Shuffle Bass

Shuffle Bass

Beginning Shuffle Bass for Solo Piano

The shuffle bass is a left hand accompaniment pattern that is commonly used with the 12 bar blues. Many of our adult piano students enjoy learning this pattern and applying it to pieces in their blues repertoire. The shuffle bass pattern: Root-5-6-5-b7-5-6-5 can be used with each of the chords used in a traditional blues (I-IV-V).

The shuffle bass, like the beguine bass continues to be one of the most reliable and consistent tools that we use to help our students keep their piano playing flowing, rhythmic and upbeat. Some students have applied these patterns as part of their performances in our piano recitals.These patterns will help make your piano playing upbeat and exciting.

Although the notes in the examples below are written as 8th notes, you will want to play them as jazz 8th notes.This means that you will need to play the Shuffle Bass patterns with a swing feeling for them to work with this style of music.


Example No. 1 – Shows the Root-5-6-5-b7-5-6-5 shuffle bass pattern used with both the C6 and the F6 Chords.
Note: This left hand pattern works whether the chord symbol is C, C6, C7 or C9; it does NOT work for Cmaj7.


Example No. 2 – Shows the Root-5-6-5-6-5-6-5 shuffle bass for one chord in one measure and Root-5-6-5-6- Root-5-6-5-6 used for two chords in a measure.


Example No. 3 – Shows the Root-5-b7-5-b7-5-b7-5 for one chord in one measure and Root-5-b7-5- Root-5-b7-5 used for two chords in a measure.


Download the sheet music for the arrangement of Sentimental Journey that is featured in our Shuffle Bass for Piano YouTube video.

Shuffle Bass music theory handout

Ready to start making music?

Take a look at information on our Piano Lesson Programs.