View Full Version : Jazz Shuffle Help
12-14-2006, 07:29 AM
I was shocked when I attempted a new groove tonight, the standard jazz shuffle. Almost no control or strength when it came to swinging with a shuffle. No swing to it at all. Feels like I should be using Moeller with it, or something with a wrist move, but I haven't really got into that yet, just starting out. Any of you jazzers have a drill to add a bit of strength to my left hand for shuffle purposes? Or, is it like most everything else, just start slow and get strong and build tempo?
I am new and still learning rudiments and using Stone's stick control book. Seems like completely different muscle being used than with sticking for rudiments. In any event, it feels like I should be using the Moeller move to the left for the accent, only the move to the left, not necessarily any of the rebounds that follow it, if you have been able to follow this. Your thoughts and suggestions much appreciated. Thanks! (New drums tomorrow, if UPS makes it happen!) Joey
fat in the middle
12-14-2006, 02:10 PM
I like Mr Pope's analogy of bird crap. [if you are traditional grip]. He instructs the left hand to imagine it with bird crap [or any other crap you may have lying around your brain], and you want to get it off your hand, thus creating a whipping feeling,,now this can add power to the left hand, even for those shuffles.
check out the birdcrap
Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan
12-14-2006, 03:51 PM
I think you are thinking too much about it. I played pretty good jazz shuffles years before I even knew the word Moeller. Just listen, play, and learn, my friend. The most important thing in a jazz shuffle, and most music, is the feel. If you haven't already got a solid moeller foundation and want one, get on the pad for a year concentrating on that. If you want to play a jazz shuffle, play a jazz shuffle. DPS
Hmm.. awating Jazzsnob's ever ready advice
LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN or something along those lines.
Yeah, if you want to get the swing feel, you've gotta listen more. It's nothing to do with the technical area. It's musicality. So listen and copy. Learn the Moeller separately and imply that into your swinging. But the swinging doesn't come from the Moeller. Or something like that.
12-14-2006, 04:37 PM
I completely agree with DPS. Get the feel for the shuffle and ingrain it into your brain. Moeller and other techniques are important to learn but as he implied you're thinking too much about technique and not enough about music.
12-14-2006, 04:45 PM
Thanks for thr replies. I regret even mentioning Moeller, as it really isn't something I'm trying or desire to practice here at the start of my drumming. The only reason I mentioned it was because the problem I was having is that when I hit the snare with the accent strike, I tend to hit with a move to the left and it brought to mind the Moeller, at least the way I remember Derrick doing it on his video.
In other words, no strength in wrist to play this jazz shuffle at any speed over the very lowest tempo, which is fine. The muscles seem to be different due to the move to the left. I was just looking for an exercise that might strengthen the muscles involved. If you play a jazz shuffle, you probably know what I am speaking of, no? Using trad grip on my left. And, of course, I will certainly just continue on with the practicing of the move and expect that the strength will follow. Again, thinking that there was some specific exercise for this unusual move to speed up the learning curve. Thanks again. Joey
12-15-2006, 05:09 AM
Yeah, just play the shuffle, man. Don't worry about the Moeller technique.
Start it super slow, and build up. Learn it at about 40 bpm at first, remember to keep that triplet feel... As it gets a little faster, I like to play it closer to a dotted eighth-sixteenth feel, a little old school but it does get the heads bobbing if played right.!
12-15-2006, 06:15 AM
There's something in there that you're saying that I'm curious about. You talk about not having enough "strength" in your left wrist when playing the shuffle. What I am wondering about is this: do you feel you have no strength in the wrist on other beats that you attempt or is it just the shuffle? If you feel strong on other beats I've got to wonder what is changing when you play a shuffle. Do you use trad grip in all your playing or just for jazz? Try to see how things change when you switch from a style that you feel strong in and when you move to the shuffle. Somehow it just doesn't make sense to me that you'd be having strength problems in one style of playing but lose it on another style. I know this is raising more questions than answers but maybe taking a look at that will help you.
12-15-2006, 09:36 AM
Thanks, Pete, I appreciate the follow up. Here is what is happening. I am new to drumming, so I have no technique, no speed, no nothing. But, I have time and a new set for this 50+ to begin this new hobby with. I use match for rock when more comfortable or need more volume, but usually I use the traditional grip.
I bought Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials. It is basically a chart and dvd of him playing basic grooves ... latin, rock, jazz, I'm sure you get the idea. Anyway, last night I attempted the groove which he calls a basic jazz shuffle. It has the accent mark on the first beat of the triplet. Watching him play it, he kind of does a move to the left with the wrist for the accent ... dah, dah DAH, dah, dah,dah Dah, and so on. The unaccented strokes are mostly on the right. It is like he is going left and low to get a rim shot, but he doesn't hit the rim.
When I try to get the accent with that move I have very little strength in the wrist to make it happen. No problem with the other hits. No big deal, but again, I was just thinking that it was strange that since I have been practicing the rudiments daily for the past two month or so, I was surprised to find how weak I was with this movement, and how uncomfortable as I have no strength to pull it off. Hope that explains what is going on and I sure appreciate your inquiry and taking the time to help. Joey
12-15-2006, 03:05 PM
keith copeland's book has a few (like 3 or 4) examples of patterns you can play that will work as ashuffle. for example, you dont have to play constant eights w/ accents of 2 and 4.
you can use this pattern. | C - - o 0 - - - - o 0 - -|
(written out as 1/8 note triplets)
- = eight rest
o = unaccented eight note
0 = acceneted eight note
so here you just drop out the either the first or last eight of the eight note shuffle pattern depending on what beat you're on.
if your shuffle is suffering and you cant get the groove right at that moment, CHANGE YOUR PATTERN to approximate a shuffle. try to find a variation that helps the music flow. this is a very simple, obvious lesson, given to me by victor lewis. i came to him because i was having difficulty playing a pattern exactly as it was expressed to me by the arranger/composer of the tune. victor's answer was to play the pattern in a way that was less physically taxing to me and helped the music flow better. so if you have to perfom a shuffle and you can't play the stereotypical shuffle pattern, use a variation that helps the time feel good until you can sort out your issues w/ the other pattern.
