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Learn how to play a slow blues rhythm in a style often used by Eric Clapton.
Tags:Eric Clapton Style Rhythm Guitar Lesson,activemelody,blues music,Eric Clapton guitar lesson,eric clapton style,guitar course,guitar for beginners,guitar lessons,guitar music,play blues on guitar
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Eric Clapton Style Rhythm Guitar Lesson
Hey everyone this Bryan from ActiveMelody.com. In this lesson we’re going to learn how to play a slow blues rhythm guitar part the way that Eric Clapton would approach playing rhythm. Most people show you how to play lead when it comes to Eric Clapton but he has a kind of a unique approach of playing rhythm. If you need to download the jam tracks or the tablature for this lesson, you can do so for free at ActiveMelody.com otherwise let’s get started.
So what I’m doing there, I’m playing just—if you think of the shape here, I’m kind of barring the first two strings and then I’m putting my finger down on the first two strings on the fifth fret. I’m putting my middle finger down on the sixth fret third string and then my ring finger down on the seventh fret fourth sting or the D string and I’m playing kind of an A like that so, I kind of ignoring the lower notes, just really playing the top four stings, and when I do that with my ring finger here, I kind of slide in to the seventh fret D sting or the fourth string as the first note or sort of the bass of it.
Then I kind of do this little hammer-on thing. And so what I’m doing there is, you play the D string and then you bar the top three strings in the fifth fret there and now I’m only playing the B and G sting of the second and third sting, just those two strings but I’m hammering on with my middle finger on to the third strings six fret.
So you got to want to practice that in the beginning just doing that. Just do it over and over again and it will be a little clunky in the beginning but over time you be able to do it. And now once you got that, you’re half way there really. The next thing your going to do is take your ring finger and bar the top three strings on the seventh fret and again you’re only playing the B and the G string or the second and third string, so and then you go back and do that little hammer on again.
So in slow motion it looks lie this. And that’s really that riff. Now the cool thing is once you get that conceptually, you can play it in all kinds of different rhythms, so you can play it—or you can play it like this—and I think how I was doing it in the demo video there and what I’m doing is, I’m kind of doing this real quick little hammer-on, pull-off thing. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. But in the beginning it maybe too challenging to do that little kind of thrill thing so, you may just want to do a straight hammer-on.
All right so if you’re a little more advance player and you feel comfortable with the minor pentatonic scale, you can pepper in some solo licks in between those rhythm pauses. So you could do something like—or whatever you want to do something to fill the space. Now you wouldn’t want to do this all the time if you’re playing with the band. That might be a little bit obnoxious but there is times where I might be nice to kind of work a little something in.
Now if you’re a beginner player and you’re just learning this ignore on what I just said and just focus on trying to get the rhythm, that’s the most important part of this lesson. So that’s the A part of the song. Now, the next chord is the D and so what we do, the nice thing about the guitar is you don’t have to re-learn any sort of shapes or patterns, we just take exactly what we just did here on the, with this being on the fifth fret and we move everything at five frets and we’re in position for the D part of the song.
So everything we just learned applies here and we’re doing it in the key of—we’re still in the key of A but we’re doing it over the D chord. So if you play a D chord, a bar chord that looks like that, so we’re right in position just like with the A bar chord we’re doing that nice and simple. Now in that beginning demo when I return back to the A, I play this little run that got us to the E chord which was that little run and I just made that up, obviously you can do whatever you want there but I’ll show you what I’ m doing for that part so you can at least use that if you want to.
What I’m doing for that is, I’m using my ring finger and my middle finger on my left hand I’m sliding up to the ninth fret here, the first and third string are the E and the G string, so we’re skipping the second string or the B string. It’s just those two. You can see they’re right on top of each other and what I’m doing with the right hand is, I’m using the pick for the third sting or the G string then I’m using my ring finger to hit that high E string, so it’s a kind of a combination of a pick and a finger.
I don’t do that a whole lot but on these kinds of runs I do. Now, you don’t have to do it that way, a lot of people approach this with just a pick, so you pick and go down stroke on that thirds string, an up stroke on the first sting and another down stroke on that third string so you could do it that way as well. It’s really a preference thing, I would recommend trying it with the ring finger, and it might be easier for you but if not just use a straight pick. And so what I do there, that’s the first one, the second one is exact same thing but down and slide everything down two frets to the seventh fret, and by the way slide in to that first one on the ninth fret, you don’t have to but it gives a kind of a nice feel.
And then, I take my ring finger and go to the sixth fret third string and take my pointer finger and go to the fifth fret, first string like that. So we break the pattern a little bit we go to that and then I take that same patter don’t move anything, don’t move the patter but just slide everything down two frets again so it looks like that. So the whole run looks like—and then the last chord is the E chord and for the E chord, remember the D chord was there, the E chord you go up two frets from the D, so same pattern but you’ve move up from where you were at the D.
You move everything up two more frets, so from the A your up seventh frets and then we return back to the A and I’ll play this little—now what I’m doing there is, I’m starting with that same little hammer-on, little bar there on the seventh fret like we learned. Now I slide into that position what I’m doing there, middle finger is on the B string eight fret or the second string and my ring finger is on the ninth fret third string or the G string.
I’m just playing those two strings the second and the third strings so it’s—then I come back and go—and with that I’m just doing that seventh fret bar, fifth fret bar just the second and third string with the both of those back to the seventh fret D sting and then go to that little hammer-on. Then you reach up with your middle finger and close it by hitting this seventh fret, fifth string there or the A string. And you might want to practice doing that over and over again because you would use that.
I use that all the time it’s a good way to end right before the turn around and then while you’re there with that middle finger’s down on the fifth fret or the seventh fret, fifth string it puts you right in place to play that. It’s really an E7 chord and what I’m doing I just leave that in place and I put my first finger down on the sixth fret, fourth string or the D string and I take my ring finger and put it down on the ninth fret, G string or the third string. And I’m just playing those three, the fifth, fourth and third and it should sound like that. And that’s really all there is to this little Eric Clapton’s style of rhythm part.