Soul Man

Learn How To Play Soul Man

Chords and Guitar  Lessons

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Complete song – Electric guitar and live band

Sliding D shapes

As a guitar teacher, one of my favorite things about Soul Man is how it teaches you all the notes on the B string, without actually playing the B string!

It’s such a wonderful contradiction that makes sense, only once you start playing Soul Man.

The intro, chorus and instrumental section all use sliding D shapes, without the root. As the song change key towards the end, you really get a great workout on how to see all those chords, all over the neck.

As if that wasn’t enough, should you play this song live, you might do so following the Blues Brothers version, which is in the keys of E and F.

In the step by step course, I show you several different ways you could play each section, this way you can design your own favorite way to play Soul Man when you eventually play it with the live band backing track.

Chord progression

The verse and outro chorus is vamping on a G and, after the key change, an Ab chord.


G | F | Bb| C D |


F | G | G F | G | C D |


| Eb | Bb | C | D | Eb11 |


Ab | Gb | B| Db Eb |

Guitar Lessons

Soul Man – Step 1

Today we start working on Soul Man by Sam & Dave. This song is, unlike many songs in this course, built around a driving and repetitive guitar riff.

The man behind the guitar part is Steve Cropper, a legendary soul guitarist who was a member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

Go to Soul Man step 1.

Soul Man – Step 2 (Free Preview)

One bar long, that’s all. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Let’s spend half an hour on this one bar of music by digging deep into all its detail.

Go to Soul Man step 2.

Soul Man – Step 3

This lesson is all about the D shape. We’re first going to practice it in three different ways using the cycle of 4th.

This will manifest the D shape all over the fret board and if you haven’t achieved this already, it will teach you all the notes on the B string as well.

Go to Soul Man step 3.

Soul Man – Step 4

In this step, we work on the intro and chorus. They may look very similar at first glance, but there are actually key differences in there.

Saying this, it’s not that much to learn so we also play the verse and chorus on loop.

Go to Soul Man step 4.

Soul Man – Step 5

In this M8 lesson, even though there is a great part to just learn as it is, I would like to encourage you to try different chord shapes for this section.

This is in contrast to the otherwise strict note for note approach this song seemingly craves.

Go to Soul Man step 5.

Soul Man – Step 6

We have arrived at the end of the song and it’s time to change key. It’s similar to the intro, although a semitone up.

If you want to play it note for note, there are some details that are new. We also look at the super simple but clever outro part.

Go to Soul Man step 6.

Soul Man – Step 7

In this lesson, I play the full version of Soul Man in the original key of G.

My aim has been to stay as close to Steve Cropper’s original as possible.

Go to Soul Man step 7.

Soul Man – Step 8

Ok, so now it’s your turn. You already have the TAB, you’ve played along with me, now you’re on your own.

Well, you still have the band to play with!

Go to Soul Man step 8.

Related Pages


Coming to you, on a dusty road
Good loving, I got a truckload
And when you get it, you got something
Don’t worry, ’cause I’m coming

Go to Soul Man lyrics.

Sam & Dave

Sam & Dave are a Soul duo that made their most successful recordings with Stax house band Booker T and The MG’s.

Two years before they would eventually part ways, The Blues Brothers were released in the cinema, the film gave their career one final boost. However, neither Sam or Dave seemed happy about it.

Go to Sam & Dave biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.

Go to Intermediate electric guitar course.

Intermediate Electric Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the electric guitar.

Be My Baby, Can I Get A Witness, Get Ready, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Jimmy Mack, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Money (That’s What I Want), My Guy, Rescue Me, Respect, Son Of A Preacher Man, Soul Man, and You Can’t Hurry Love.

Go to Intermediate electric songs.

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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

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