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Learn Guitar: Eric Clapton Songs - 3 Tips For Your Next Jam Session
Eric Clapton has the magic touch when it comes to presenting a
song. If you want to play Eric Clapton songs on the guitar
there's a couple of things you need to keep in mind to help you
produce Eric's unique sound.
Does Eric's sound come from his Fender guitar? No, Eric Clapton
could make just about any guitar sound great. Eric plays with a
degree of emotion and sensitivity rarely found in rock or blues
The secret to playing Eric Clapton songs is to understand how he
chooses his chords and scales carefully to help him present a
song. Here's ... tips to get the famous Clapton sound.
Tip 1. Use the Aeolian mode in your solos.
While most guitarist are content to play the minor pentatonic
scale in many instances Eric's preference is the Aeolian mode.
The Aeolian mode contains all the notes of the minor pentatonic
with the addition of two extra notes.
Here is some examples:
D minor pentatonic scale = D, F, G, A and C
D Aeolian mode contains = D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C
The significance of the two extra notes is that they create a
very important musical tension. The musical tension is caused by
the distance of a semitone. A semitone is the distance of one
fret on a guitar. When you play the D Aeolian mode on your guitar
notice how there is a between semitone between the notes E and F
and the notes A and Bb.
You can hear a good example of Eric playing a solo based on the D
Aeolian mode if you listen to "Layla" on the Clapton Unplugged
album. In this solo Eric uses a combination of d Aeolian mode and
the D blues scale.
Tip 2. Play power chords for fast chord changes.
When playing fast Clapton songs or songs with fast chord changes
use power chords.
A most popular type of power chord is simply a two note chord
that uses the tonic note and it's fifth. It's quite common to see
these chords indicated as "5" chord e.g., C5, G5, D5 etc
Eric Clapton songs that use this style of chord are Layla (the
original electric version), Sunshine Of Your Love, Cocaine.
Tip 3. Learn to play the 12 bar blues.
Being able to identify a song by recognizing it's form is a vital
part of learning songs quickly.
Here is an example of a 12 bar blues in the key of E.
E /// | A /// | E /// | E ///|
A /// | A /// | E /// |E ////|
B /// | A /// | E /// | E ///||
There's two songs on the Clapton Unplugged album that uses this
exact format. Both "Before You Accuse Me" and "Malted Milk" blues
are based on this 12 bar blues form.
In the hands of an experience performer like Eric Clapton these
simple musical raw materials can be very efective.
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