Fast Shuffle Technique

DrumDoug

Senior Member
Lately I've been trying to play along to Rosanna by Toto. I've learned the groove and I can play it up to around 150bpm or so, but the song is at 168bpm. (or 84 depending on how you count it.) I've watched several videos on youtube, and they all just break down the groove. When I watch other people play it they don't seem to have any trouble getting the right hand shuffling at that tempo. I know I'm a slow drummer in general, but I really want to be able to play this song. Lately I've started using a push/pull, wrist/finger, moeller thing to play it. Playing an inverted double stroke over and over with the wrist playing the third partial of the triplet and the fingers playing the first partial. I've been able to increase my speed a little bit and it seems to be helping. I was wondering if there is an easier way to play it? How do you guys play a fast shuffle?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There's a hundred different answers. Some guys are real relaxed, other guys muscle through it. And everything in between. They can all sound good, and they can all sound like crap. And everything in between.

There's just no tricks, unless hard work and time spent is a trick.

Shuffles force you to figure out what works best for your shuffle.

My personal answer to the whole shuffle thing... and every other hard thing to play... is single strokes.

If you can play fast even single strokes, everything else is is like, not nearly as hard.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Lately I've been trying to play along to Rosanna by Toto. I've learned the groove and I can play it up to around 150bpm or so, but the song is at 168bpm. (or 84 depending on how you count it.) I've watched several videos on youtube, and they all just break down the groove. When I watch other people play it they don't seem to have any trouble getting the right hand shuffling at that tempo. I know I'm a slow drummer in general, but I really want to be able to play this song. Lately I've started using a push/pull, wrist/finger, moeller thing to play it. Playing an inverted double stroke over and over with the wrist playing the third partial of the triplet and the fingers playing the first partial. I've been able to increase my speed a little bit and it seems to be helping. I was wondering if there is an easier way to play it? How do you guys play a fast shuffle?
We'd have to watch you to see precisely what you're doing but, in general, for this stuff I find a way to distribute the work of the two notes between different muscle groups as you are. Utilising the rebound of the stick is key.

I use a French Grip and I'm essentially *dropping* the skip beat of the triplet by allowing the stick to roll over/tilt over the fulcrum of my index finger and picking up the downbeat with my thumb and fingers the way you'd roll a dollar bill off wad of cash between your thumb and index finger. My arm is on the way up during the first motion and on the way down during the second to give me the pulse on the beat.

You can get the idea of the *drop* by just holding a stick - in French Grip - parallel to the surface of anything and just lifting your thumb off and letting the stick's weight take it to the surface. When it rebounds, HELP the stick back to the surface by snapping your hand closed like rolling a bill. DROP, then roll.

In the end, I'm hardly doing anything for the skip note. I'm, quite literally, letting go of the stick. Eventually the thumb doesn't actually lose contact with the stick but merely loosens off. But all the emphasis -- muscular and otherwise -- is on the quarter note pulse.
 
Last edited:

Mikedrums78

Senior Member
Definitely check out Jojo Mayer`s dvd secret weapons for the modern drummer! I use a moeller method similar to the one Jojo talks about in the dvd. Imagine holding a rope at the end and the rest is laying on the ground. I snap my wrist so that it creates a wave in the rope.
the snap is the down stroke and the pull up to the snap is the `ah`s of the shuffle beat ( 1 ah 2 ah 3 ah 4 ah)

It`s hard for me to describe in writing, but once you get that basic motion down, it`s real intuitive; my hands naturally want to do that motion when playing fast shuffles.

Alot of guys use it to lope eighth notes as well. They use this technique for funk grooves where you put the accent (wrist snap) on the down beats and the upbeat eighth notes are played by the aforementioned pull up.
 

piccupstix

Junior Member
Definitely check out Jojo Mayer`s dvd secret weapons for the modern drummer! I use a moeller method similar to the one Jojo talks about in the dvd. Imagine holding a rope at the end and the rest is laying on the ground. I snap my wrist so that it creates a wave in the rope.
the snap is the down stroke and the pull up to the snap is the `ah`s of the shuffle beat ( 1 ah 2 ah 3 ah 4 ah)

It`s hard for me to describe in writing, but once you get that basic motion down, it`s real intuitive; my hands naturally want to do that motion when playing fast shuffles.

Alot of guys use it to lope eighth notes as well. They use this technique for funk grooves where you put the accent (wrist snap) on the down beats and the upbeat eighth notes are played by the aforementioned pull up.
This is pretty much the technique I use. If I may ask...are you using the German, French, or American grip with this...or a mix? I feel like there's better control using German yet I feel like I get a more comfortable "whip" by using French (with the rotational action).
 

