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Watch the Rhythmic Feel online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Power Phrasing

A triplet shuffle feel is often associated with the blues and R&B genres of music, so we probably know what that sounds and feels like. Each beat of a four bar measure is subdivided into 3 equal parts. 123 - 223 - 323 - 423 and can be verbalized as tri-puh-let, tri-puh-let, etc.

So, when we phrase over a shuffle it’s important to know that you are dividing the beats into 3 equal parts, triplets. However, creating the rolling feel of a shuffle requires us to tie the first two 8th notes of each beat together, which gives us a longer first note of each beat (quarter note) and a shorter note (8th note) as the second attack of each beat. We can solidify the shuffle feel in our lines by employing this approach too. Having your phrases supported by the underlying pulse is going to strengthen them considerably.

This doesn’t mean however, that you can’t still play triplets over this pulse, of course you can, just be aware that the supporting pulse is your friend in any musical situation where you are phrasing single note lines.