Eric Clapton Style
|What you learn:
Part 6 - Acoustic Era
Storm: In this lesson you'll be focusing on
Eric's acoustic guitar style. A lot on his
'unplugged' playing, but you can find Clapton playing acoustic blues a bit
throughout his career, all the way back to his Blues Breakers days. The intro music contains some of
tonight's licks and a jam track to play along with will come after
Intro Acoustic Solo (988k)
Storm: A bit more focus on the acoustic blues
tonight, but with time permitting I will hand out a other style riffs as
Clapton Jam Track
Storm: The backing riff and solo are in the key
of E. Here are some simple chord voicings to
strum along with. Riffs in a second.
backing riff is easy.
Storm: Good. The solos use some more advanced
stuff. The backing riff is a 'boogie woogie'. Similar riff to many blues
tunes, like Clapton's 'Before You Accuse
Me.' Move the riff over a set of strings for
the 'A' chord change in bars 5-6 and later in bar 10. This backing track is a
12-bar blues, don't you know.
Here is the riff for the B7 change in bar
Storm: Here is the opening riff for a
solo. It is a Clapton favorite when playing acoustic. Double stop
Storm: This riff outlines the E7
chord. Here is the 3rds pattern moving through
the Mixolydian 'mode'. The Mixolydian is sometimes called the dominant scale,
the scale to fit the 7th chord. These double stops sound great on acoustic. Nice
Notice also the bass note underneath in the lick. Clapton would use a couple of
different right hand positions to allow him to play melody and bass notes
Fingerstyle Right Hand
Henry: Did he used bybrid picking as well ?
Yes, Holding the pick and sneaking in the fingers.
First is standard 'Fingerstyle' right hand position.
Henry: How does someone like Clapton convert the
original to acoustic was it a hard thing to due musically or does he basically
use the same notes.
Storm: I think you have to
consider the electric has more sustain so Clapton's acoustic playing has more of
a chordal quality, in general. Keeps it more full. This fingerstyle position holds the
thumb on the low bass note and uses the index, middle and ring fingers to grab
notes on the melody strings. Here I am holding the 3rd, 2nd and 1st
homeboy: Do you have a quick explanation of what "3rds
over E7" means?
Storm: 3rds are an interval, a distance between
two notes of the scale. Both notes stay in the same scale so the shapes change
to fit the key. Try to memorize the pattern and make up your own
licks. Here is another
If you chose to put in bass notes, a bit of palm muting can help keep them from
over-powering the licks you are trying to play. It is a cool sound, one-man band
kind of thing. The 4th fret-3rd fret notes are out of
the pattern but move chromatically to the next combination in the
pattern. Here's a video of both licks
licks over E7 (652k)
Storm: Another right hand technique to try is
the 'Brush Stroke.'
Storm: Here you use, again, the thumb for the
bass notes. But using your index finger on an upstroke to catch the melody or
Moving to the A chord the 3rds pattern changes. This same set of notes up two
frets would work for the B7 chord.
Here are some other chord voicing to learn for E7. Clapton will use these,
either full or picking notes from them, to move around the neck in his acoustic
Here is a lick using one of these voicings. Works well as a turnaround,
Heathk: What lick do you use when
the chord swaps to B7?
Storm: I actually play the last measure of the
'3rd over A' lick up two frets. I have heard Clapton use that from his Yardbirds
days right up to Unplugged. Speaking of turnarounds...
Storm: Hope this series on the Eric Clapton
Style has inspired you and taught you new things. Thanks and feel free
to email me through the website if you have further questions. www.guitarteacher.com - Storm