The country shuffle is a very classic feel in country music. It is found all over country records from the late fifties onwards. This kind of groove is also commonly known as the Ray Price shuffle and you can hear a good example of it on his recording, “Invitation to the Blues”. Soloing over this kind of tune is a lot of fun because everything usually moves very predictably and it allows you to target all of the chord changes with ease.

The first lick begins with a very classic country opening line. I use hybrid picking to hit the note on the high e string with my middle finger while playing the rest of the first bar with my pick. In the second bar I am picking the bent notes and using my middle finger to pick the fretted notes. The third and fourth bars feature pre bends that I pick with my middle finger. I occasionally add a muted pick before these kinds of prebends on the sixteenth note before the bend. It can give the line a bit more rhythmic interest.

The second idea starts with a descending line where I am using my middle finger to again pick the high e string. The rest of the lick is pretty self explanatory. The last two bars follow the same technique as the first lick with the pick hitting bends, middle finger hitting the fretted note, and the middle finger hitting the pre bend.

The third lick is the most difficult of the five. This one begins with a sweep up and arpeggio to the high G. The first bar is something I hear a lot in Charlie Parker and many other bebop players. The second bar is where the more difficult sections start with a double stop bend. In this bar, you bend the G string while keeping the B string fretted. These kind of bends can be hard to keep in tune. I often have the tendency to bend the B string slightly on accident so make sure you are not like me and keep everything in tune. The last two bars of the lick are a common pedal steel emulation bend. On these, you keep the A and D strings fretted and bend the G string up a whole step. Like the previous bend, this can also take some time to master and play in tune.

The fourth lick is something I learned from my transcription of a Duke Levine solo. I loved the way he started he solo using a half step bends to hit his intended note. In this lick using the half step bend helps make the two G notes that happen in the first bar sound slightly different and it helps make the lick a bit more interesting.

The last lick is one that I have stolen and used as an ending over songs like this more times than I can count. It’s a classic pedal steel ending straight off a Buck Owens record and I find it also fits pretty well on guitar. I use a lot of hybrid picking on this one. All of the double stops and the two ending chords are all played with the middle and ring fingers (the pick takes the lowest note on the final chords).

Here are some other country shuffle recordings to get even more ideas from:

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