12-15-2006, 03:09 PM
Okay, I guess I understand where you're coming from. I don't have Tommy's dvd so I'd like to see that to get a better idea of what he's doing with that accented note. Anyhow, you might try spending some time on the practice pad just doing some accented left hand patterns to try and build up the muscles to respond to the accented notes. Here's a real basic excercise but may help. Play groups of triplets, first time through put an accent on the first note of the triplet, second measure on the second note, third measure on the third note, then mix it up with accent on the first and third, first and second, etc. Anything like that to get your hands feeling more comfortable with the different stick heights and volume difference between the accented and unaccented notes. Hope that helps some.
12-15-2006, 04:46 PM
Thanks, Keith, I'll check out Copland's book.
And, Pete, I was confused when I looked at the chart due to my thinking that the > sign abobe the 1 meant accent. Actually, there is a ^ sign above the 2 and 4 and that is where the accent is. Still, I was listening to his playing and attempting to copy his sound, so I was having the probelm I described, but again, it was with the accents on the 2 and 4, NOT the 1. Sorry for the confusion. So, the correct sound is basically, 1 ah 2 ah 3 ah 4, with the accent on 2 and 4. I will take your suggestion with the practicing of triplets, placing the accents in different locations ... that should help me build up strength and muscle training. Thanks for the help! No playing last night, as I was setting up my new drums! Early Christmas at my house, up till 3 am having fun getting familiar with all of the parts of each drum! Joey
12-17-2006, 04:58 AM
Yes, sounds like you caught on to the right feel. Good deal. Hope those accent patterns help. Keep on it and I'm sure it will get easier as you go along. As you listen to more jazz I think you'll find that the snare plays a lot of combinations of accented and unaccented notes to enhance what is going on with the rest of the musicians. Playing a steady two and four accent doesn't happen for very long. Shuffles are one of the few things where that does stay fairly consistent. In my experience I've found shuffle used a lot more in R&B and some of the jump/swing stuff like you would hear from Louis Jordan for example. Well good luck and I like your enthusiasm. Cool that you spent that time getting the new kit up and running. Is that the set that you mention in your signature or something new?
12-17-2006, 10:21 AM
Hi, Pete. Yes, new drums! I am still fooling around with them. Finally put up the cymbals and most of the trimming, but it was too late to play after I took off all heads, re seated them, retuned each drum for sport (I was nuts to do that, they were fine. Just wanted to learn all about my new instrument) Even wiped down perfectly shiny and clean chrome with teflon rag ... sick, I tell ya. But truly, isn't playing with new chrome hardware as much fun as playing ... LOL.
Anyway, I worked on the jazz shuffle today for two hours and it came right around. You gave me good advice regarding moving the accents around triplets. I was having a bad day the other day when I made this new thread. Seems like it is one step forward and 1/2 back. Thanks again for the help. Joey
03-02-2010, 10:05 PM
I know this is an old thread, but last time I checked shuffle misery was still pretty widespread. So, here's my advice:
A lot of people try to make one stroke out of the &-2/&-4, making the little note then jerking up their forearm to slam in the accent; this plays hell with your accuracy, and tends make you play loud and not relaxed. Or they may attempt to flail in some kind of pseudo-Moeller whipping motion, which also tends to suck. Nothing fancy or difficult is actually required- a fast upstroke on the & of 1/3 will allow you to drop in the backbeats in a relaxed manner.
It helps to break up that continuous up-down motion, separating the upstroke on the & from the downstroke on 2/4. Practice the groove slowly, but make your upstroke as fast as you can- your left will hang in the air for a second in the raised position before making the accent on 2/4. Do this using just your wrist- don't lift your forearm and do keep the back of the stick against your palm (gently!) for the entire stroke. Obviously, you don't want to let anyone see you play a shuffle this way- this is just to learn that fast upstroke, and to stop with the violent up-down jerking motion. You want to smooth it out once the upstroke is fast and relaxed.
Another thing you should do to make this thing groove is make sure you have a solid quarter note pulse running through it. Articulate your &-1/&-3's. And make sure your unisons are clean- you have three or four voices at a time sounding on most of this, and if they're all flamming against each other it's going to sound bad.
Oh, and I second the Keith Copeland book recommendation.
03-05-2010, 06:27 AM
Haha! This thread was way old. I'm talking over three years ago, posted the night before I received my first drum set. I still suck, but man, I have come some way since that day.
Thanks for taking the time to address the problem here. I finally got that jazz shuffle down. Hope the thread helps another newbie, so again, thanks for the reply
As an update, I've been playing a different shuffle since Christmas '09, Bonzo's Fool In The Rain. I have the transcript and slowly working my way up the met with it. An entirely new set of issues with that masterpiece. But I love it. What respect I have for Bonham after living with this jewel. A genius for sure. Joey
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