How to Play “Sunshine of Your Love” on Guitar

Cream’s classic track Sunshine of Your Love defined the word heavy in its day, with a blend of Eric Clapton’s masterful blues guitar turned up to “11,” soulful vocal by the late bassist Jack Bruce and african-influenced drumming by the notorius Ginger Baker.

Sunshine of Your LoveThe inspiration for Sunshine of Your Love came from the time that Clapton and Bruce went to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience play. Bruce went home after the show that night and wrote what are arguably one rock and roll’s catchiest riffs.

The song’s primary riff and chords are constructed around a standard blues in D. eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method users will already know how to play the full bar chord and blues scale fingerings needed for the song.

In fact, those users even have a “Blues Riff in D” they learned in one of the guitar lessons that gets them most of the way there for mastering the song’s main riff.

However, if you don’t know these chords, the video links below will demonstrate them by using the interactive Chord Dictionary that comes with eMedia Intermediate Guitar Method.

How to Play Sunshine of Your Love on Guitar

  1. Grab the chords and TABs here.
  2. Watch this video to learn the chords.
  3. Listen and watch Cream play it.
  4. Watch this to see a video that does a good job of showing the basics of the guitar part, including the lead. Note that in the verses he plays the G and F chords as moveable A style barre chords at the 10th and 8th frets respectively. If you wish to do this, simply use the C chord fingerings you saw in the video for item 2 above and move it to the 10th fret for G, and the 8th fret for F. Clapton played it both ways depending on the performance.
  5. The bass part is here, so you can get that heavy Cream sound happening with any bass buddies you might have.

HINT: Open the TABs/chords in a separate window in your browser from the videos so you can see them both!

Eric with GUitar

GUITAR NOTES: Clapton’s Cream period was where he first started experimenting with more varied guitar tones. This was probably influenced by Hendrix (as most british guitarists were at the time) and the palette of sonic possibilities that these new pedals offered. For this track, Clapton used his Marshall amps, a wah-wah pedal, and a wildly-painted Gibson SG (dubbed “the fool guitar”). The SG was played using the front pickup to create a warm, singing tone that he referred to as his “woman tone.” Another interesting bit of information, is that he starts his guitar solo by quoting the melody of the standard Blue Moon (here sung by Rod Stewart with Clapton on acoustic guitar).

Learn How to Play Classic Rock Guitar Songs the Easy Way!

eMedia Masters of Rock GuitarCheck out eMedia Masters of Rock Guitar to learn note-for-note versions of more classic guitar songs. Learn the Jimi Hendrix solo from All Along the Watchtower and that Slash solo from Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. eMedia’s Animated Fretboard lets you see the bending strings, vibratos, slides and other techniques that are hard to see on standard guitar videos. Plus eMedia’s Performance Evaluation technology listens to your playing and lets you see any notes that were played incorrectly in your performance. Blues fan? Make sure to see eMedia Masters of Blues Guitar. 

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