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Lyle Ronglien >> Rock Legends >>


Clapton Lesson Sample

Lyle: In this lesson I will put the spotlight on Grammy award winning guitar legend Mr. Eric Clapton. Since the 1960s he has been a major inspiration and influence on countless guitar players all over the world. He played some of the world's most signature guitar riffs in bands like The Yardbirds, The BluesBreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and his own solo career. Eric Clapton is the only person to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3 times (as a member of both The Yardbirds and Cream as well as a solo artist). Many of EC's musical influences come from the long line of blues guitar legends (check out BLUES LEGENDS CD-ROM series at the Riff Interactive store).

Lyle: He plays many Gibson electric guitars as well as Fender Strats to which he has his own signature model. When he plays acoustic guitar, you'll mostly see him playing a Martin. The main thing about his sound and technique, in my opinion, is that EC plays so smooth and never over-plays whether it be on acoustic or electric. He always seems to play the right note at just the right time. He uses many different sounds and effects on his electric guitar which I'm sure inspires him to play or take a different approach to a new song or solo. After I spent a couple hours listening and jamming along to "The Best Of Clapton"  CD, I made up this lesson to help show you riffs in both acoustic and electric styles with riffs that I hope you find bluesy, rockin' and most of all full of style and taste like the great EC.

Lyle: You'll be learning how to play the lesson sample from above. First you'll learn the acoustic section of the lesson. Here are the chords used:

chord chart - acoustic jam

Lyle: Be sure to play the audio portion of the TAB so you can hear how these chords lay out in the progression. Here's a jam track for the acoustic part:

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: Here's a fancy way of playing the chords using a cool strum pattern in the style of EC:

acoustic rhythm riff

Lyle: Next you'll learn the acoustic solo from the lesson sample. Learn these notes and locations for the E major pentatonic and that will make it easier to learn the acoustic solo.

Lyle: Since the progression is in the key of C#m, and using chords that are all related to the key of E major, (C#m is the relative minor of E maj ) I used the E major pentatonic scale to improvise with. The notes for both the C#m pent and E maj pent are the same, but it's where you address the root as you make up riffs that creates the desired sound. Confused yet?  ;-)

Lyle: Here's the first half of the acoustic solo:

Lyle: Here's the second half of the solo:

 acoustic solo

PG: Are scales the most important thing to learn in order to master the guitar?

Lyle: I don't think so. To master the guitar is to master everything, the physical and theory part of all styles, not just soloing with scales.

Lyle: If you only mastered scales you might be weak in other areas like rhythm, improv, composition, playing and mastering different styles of music etc. Many of your favorite guitar legends may have seemed to have mastered the guitar, but if you have a chance to ask them how they mastered it, they might say they are still trying. There is so much to learn about music in general, and to apply it to guitar is what it's all about for us pickers.

Lyle: Let's look at the rockin' side of Clapton's style. Here's the chords you'll use in the rock part of this lesson:

chord chart - electric jam

Lyle: Here's a jam track for this groove:

Looping Sound Clip 2

Lyle: Now you're in the key of E minor. The solo uses notes from this scale. Learn the basic riffs and patterns from this next TAB:

Lyle: Now you're using the E minor pentatonic scale for the riffs and you'll notice they sound "bluesier' than the E major pentatonic. Here's the first half of the solo:

Lyle: Once you have these riffs down, learn the second half of the solo:

electric solo

Lyle: After you have learned all these riffs in both solos, I suggest you listen to some of your favorite Clapton songs, you might just hear some of these riffs or riffs that sound like them.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. If you're interested in learning any of your favorite riffs or songs by Clapton let me know, I can teach them to you in a private lesson. Email me at to get more info. Thanks - Lyle

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