How to play guitar like Eric Clapton

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On his 13th birthday, Eric Clapton was given an acoustic guitar - but he found the instrument so difficult to get to grips with that he almost gave up.

Thankfully, he persevered, and his rise to fame began in 1963 when he joined The Yardbirds. He played on their first big hit For Your Love, but disliked the band's new 'pop' direction and left. His next move was to John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, recording the famous 'Beano' album. His audience was so impressed that the graffiti slogan 'Clapton Is God' began to appear all over London.

Our examples recall Eric's style in the mid to late '60s. Though the tone is more distorted than the previous players in this series, it's crucial not to overdo it. Eric was using non-master volume Marshalls around this time and all the sustain and overdrive was due to sheer volume - much to the horror of studio engineers of the day! If you're using single-coil pickups, boost the bass, mid and gain a little and you'll get close to the tone.

To be authentic, pay attention to details like vibrato and the swing triplet feel, as well as the more dazzling pentatonic stuff.

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