Learn How To Play Sunshine Of Your Love
Chords and Guitar Lessons
Watch These 2 Videos
Complete song & In the course
Using the main riff as a starting point, the chords have sometimes been extended to a dom7#9.
Spanky’s version uses this and since it is Jimi Hendrix’s signature chord, and Jack Bruce wrote this tune on the back of an early Hendrix gig in London, I thought I’d keep that in.
As you watch me play the song, can you see how the riff uses the Blues scale (a Minor Pentatonic, with an added b5)?
Variations on a 12 Bar
Sunshine Of Your Love is a great example of a tune that can be easily jammed with a band.
Rather than the traditional ‘V to IV’ movement of your average 12 bar blues, Sunshine Of Your Love stays on the V chord much longer than usual before it returns to chord I. As we stay on this A chord, we also get a C and G for extra tension.
To keep the arrangement interesting and build tension, the shapes are varied by simply finding different shapes.
This type of approach is more likely to keep a song alive compared with using muscle memory and strict parts. It also makes it more fun to jam with friends.
Perhaps most importantly, if you always play like this, writing parts becomes more natural.
At first glance, you may think this is just a 12 bar Blues on repeat. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll see how the turnaround varies in length.
Here’s a simple bars and beats chart with the chord progression. Instead of D and G, over two bars, play the minor blues scale riff.
||: D | D :|| x4
| D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |
| G | G | G | G | D | D | D | D |
| A | C G | x3
| A | A | D | D |
| A | C G | x3
| A | A7 |
Turnaround 3 (solo)
| A | C G | x3
| A | A7 | D | D | D | D |
Turnaround 4 (end)
| A | C G | x5
| A | A7 | A7 | A7 |
| D | D |
Eric Clapton‘s solo on the original is fantastic. Using huge bends, he manipulates the minor and major thirds, as well as the bluesy b5 better than most.
In the mid-60s when this was recorded, he’d been pronounced a God in his native England. Nobody could believe their eyes as he played lightning-fast blues solo’s to the adoring fans of the London live scene.
Eric’s secret was that he swapped his 3rd string for one that was plain, just like the E and B naturally are. This gave him less tension and the possibility to bend further.
As we learn this on the acoustic guitar, we can’t play the bends as our acoustic strings are still too heavy.
To solve this, the solo has been moved down the neck and instead of massive bends, we switch frets. Somebody should have pointed this out to Eric at the time…
In the course, four steps are spent on achieving this by starting slowly and nailing every single note until it sounds like Clapton played it.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 1
We do this as the riff is based on this very scale. First, we play the scale, then the riff.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 1.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 2
By adding more notes to fatten it up and expression techniques like slides and bends, we can make this sound more or less bluesy.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 2.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 3
We also work on how to play the turnaround in a few ways.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 3.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 4
However, it would be a better idea to look at the fretboard and find the riff in an improvised way, than to focus on the TAB.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 4.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 5
Our mental coach is Mr. Miyagi who will assist us with the wax on, wax off slow-motion learning technique. You can do this!
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 5.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 6
If you have prepared well, playing these five examples will be possible.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 6.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 7
First in two halves at 96 BPM, then the full solo at 108.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 7.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 8
For a 2nd rhythm guitar part, don’t play the riff in the same area as me and keep changing it!
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Step 8.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love Lyrics.
Creams sound could be described as a hybrid of blues, pop, and psychedelic rock. Their hits include Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love, Strange Brew, and White Room.
Go to Cream Biography.
Before the Songbook recordings, Ella pioneered scat-singing in the 40s as a devoted Bebop singer.
Go to Ella Fitzgerald Biography.
Spanky Wilson is an American vocalist best known for her version of Sunshine Of Your Love, by Cream.
Wilson has shared the stage alongside many Soul and Jazz legends, including Marvin Gaye, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy McGriff, and Jimmy Smith.
Go to Spanky Wilson Biography.
The advanced songs require you to learn 7th note chords and modal scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.
Go to Advanced Guitar Course.
Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, Don’t Wait Too Long, I Shot The Sheriff, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, Tears In Heaven, and Wish You Were Here.
Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.
Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
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