Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce was the songwriting talent and low end grunt behind supergroup Cream.

The best of Cream

The Cream of Cream DVD

Gibson EB3

Two BLOGoZONs in one this week - the first a very detailed look at the construction of Sunshine of Your Love by Cream and the second half examines three notes per string BLUES SCALE box shapes.

Sunshine of your love

This BLOGoZON is a reverse engineeering look at that great blues based song Sunshine of Your Love by Cream.

As a blues-based supergroup the obvious thing to start any Cream song with is the standard twelve bar blues chord progression and this is detailed for the key of D major in the diagram that follows:-

D twelve bar blues

For an experimental band like Cream this sequence is too bland by half and therefore requires some re-jigging to make it worth listening to - this was achieved by employing the MIXOLYDIAN SEVENTH chord substitution technique.

The table that follows shows all of the scale chords for the CYCLE OF FIFTHS - i.e. major scales that accumulate sharp notes one at a time.

In the table below the in-key DIMINISHED chord has been replaced with the chord produced when the mixolydian mode (with the same root note) is harmonised - for example G mixolydian's seventh chord is F major and this replaces the F#dim.

Mixolydian seventh substitutions

This mixolydian derived major chord SUBSTITUTES for the chord played on beat 3 of each and every bar (measure). The alternative way to view this is that two twelve bar blues sequences (in the keys of D major and C major) have been merged into one homogenius mass.

D twelve bar with mixolydian seventh substitutions

This sequence sounds good but it still feels too much like a standard twelve bar so more reworking is needed. How about we double-up the length of time spent on each chord and only use the mixolydian substitution in the first bar/measure - leaving the expected chord to ring for a whole-note duration in the extra bar/measure. Additionally the chords in the first measure should be played for staccato eighth-notes and accented. The result is a 24 bar/measure blues sequence shown below:-

Darkness on my hatred

Still this sounds too bluesy and requires an injection of psychodelia with the aid of a three chord progression. These six bars/measures will take the place of the first three-quarters of the 24 bar blues' turnaround.

Three chord trick substitution

Cohrd Progression No.33

This repeated three chord progression is derived from the harmonised D major scale (again using a mixolydian seventh chord substitution in the form of a C major - which replaces an in-key C#dim). The table that follows details all of the three chord progressions for D major with a mixolydian seventh substitution.

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Three Chord Tricks

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The previous table shows Progression No.33 in numerical order but the actual sequence used is variation number four - as highlighted in the next table.

Progression No.33

The relevent section of the previous table is enlarged below:-

Enlarged Progression No.33

Replacing three-quarters of the turnaround with three repeats of Progression No.33 (variation four) results in the tab below - all that is needed now is a cool guitar/bass riff based around the blues scale.

Darkness of my hatred with Progression No.33

Standard 6E4E1 and 5A3 barre chord shapes can be used to play the blues sequences above - these are shown in the diagrams that follow:-

Chord shapes

However the actual shapes used by Eric Clapton are detailed below - these fingerings are still only variations of the 6E4E1 and 5A3 barre chord shapes that can be moved around the neck more easily for chord riffs.

A and E chord shapes

If only the root notes of the chords are considered the notes used for the riff come from the D blues scale where the intervals being played are 1 ,1, b7, 1, 5, b5, 4, 1, b3, 1. Vibrato is used on the minor third to emphasise the major/minor ambiguity.

D blues scale

The interval sequence 1 ,1, b7, 1, 5, b5, 4, 1, b3, 1 is repeated over the G chord but this time drawing from the G blues scale as shown below.

G blues scale

A blues scale 3 notes per string box shapes

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5th start pdf

b7 start pdf

Root atart pdf

b3rd start pdf

4th start pdf

b5th start pdf

5th start at 12 pdf

  • 5th
  • b7th
  • 1st
  • b3rd
  • 4th
  • b5th
  • 5th at 12

5th box

b7 start box

1st start box

b3rd start box

4th start box

b5th start box

5th start at 12 box

Jack Bruce

I'll stay with you 'till my seeds are dried up
....Zon Brookes

Cream at the BBC

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