You can learn how to play Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream!

Spytunes version of Sunshine Of Your Love is a combination of Cream’s original and Spanky Wilson’s cover.

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 chords are varied by 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 for your own songs becomes easier.


Chords

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 (verse), play the minor blues scale riff.

Intro

||: D | D :|| x4

Verses/Solo

| D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |

| G | G | G | G | D | D | D | D |

Turnaround 1

| A | C G | x3

| A | A | D | D |

Turnaround 2

| 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 |


Solo

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, Eric had 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 on 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 those huge bends since 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 advanced acoustic guitar 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 – Guitar Lessons

You can learn how to play Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream!

Step 1 (Blues scale)Step 2 (10 variations on the riff)Step 3 (Dom7#9 & Turnaround)Step 4 (Complete song)Step 5 (Solo as individual licks)Step 6 (Solo as longer phrases)Step 7 (Complete solo)Step 8 (2nd guitar part).


Sunshine Of Your Love – Lyrics

It’s getting near dawn, when lights close their tired eyes.
I’ll soon be with you my love, to give you my dawn surprise.
I’ll be with you darling soon,
I’ll be with you when the stars start falling.

Go to Sunshine Of Your Love – Lyrics.


Cream – Biography

Cream was a 60s British super group that Eric Clapton joined after his time with John Mayhall and The Bluesbreakers.

Cream’s sound could be described as a hybrid of blues, pop, and psychedelic rock. Hits include Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love, Strange Brew, and White Room.

Go to Cream – Biography.


Ella Fitzgerald – Biography

Ella Fitzgerald released 61 studio albums and 25 live albums between 1936 and 1989. Crowned the First Lady Of Song, she is recognized for performing and recording most of the Great American Songbook.

Before this, she pioneered scat-singing in the 40s as a devoted Bebop singer.

Go to Ella Fitzgerald – Biography.


Eric Clapton – Biography

As well as a member of bands like Derek & The Dominos, The Yardbirds and Cream, Clapton has successfully played sessions for more stars than any other guitar player.

His long career earned him three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Go to Eric Clapton – Biography.


Spanky Wilson – 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.

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