Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: June 23, 2020

SRV Guitar - How to Play Texas Shuffle

SRV guitar

Stevie Ray Vaughan, or simply “SRV” is one of the greatest blues guitarists in music history. His cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” is a testament to his ability, but it is in his tried and true shuffle-style playing, also known as the Texas Shuffle, in songs like “Pride and Joy” that really standout. SRV guitar stylings like the Texas Shuffle are a great-sounding, and fun way to play any type of rhythm, especially in the blues. 

What is the Texas Shuffle?

SRV’s rhythm playing was exceptional and it is most distinguished by the swinging feel. In songs like “Pride and Joy,” it’s quite obvious, but he also employs this type of shuffle in songs like “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” though, that song also has a bit of funk in it as well. 

The key element of the Texas Shuffle is that downstrokes are audible while upstrokes are muted. What this means is that when you’re playing a riff, you would perform a downstroke normally but on the upstroke, you’re getting that chugging sound since the strings are not played. If you do this at a fast, swinging type of tempo, you’ll be on your way to a proper SRV Texas Shuffle. 

How to practice the Texas Shuffle

A lot of the time, SRV played on the key of E, and used the E minor pentatonic, though a lot of the songs he played were tuned to E flat. To practice the Texas Shuffle, you want to start with a simple 12 bar blues. 

Remember, the 12 bar blues form is simply playing 4 bars, or measures, in groups of 3. The first group of 4 is the root note, and the first chord. For example, if we’re playing in the key of E, or specifically from the E major scale, here are the notes:

1                   4    5

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# 

The 12 bar blues goes like this:

1 - 1 - 1 - 1 

4 - 4 - 1 - 1

5 - 4 - 1 - 1 

That is the first chord for 4 bars, followed by 2 bars of the fourth, then 2 bars of the first, then finally ending in 1 bar of the fifth, 1 bar of the fourth, and 2 bars of the first. 

In Gary’s lesson on this topic below, he shows you first how to play the Texas Shuffle using the 12 bar form. Here are the chords:

E - E - E - E

A - A - E - E

B - A - E - B

Check out Gary’s lesson on how to play SRV style Texas Shuffle below:

For more on the Texas Shuffle, be sure to check out our series on Stevie Ray Vaughan right here, as part of your Full Access subscription.

Also don't forget to check out our official SRV song lessons.

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