Watch the A Shuffle online guitar lesson by Larry Carlton from 335 Blues
As we learned in the first two videos, you'll need to listen carefully to the drummer to keep good time. You also have to be aware of what the bass player is doing so that you don't conflict harmonically with his part. While these ideas are fundamentals for playing rhythm, they also pay off nicely once you're ready to start soloing.
For demonstration purposes, the solo I play here is played in the fifth position; that is, my index finger never really leaves the 5th fret. Once you start trying the same key in other positions, you'll see how quickly your soloing possibilities multiply. For starters, take a simple lick that you know well and try finding it in different positions and in different octaves on the neck. Differences in tone and the feel of the strings under your fingers change everything!
Anyone who has fiddled around with a basic blues scale knows that you can make a lot of music without a lot of movement. What makes one guy sound hipper than the next? It's not how many notes or positions he plays, it's how he expresses himself with the notes that he plays.
A simple, four-note phrase can be played a hundred different ways. Listen to how much a phrase changes when you add bends and vibrato, or when you use pull-offs and hammer-ons rather than picking each note. Try to move out of your own comfort zone, too - if you're used to bending notes with just your third (ring) finger, try bending and using vibrato with every finger.
As you develop melodic phrases, think about where you might have to take a breath if you were singing the part. Thinking like a singer can also help you structure your solos well. Rather than coming in with both guns blasting, start simply, as a singer might begin a song. Give the listener time to digest what you're saying.