Cocaine by Eric Clapton – How to Play

CocaineIf you want to learn how to play Cocaine by Eric Clapton, this is a great place to get started.

Cocaine was actually written by J.J.Cale in 1976 and Eric Clapton made it popular in 1977 on his record “Slowhand.” I chose Cocaine because it is very easy to play and dissect, while still containing many of the important points to remember when writing a great song.

Cocaine – Key And Scale

This song is in E Minor Aeolian, which is a mode of the G Major scale.

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
G Major = G, A, B, C, D, E, F#

Eric Clapton uses the Blues scale for all of his guitar playing in this song. The Blues scale is a modified Pentatonic scale and we build a Pentatonic scale by using the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th notes of the Aeolian scale. We omit the second and the sixth notes, leaving us with five notes to choose from and the name “Pentatonic.”

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D

We create the Blues Scale by adding a Blue note that is outside of the Aeolian scale — a note between the fourth and the fifth (a flatted fifth) — to the Pentatonic scale. This Blue note is the only note that is outside the Aeolian scale that is used in this song by any instrument.

E Minor Aeolian = E, F#, G ,A, (A# Blue), B, C, D
E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D
E Minor Blues = E, G, A, A#, B, D

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How to Play Soul Sacrifice by Santana

soul sacrificeIf you want to learn how to play Soul Sacrifice by Santana, this is a great place to get started.

This is the start of a new series of articles in which we choose a song and then break it down harmonically to look at the theory behind it. Though we will show you how to play the song, and there will be tabs and music notation, these are not meant to be note-for-note tabs of the songs. These articles are meant to show you how to play the song, introduce you to music theory, and show you how you might apply it to your own music. This series might also be good for guitarists who are in a cover band and need to play these songs, but want to do it while retaining their own identity and originality. This time we are going to look at the song Soul Sacrifice by Santana.

Written in 1969, Soul Sacrifice was one of the band’s first songs. They performed it the same year at the Woodstock festival in Bethel NY and it was considered by many to be one of the highlights of the entire three day festival. The live performance of this song turned Santana into an instant success. This is an instrumental song loaded with powerful drums and guitars. We are going to look at the studio version of Soul Sacrifice from their debut album “Santana.”

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Differences Between Single Coil and Double Coil Pickups

single coil and double coilLearn not only the technical differences between single coil and double coil guitar pickups, but also why they sound so different.

In order to understand what we are talking about when we say single coil and double coil, we’ll first take a look at the different parts of a pickup and see how they work together to produce a guitar signal. Then we’ll examine single coil and double coil pickups, the differences between them, and why you would want to use each type. We’ll discuss the single coil first because it’s the original type and it has a simpler design. We’ll start with the parts, then move into the ways the single coil and double coil pickups actually work.

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Germanium and Silicon in Fuzz – What’s the Difference?

germanium and siliconGermanium vs Silicon? This is often an intensely debated topic. Learn the difference between these two types of diodes and how they affect your fuzz pedal’s tone.

Let’s talk about the difference between germanium and silicon transistors and what it means to guitar players and audio in general, especially fuzz.

The Fuzz Effect

Fuzz is a type of distortion that guitar players use. It is most often found in an effect pedal and it creates a buzzy tone that is associated with an overdriven amplifier or a torn speaker. Transistors play a vital part in the design of this effect and their germanium and silicon diodes can sound quite different in the final result.

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Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS9 Tube ScreamerThis legendary pedal is used by hundreds of the greatest guitar players out there, including Metallica, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and The Edge

The original Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the most popular and imitated overdrive pedals of all time, and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer reissue is made in the same factory, with the same parts, to get the same tone. This pedal has three controls to help get the tone you need. Continue reading “Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer”

Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive Pedal

electro-harmonix crayonThe Electro-Harmonix Crayon does clean up quite a bit when using the volume knob on the guitar, and it’s also great for plugging into other overdrive pedals.

The Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range pedal is designed to overdrive the full frequency range of the signal, unlike most overdrives which concentrate on the midrange frequencies. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive Pedal”

Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Mini Toggle Switch (DPDT)

mini toggle switchLet’s talk about how to wire up your guitar so that you can split your humbucker pickup using a mini toggle switch.

Why a Mini Toggle Switch?

A humbucker pickup contains two coils, and with a simple modification we can use a switch to “shut off” one of the coils, causing it to sound and act like a single coil pickup. The choice to use a mini toggle switch is purely aesthetic; you can use absolutely any kind of switch that you want to but you will need to modify your guitar to hold it. A mini toggle requires drilling a hole that is less than 1/4 inch and takes up very little space once it is in place.

If you have the type of guitar that requires you to drill a hole through the wood, into the electronics compartment to add a toggle switch, then I recommend taking it to a pro, unless you really know what you are doing. If you’re lucky enough to have a Stratocaster or another type of guitar with those large pickguards that give you access to the electronics by removing them, then you can probably drill a small hole in the pickguard and add the toggle switch yourself if you are very careful and have the tools.

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