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Catalog of Shuffles- Part Three- Asymmetrical Patterns

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, November 19, 2009

By "Asymmetrical" I mean that the first four notes and the last four notes of the eight note pattern are NOT mirror images of each other and are not simply  repetitions of the same rhythm but in opposite directions.


| d u d u U u d u | (note large U for midbow stress)  OR 1-1-1-3-1-1

Just what is sounds like- a hybrid of Sawstroke and the second half of a Nashville Shuffle, but using the 3 note upbow slur like a Georgia Shuffle.  It's a little hard to explain how to do it with words, but if you can find someone to show you ( Dave Reiner knows it) this is actually a very easy shuffle if you have any stiffness in the wrist.  It was my bread and butter shuffle when I started playing again in 2005, and when I recorded stuff in 2006 and posted on  It's not a flashy sounding shuffle, but it has a pleasant chugging along feel to it. It can be substituted for straight sawstroke in many tunes, giving the tunes a less tight, less rigid feel. Called Melvin's Lick by Brad Leftwich.  It can also be used as a way of starting out a series of Georgia Shuffles.

Challenges:  3 note slur across the middle of the pattern is somehow counterintuitive.


| d d d u U u d u |  (note large U for midbow stress) OR 3-3-1-1

Very similar to Sawshuffle, and very compatible with it, yet it sounds very different, since Sawshuffle is  5/8 sawstroke, and Smoothshuffle is 6/8 slurs... or something like that.  Brad Leftwich also calls it Melvin's Lick, I think he classifies it as a beginning-of-phrase lick.  Tommy Jarrell used SOMETHING similar to it, and Alan Jabbour says that Henry Reed used it.  I used it along with Nashville Shuffle in the mid-70's. It's very balanced as far as being unlikely to cause "bow climb".

Challenge: Only that the 3 note slurs somehow make it counterintuitive for people that like to color within the lines!


| d u u d u u d u |   OR  1-2-1-2-1-1

Very similar to Nashville- really just a rearrangment of it by changing the first slur to a single note and the first single note to a slur.  As you can tell from the name, it syncopates well, and is a natural choice if you want to add some of this flavor.  The fact that it begins with a single stroke gives the downbeat clarity, and it can also be played straight and unsyncopated to take advantage of this.  Very good pattern for players with a loose wrist motion.  Blends well with Nashville, Smoothshuffle, and Sawshuffle. Very balanced, will not cause "bow climb".

Challenges: It can be hard to learn how to phrase it right- the second sawstroke is a downstroke but must be played very gently with just a flick of the wrist or it will be too strong.  It is a bit rough on the wrist if you don't have a flexible bow grip.

Reverse Syncoshuffle-

| d d u d u d d u |   OR 2-1-1-1-2-1

I don't use this myself, but it's obviously a possibility- I just haven't found a use for it yet- anybody else???

Upbow Backbeat Shuffle (???)

|d d u d d d u u |  OR  2-1-3-2

Based on a backwards Georgia Shuffle- note the upstroke on the first backbeat.   I still haven't found a use for it though, but it seems easy enough to do.

Countdown Shuffle (???)

(because of the 3-2-1 length of the first three strokes)

| d d d u u d u u |   OR  3-2-1-2

I think I saw this on a Japanese website that may have gotten ideas from Brad Leftwich.  Still on my "backburner" with no application yet.









7 comments on “Catalog of Shuffles- Part Three- Asymmetrical Patterns”

mudbug Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @2:31:53 AM

Someday, I'll have progressed enough to be able to read and understand what you are saying. It'll be good to know rhat they will be sitting here waiting. Right now, it looks like Greek!

fiddlepLuker Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @3:20:40 AM

mudbug, I feel your pain!

musicsam Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @4:39:54 AM

I've never noticed the alleged "tight rigid feel" of eight sawstrokes. It must be just me though!

I'm sure your pattern is just fine, I just don't see the alleged downside of eight saw strokes. *shrug*

musicsam Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @4:42:38 AM

In my mind, an assymetric pattern would mean that back to back, bow directions would be reversed. I guess that's not the kind of assymetric you mean.

forestabri Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @10:30:15 AM

Could you include the "d u" info like the other posts please? Thanks for posting these.

fiddlepogo Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @2:11:22 PM

Yes, I WILL get to the "d u", but I'll have to put my thinking cap on for it-
it's not quite how I naturally think of it-
I am a downbower, and think like a downbower, so I tend to assume
starting on a downbow for every pattern except Georgia Shuffle.

fiddlepogo Says:
Friday, November 20, 2009 @8:13:36 PM

Musicsam- you inspired a short explanation at the beginning of the symmetric and assymetric pattern sections! Thanks!

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