Vari-Shuffle Climb

Learn how to climb up the chords in a 12 Bar blues sequence. An awesome tool to play blues guitar.

View the full lesson at Vari-Shuffle Climb | JustinGuitar

When you do the Shuffle in the Video you use a mute technique to mute the sound of the shuffle which makes it more groovy. how do you do that? with the left or right hand or with both?

Damian, I believe it is done with the right hand, edge of the palm. I think left hand muting is usually more used to mute a string that should not be ringing out.

thanks for the fast anwear. just practicing this now

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It’s called palm muting Damian. Do a search on Justin’s site
He has a few lessons on it.

Damian Its covered in Grade 2 Module 12, so you must have missed it :sunglasses:

The intro seems to use the notes:

A, B, C#, D, D#, G, G#, E

which Justin says are all the notes in E. I don’t think this is the E scale so what does he mean?

Hey skeldol,

I believe what he meant was the notes are from the E blues scales

E major blues scale

E-F#-G-G#-B- C#

E minor blues scale

E- G- A- Bb-B-D

Cheers, Shane

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I am working on the first variation and have 2 questions.

  1. The tabs label all the chords as seven chords. E.g. E7, A7, B7. But aren’t these all power chords? Should they be labeled E5, A5, B5.

  2. For the intro and the walk up to the B7, I started using alternate picking, then noticed Justin used all down strokes. Is that a bad habit when playing shuffles?

hey barker7, this is a good question!

I look at it like this: this piece is composed with dominant 7 chords (like most blues progressions) and so the music sheet should be labeled with E7, A7, B7. Even though the tab is showing power chords, I think the chords should be labeled E7, etc, emphasizing that this is a blues piece.

There are any number of ways to play these chords and in this lesson the chosen interpretation is with the power chord versions (with the added embellishments with the ring or pinky finger). You might think some of the “blues feel” is lost without the dom 7 chords, but the shuffle rhythm played is unmistakably a blues sound: it feels very bluesy.

Regarding your second question: I generally try to play these things the way Justin teaches, but if I’m struggling and have an alternative that works better for me, then I try to listen carefully if it makes a difference to the sound of the piece. If it does, then I have to decide if my (easier) way is acceptable or not. I do think in this case the all downs technique gives it a certain feel which is not replicated with alternate picking. For me, I would try to do it with all down picks, slowing down the tempo if necessary.

@barker7 @jjw1
You guys are way over thinking this. The blues can be played in Major, Minor, 7th, 9th, power chords etc. Most Blues Progressions aren’t Dominant 7 chord progressions for the simple fact not all blues are 12 bar blues. There are many variations of the blues.
In this video Justin choose power chord because it a Chunka Chunka style which is usually played with power chords.

Life by the Drop by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan is a perfect example of a chunka chunka blue that isn’t a 12 bar blues. The chords are A E F#m D and D7

I don’t see the connection between the number of bars (be it 8, 12, 16 or whatever) and whether dominant 7 chords are used.

I’m sure there are many exceptions, and I only have a few years experience with the blues, but it seems to me that the majority of blues progressions (in a major key) are written with dominant 7 chords. Sometimes dom 9 chords (or 11 or 13) are played, but those chords also have the b7, so they are a close relative to the dom 7 chords.

Life by the Drop is a great song! However, an unusual progression for a blues, I, V, iv, IV for the verse and a different progression for the chorus. Not really a traditional blues composition. Key to the Highway is another blues song that doesn’t use a traditional blues progression, although it’s phrased exactly like a typical 8-bar blues.

You need to broaden the Blues you listen to. The 1 4 5 progression is only 1 style of blue.
7th chords are used a lot in blues but they do not make the blues and are far from the only traditional blue.

You’re right about that! Thanks for the discussion.

The first part of my original question was about the chord names at the start of each bar (circled in red)

An E7 chord is E G# B D. Since D (the 7th) is not played in this measure, I don’t understand why the measure is labeled E7. Perhaps it should be labeled E5 or simply E?

Yes they are power chords.
Like I said earlier your over thinking this. E7 E or E5 it really does not matter. For this example use power chords. Your going to find it really difficult to add in the walk ups and embellishments playing Dominant 7 chords
Just follow the lesson and done worry about what the chords in the tabs say. The world won’t come to an end because there are a few typos in the tab.

Thanks for the info @stitch.

BTW, I hadn’t heard Life by the Drop. I read that it was written by a childhood friend of SRV. I’m a big fan of SRV, but mostly with his early stuff. I even saw him in bars and clubs when I lived in Austin during the late 70s.

If you ever decide to do another intro to this series you should link it to your solo blues premium lessons. I know they’re quite a bit older and only in the key of E but I’ve found doing them after learning these super helpful. Plus, they’re not that expensive

Life by the Drop is a fantastic tune!

This is something I’ve been struggling with too when I first got into analyzing sheet music. You are right that most measures of Variation 1 do not contain the note D. The only exception being the penultimate measure, the E7, but you could argue it’s just a chromatic run down to the B.

I think that a jam buddy could perfectly play regular E major, A major and B major chords while you’re playing the Vari-Shuffle piece. Or he could be playing power chords, or E7, A7 and B7 chords, as the music sheet suggests. The harmony can exist of dominant chords, even if YOU are not playing the dominant 7th note.

It’s all about context and the sound you’re looking for as a band. And if it sounds good… :wink: