Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >

Buffle Off to Shuffalo

Intro and Performance

Greetings People of Sonic Junction!

Dennis Gruenling here with my new study piece "Buffle Off To Shuffalo". If you can guess by the title, this is a shuffle, and more specifically a backwards Box Shuffle groove. One of the most important aspects of being a good musician, is your sense of timing and rhythm. This piece is loaded with rhythmic chops to get you in the groove and start thinking more about practicing your rhythm playing. Remember, you can't play your licks, riffs, or solos strongly on the beat, let alone swing them ahead or behind of the beat, until you know for sure exactly where that beat is. The best way to work on your sense of timing is to practice playing rhythm. This song has plenty of rhythm playing in between the licks, and also has a section devoted to playing rhythm behind the guitar solo. So grab your C harmonica and get ready to Buffle Off To Shuffalo in 2nd Position!

- Dennis Gruenling



Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
C Harp
Key of G
Dennis Gruenling
Dave Gross
Buffle Off To Shuffalo

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

C Harp in the Key of G.

Loop 0:00 Intro to Buffle Off to Shuffalo

Loop 2:06 Whole Performance

Loop 2:06 First Chorus

Loop 2:34 Second Chorus

Loop 3:00 Third Chorus

Loop 3:27 Fourth Chorus

Loop 3:54 Fifth Chorus

Loop 4:21 Sixth Chorus

Loop 4:48 Seventh Chorus

Loop 5:14 Eighth Chorus





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Tor Arvid Tveit
Tor Arvid Tveit Sep 13, 2020

Hey Dennis! This is my take on "Buffle off to Shuffalo on a rainy sunday afternoon i Norway. I have had much struggle with the tripplets in second verse, and the timing in the guitar solo. I think I have improved much in the timing bit, but nailing those tripplets seems to be a life long quest :-). Sorry for the terrible sound quality, I have plans for an uppgrade in tchnical equipment. 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 13, 2020

Nice job, thanks for uploading this! First of all, I appreciate your effort with this, I can tell you worked on piecing this together. Nice work! 

For the timing with triplets and a few of the more complex phrases, I would just suggest practicing it slowed down a little bit. You can play at this speed, but working on the exact timimg and nuances sometimes can help if you do it slower at first just to make sure you can get it all down correctly and then take it more full speed once the phrasing and timing is down. It may feel like you're taking a step back doing that, but it is actually taking it to the next phase of your playing that way.

The only other thing I would say right now is the 3 draw should be bent a half-step most of the time in this song. Sometimes you bend it, but most times it is just not bent quite enough. But that is just working on bending, which is something you can do in small doses every day.

GOOD WORK - thanks!!

Tor Arvid Tveit
Tor Arvid Tveit Sep 15, 2020

Thank for the input, Dennis!

Yes practising each lick and verse at lower speed is definately something I will do more of. It will help me figure out both rythmic stuff like triplets, but also to nail the bends.

Thanks again! Sonic Junction is the best tool for those who wants to improve their blues harmonica skills

Andy Edwards
Andy Edwards Aug 31, 2020


Thank you my friend.!!!!! Much appreciated 🙏

wow! another great reason to spend a little extra to get a lot extra!

AWSOMENESS.!!!!!! 👍🕺🏼

andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Aug 31, 2020

Yes !! if you use a PC ... there s 3 signs up to your right ... and it s the "play" bouton 

Andy Edwards
Andy Edwards Aug 31, 2020

Is there a backing track for Buffle off to Shuffalo??


Gagi Nov 05, 2019

andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Nov 05, 2019

very , very good Gagi !! 

Gagi Nov 05, 2019

Nice to hear from you Andre! Please visit on my YouTube channel  "G Harp Monday" 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 15, 2019

again Gagi - GREAT work with this! Just saw your work on Lookin' Sharp and this is another great one!

Same feedback, you are doing very good with the phrasing, notes and techniques...the BEST thing you can do now for your playing and for your tone and overall sound is to play softer. Less breath and less volume. It will help the notes ring out better, the octraves be more in tune, and also help your harps last longer. Very good work!!

klaus meyer
klaus meyer Aug 10, 2018

New attempt:

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Aug 12, 2018

Very good, real nice work on this song! Much of this was spot on, nice job! A few places, the only critique would be to get a cleaner articulation and more of a scoop/dip on some of the notes, or smoother phrasing in some of the end choruses, but very nice work on it, and I can tell you put some time into!!

klaus meyer
klaus meyer Aug 04, 2018

Thank's Dennis, its a great piece of work ! It's very good to practice Rhythm and Breath control..Saludos from Tenerife..

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Aug 04, 2018

Thank You!! Yes, it is very important to practice rhtyhm playing which will help you learn to keep better time if you do it often and correctly! 

klaus meyer
klaus meyer Aug 03, 2018

In Progress:

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Aug 03, 2018

Great work!! Nice timing and articulation with the rhythm, really good!!

Terry Church
Terry Church Dec 08, 2016

Thank you, Dennis!  I still can't believe how well this SJ setup works with a teacher as helpful as you. Nevertheless, I hereby resolve not to bother you with every dumb off-topic question that comes into my head--though it's a temptation, having access day and night to an expert who posts back within the hour!  Your reply was very very helpful.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 08, 2016

Thanks! Happy to help, that's what I'm here for. Although some days I'm busy doing other lessons, microphone work, gigs, recording, or my radio show (like today). Some days I truly run on "musician's time"...hahaha!!

Terry Church
Terry Church Dec 07, 2016

Thanks, Dennis.  I'm AMAZED at how quickly you replied.  Don't want to keep you answering silly questions all day, but it seems like if you lift your tongue off the harp with a U groove, you get a different chord from the one you'd get lifting your tongue off from a tongue block.  Doesn't that affect the overall sound significantly?  

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 07, 2016

Completely and totally! That is part of the point of want the chord you play (when lifting the tongue) to be made up of the lower notes. This is for the sound and tuning of the chords. If you "imitate" that rhythmic style while U-blcoking (or by opening your pucker while puckering), it is indeed a different chord, which will not sound the same...and the higher you go, the worse this will be with the tuning of the instrument for the draw notes. In no way am I recommending that someone does these things with puckering (lip-blocking) or with U-blocking, but I wanted to state that some people do this. It is not the same technique, nor the same result. 

And I happened to be at my computer working on some other projects, so I was able to asnwer's all about the timing :-) haha Thanks!

Terry Church
Terry Church Dec 07, 2016

Hi Dennis,

Just ran into Norton Buffalo's "Shuffalo" and now I see how witty your title really is!  But since Buffalo was a confirmed U blocker, how do you think he pulled off that tremendous shuffle rhythm w/o tongue blocking (except for TB octaves obviously)?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 07, 2016

Actually, my title was just a play on being a "backwards Box Shuffle" pattern, so I "backwardized" that common phrase Shuffle Off To Buffalo ...I don't ever recall hearing Norton Buffalo's tune, though he was a fine player!

You can imitate the tongue-blocked shuffle rhythm with a "U" or "Lip" block technique (puckering) but the attack and the chords are not the same by nature of those techniques. You can pull back the tongue with U-blocking, and can open and close the pucker while puckering (aka lip-blocking), but it does not give you the same results rhythmically or musically...although U-blocking will sound closer since the attack will be closer.


David brant
David brant Jul 25, 2016

Hi Dennis

I am having great fun learning this lesson!

one thing I'm having trouble with is that I'm filling up with air, any tips on when best to expel this?


Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jul 29, 2016

The top two tips here:

- breathe in less air, this takes practice but will help big time!

- work on releasing a little "extra" air when you exhale (either through your mouth or nose)

 With a little practice these will both become a lot easier.


Mike Ziemba
Mike Ziemba Jul 08, 2016

Dennis, I have really enjoyed your lessons, they have had a big impact on my playing!

Is there any chance of a Blues Chromatic series from you on Sonic Junction? that would be so awesome..


-Mike Ziemba

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jul 09, 2016

Thanks so much Mike! I believe at some point we will do this, I have a few ideas that would work well in this lesson format. 

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jul 08, 2016

Hi Dennis,

This sounds like a real getting down to basics lesson.  When you say, "The best way I know to improve your timing is to work on playing rhythm," and then you design a set of lessons to do exactly that with a really fun piece that also gives a load of really cool licks to learn, I say that's why I keep subscribing to this site.  I've spent the week working on getting the first three choruses wired into my brain and starting to work out the notes and phrasing.  Really looking forward to getting into the details.Best,


ps - Could we get the rhythm track up soon?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jul 08, 2016

Thanks Bill! It is getting back to basics in a way, because your timing and sense of rhythm is a basic musical foundation...but very few players work at it and get good at it. It is SO important not just if you want to play rhythmically, but because everything you do musically (at least in this type of music) is based around a groove. And to play in the groove, or swing ahead or behind the beat, means you need to have a good sense of timing and rhythm which really comes from working on playilong in time rhythmically. No way around it. 


Glad you enjoy this!!

Boyd R
Boyd R Jul 02, 2016

Nice lesson to

much guitar. Can't hear harmonica very will

Tominou Jul 03, 2016

Hello Boyd, it's true for me. But I discovered that if you move the Left/Right balance of your device you're able to make the guitar shut down as you like, each instrument has his own way. If it can help anyone.... :)

Paul W
Paul W Jul 02, 2016

Dennis, you've been one busy dude!  Thanks for the lesson!


Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jul 08, 2016

Yes, haha, on the road as we speak. I have met a few of you on the road and so glad to see you when I'm on tour. Thanks for coming up and introducing yourselves when you come see me. Always keeping busy with something...!

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