The Chords and Scales
This very common and simple minor rock i–bVII chord progression uses basic power chords.
Since power chords contain no 3rd, there are many scale choices from which to choose. Eric Clapton is very fond of both major and minor pentatonic scales.
C Minor Pentatonic works beautifully over this C5–Bb5 groove. The example solo is played using only the C Minor Pentatonic scale in 8th position (four to six frets starting at the 8th fret).
Clapton breathes life into the notes he plays by using plenty of bends and vibrato, but he rarely uses the pinky of his left hand. Hammer-ons and pull-offs are also big parts of his technique.
One of the most unique things about Clapton’s soloing style is his phrasing and delivery.
His soloing achieves a melodic, vocal quality by taking breaths (rests) between licks and ideas.
The opening four bars can be viewed as call and response (a method of phrasing a lick that resembles a question followed by an answer) using short, tasteful pentatonic licks. Notice that the root note of the Bb chord is being emphasized in bar 4.
Bar 6 contains a descending lick that is made via a pattern sequence (repeating a short idea through a pattern, beginning on a different pattern-note each time).
A nice bending motif (a short rhythmic or melodic figure which repeats) appears in bar 10 and continues on through bar 11. Repeating ideas in this manner helps hold the interest of the listener.
The ascending line in bars 14–16 creates a climactic ending in contrast to most of the previous short melodic phrases. The solo ends on the root of the tonic chord, giving it a sense of completion.