Cherokee Shuffle is a great jam standard tune. It’s one of the tunes that seems to be called at jams all over so it’s a great one to get down.
Here’s a basic chart to help with this breakdown – Cherokee Shuffle.
Below are a few samples of some recordings for Cherokee Shuffle.
- Augusta Bluegrass Week Staff Jam
- Josh Williams from the album Down Home
- Bill Keith from the album Beating around the Bush
Scales and practices
Cherokee Shuffle is played in the key of A generally. Practicing the A Major Scale is a good start. I recommend playing the A Major straight through, in “running thirds” and in “skipping thirds”. Playing through the A major arpeggio is a great idea too.
Like most fiddle tunes, Cherokee has 2 main parts and is in the AABB format which means the A part is played twice, then the B part is played twice and repeat. Each part has two endings which means the first time through the part, you’ll play the first ending. The second time through you’ll skip over the first ending and just play the second ending.
Breaking the A part down (and ignoring the pickup), there are basically two parts. Measures 1 – 4 are one part (or A1) and measures 5 – 8 in another (or A2). If you include the second ending as a part, then there’s a third part which is measures 5, 6, 7, and 9 (A3). The complete form for the A section is A1 / A2 / A1 / A3
The same process works for the B part. Measures 10 – 13 are one part (or B1), measures 14 – 19 are another (B2), and the second ending measures 14, 15, 16, 17, and 19 would be another (B3). Note that there are a total of 10 measures in the B part. The complete form for the B section is B1 / B2 / B1 / B3
Knowing the basic chords in multiple positions is a great way to enhance your playing overall. Below are the chords for Cherokee in 2 different positions. Once you get each down, try mixing them up – like playing the Position 1 chords on even measures and Position 2 chords on odd measures and vice versa. A good goal is to be able to shift between the positions whenever you wanted without thinking about it.
If you have questions or want a more thorough breakdown, feel free to contact me regarding my personal coaching.
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