Guitar Techniques - - Clapton’s Robert Johnson Album Learning Zone -

[Com­plete Solo – Bars 0- 4] We es­tab­lish a cou­ple of themes in th­ese open­ing bars that we’ll re­visit through­out the solo. We’re es­sen­tially look­ing at A Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic (A C D E G) against A7 (A C# E G), with an ad­di­tional 6th (F#) in bar 4. The C against C# rub is dealt with by bend­ing this note slightly sharp, us­ing what’s known in the trade as a ‘blues curl’. [Bars 5- 8] Th­ese phrases are less scalar-based and are more de­rived from a dec­o­ra­tion of the un­der­ly­ing ar­peg­gio or chord-tones. We see all three chords here, so it’s im­por­tant that you ac­knowl­edge both their po­si­tion (IV, I, V, I) and their con­tent (IV/D7: D F# A C, I/A7: A C# E G, V/E7: E G# B D). Take note of the chro­matic 9th (E) to root (D) move in bars 4 and 5, along with the abun­dance of mi­nor-to-ma­jor-3rd moves in the fol­low­ing bars. [Bars 9-12] There’s a cool switch to E Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic in bar 9 here (E G A B D), fol­lowed by more em­bel­lished chord tones against D7. We bring this cho­rus to a close with a chordal-based turn­around that no doubt orig­i­nated on acous­tic gui­tar, but works equally ef­fec­tively with a mod­er­ately over­driven elec­tric tone.

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