds like the key of A.
When I go back to D it sounds
like I'm on the four cord but
I am not I started with a new key.
Now G is my four chord in D,
and A will be my five chord.
It's kind of a weird little musical
transition there, but the idea is to
mentally hear how the new
key kind of takes over and
then reorient yourself so that, what was
the four chord is now the one chord.
And now you're gonna
switch to the four chord.
At the same time, we're learning
how to use those chord sets,
I'm starting on the sixth string,
going to the fifth string, five chord.
Now I'm gonna switch to a new
chord set for the key of D,
I'm gonna use D with the root
on the fifth string, and
go down to play the four chord G,
up to A, and back to D again.
A little experiment, let's try it with
the rhythm track and see how it sounds.
Here we go, in the key of A.
There's my
four cord.
Here's five.
Stay there.
Back to A.
Now we're in the key of D, here we go!
Second part of the phrase.
Four chord coming.
Back to one.
Stay there.
Back to one.
Now, when you practice this thing
it doesn't end there, right?
What would happen next is you
would transition to the next key.
While we're in the key of D.
Five, and here comes the one key.
What's the next key in the cycle of four,
it's G one.
Now I'm in the the key of G.
That's the second part of my phrase.
Here comes the four chord.
Okay, and you get the idea.
You continue in the key of G.
You play the 12-bar with the boogie
shuffle all the way through.
Then you transition into the key of C,
and the 12-bar with the boogie shuffle,
Blues songs don't sound like that.
They don't change keys with
every chorus obviously.
So we're creating a little
artificial challenge here.
But if you can play through all 12 keys
with the Boogie Shuffle without stopping,
you really got it.
And then you're not gonna be intimidating
when somebody calls out some kind of
a strange key.
You're all gonna be more or
less equally comfortable.
You're also learning how to make
transitions from chord to chord smoothly,
how to keep time.
When you have that snare drum in the back
it really does help, doesn't it?
Its like whack,
you know exactly where you are.
And so
you wanna settle back in the pocket and
play that nice comfortable rolling feel.
Don't let your fretting
hand sit on the strings.
Keep it up in the air, and
let the notes ring out, okay?
Mess with that for a while, then we'll
come back and keep adding to the equation.