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Vintage Guitar Magazine Presents:

by Wolf Marshall

Subject: Clapton Bluesbreaker

Fig.1. Slowhand's swinging shuffle. Eric excelled at the moderate to fast shuffle tunes in the Blues Breakers sets. This characteristic phrase takes place over the last five bars of a swinging 12-bar blues in E and conveys some that ingratiating Clapton magic. Though firmly anchored in the 12th position E.C. makes a lot of music. His lines are rhythmically charged, arranged in logical question and answer phrases, and filled with the rolling triplet patterns that inexorably push a shuffle blues groove forward.

The slinky gradual bend and lingering vocalesque vibrato in bar two are trademark Clapton ingredients. The turnaround melody in bars four and five is another gem that seamlessly connects pentatonic blues scale licks with a decisive final arpeggio figure. Turn up your amp for a singing distortion-laced sound on this one and set your guitar controls for a smoother, mid-range-boosted tone.

"I played these E.C. licks with a Gibson re-issue Les Paul Standard and a Fender Cyber-Twin amp. I used the rear pickup for Licks 1 and 2. Lick 3 was played with both pickups engaged. I used the stock "Blues Combo" setting in the Cyber-Twin's amp collection."

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