Mikedrums78

Senior Member
@piccupstix depending on where i`m playing my technique may change. I use German alot for this shuffle motion on the hats and more of a American/French and more of my fingers if i`m playing the ride cymbal! How about you, does it change depending on where you`re playing too?
 

piccupstix

Junior Member
I use the French grip mostly on the ride and on the hat I constantly debate with myself about which to use. I have a more relaxed feel when using French on the hat but not the same feeling of control (influenced by dynamics/speed) and it seems harder (more effort) to use German when it's a faster tempo. The same applies to non shuffle beats. Ideally I suppose I should practice all methods and let the music dictate but I get in my own way :/

Watching the vids of Bill Ray was nothing short of inspiring.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I'm not a very fast guy either but this can be achieved with a bit of technique. What I do is drop the stick for the first note and pick it up for the accent. My wrist is higher for the first note and it kinda digs down for the 2nd note.

If you work on accented single hand 16th notes you will get the hang of the motion, which is basically stealing a note on the way back up from the accent.
Once you get the hang of that you'll find the shuffle pattern easy, because your hand gets a break on the ''trip''.
 
Last edited:

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
From my experience over the years , and most styles of music I play , a soulless stroke has most often the second hit being the accent and the 1st one being a " pick up". Only place I find them even and/or accented on the one is in a paradiddle and a double stroke roll. In a shuffle , I practice accenting the second hit (downbeat) . In most Afro Cuban music , I found the same wrist action.

http://youtu.be/9VnZ18HrQKg

Look at his right hand playing the cascara and you'll see that every double he plays , the second hit is accented and the 1st one is just a pick up to it.

So , I just practiced cascara and shuffle with thst in mind and everything started to "swing":)
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
It really isn't that fast just sounds so with the ghost notes-the ghost notes drive it and trick is to get the ghost note hi hat interplay going.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
It really isn't that fast just sounds so with the ghost notes-the ghost notes drive it and trick is to get the ghost note hi hat interplay going.
The hi-hat part is really fast. Jeff just plays it so smooth and relaxed it doesn't sound that way. It's like a regular shuffle at 168bpm. That's pretty quick. I'm working on letting that pick-up note of the triplet drop and then accent the 8th notes with my wrist. Sort of getting the feel of playing an inverted double stroke over and over. It's coming along but it's going to be a while.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
The hi-hat part is really fast. Jeff just plays it so smooth and relaxed it doesn't sound that way. It's like a regular shuffle at 168bpm. That's pretty quick. I'm working on letting that pick-up note of the triplet drop and then accent the 8th notes with my wrist. Sort of getting the feel of playing an inverted double stroke over and over. It's coming along but it's going to be a while.
Give it time, my man. Time. Jeff's technique wasn't built in a day.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
The hi hat part is fast? That's relative my friend-it ain't Tony Williams fast. Fact is the whole idea of the shuffle is to give it a faster pace than it actually is. Note the videos of him playing the shuffle-just rhythmic triplets that have a double feel on the hi hat. It isn't that fast and it is the ghost notes and solid snare hits that drive it. The hard part is coordinating it all.
 
Last edited:

moxman

Silver Member
I think you're thinking it's more complicated than it really is.. there's no Moeller or push-pull techniques involved .. it's just a matter of letting the stick bounce with a steady rocking motion.. and shuffling! Maybe I've been doing this for so long it's second nature to me.. but just keep practicing and working at and it will get better and easier. I use the middle finger fulcrum / matched grip and it's fairly effortless at that tempo.. it's all about the groove.

Practicing the inverted doubles will help you get a cleaner shuffle on the hats..as well as other benefits like rolling around the toms... but also a decent set of hat cymbals will also help punch that hat shuffle sound through the room noise (compare playing a set of 15" Paiste sound edge hats with a pair of mushy sounding cymbals that don't cut - you have to work a lot harder!).

If you want to get into shuffling, work on pullout strokes and control strokes. Pullouts are a bit harder..(kind of an inverted double that lands on the beat).. typical in a jump swing kind of shuffle. If you master those everything else is a walk in the park.. Jim Chapin described it as tapping a hot stove and pulling away fast and hard with the second stroke.. a great analogy!
 

cornelius

Silver Member
I think you're thinking it's more complicated than it really is.. there's no Moeller or push-pull techniques involved .. it's just a matter of letting the stick bounce with a steady rocking motion.. and shuffling! Maybe I've been doing this for so long it's second nature to me.. but just keep practicing and working at and it will get better and easier. I use the middle finger fulcrum / matched grip and it's fairly effortless at that tempo.. it's all about the groove.

Practicing the inverted doubles will help you get a cleaner shuffle on the hats..as well as other benefits like rolling around the toms... but also a decent set of hat cymbals will also help punch that hat shuffle sound through the room noise (compare playing a set of 15" Paiste sound edge hats with a pair of mushy sounding cymbals that don't cut - you have to work a lot harder!).

If you want to get into shuffling, work on pullout strokes and control strokes. Pullouts are a bit harder..(kind of an inverted double that lands on the beat).. typical in a jump swing kind of shuffle. If you master those everything else is a walk in the park.. Jim Chapin described it as tapping a hot stove and pulling away fast and hard with the second stroke.. a great analogy!
You just described Moeller... :)
 
Top