Blues Soloing: Outlining The Changes Without Shifting Positions

February 25, 2015

In this lesson we take a look at how to solo over a blues by changing scales along with the chord changes while staying in the same position on the fretboard. We'll be using the Cream classic "Sunshine of Your Love" as our example tune. 

The famous "Sunshine of Your Love" riff is based on the D Blues scale, shifting up to the G Blues scale on the IV chord and going to the V chord (A5) for the chorus. The solo is played over the same changes. You could just blast through it using any combination of D Blues/Minor/Major Pentatonic but outlining the changes makes you sound like you know your stuff, and is a great device to keep things melodically tight especially if you're playing this tune in a three-piece where no one's playing the chords.

We'll use the "Eric Clapton" pentatonic box as our home base. Feel free to bring in the b5 from the D Blues scale and the Major 3rd from the D Major Pentatonic scale, although if you're not used to changing scales on the fly, you may just want to stick with D Minor Pentatonic

When the chord changes to G7 we're going to integrate the following G Blues scale pattern. Aim to land on the G on the 12th fret when the chord changes for a nice effect and superimpose the new pattern.

When the chord goes back to D7 simply fall back on the Eric Clapton Pentatonic Box above and get ready for the V chord (A5)!

When you sense the V chord coming get ready to grab the nearest A note, and superimpose the following pattern.

Tips: If this is your first go at playing over changes then take it slow, give yourself enough time to locate the next pattern and the note you want to land on. Feel free to map out the other patterns but you'll find that these patterns give you more than enough notes to get started with.

Here's a great backing track to practice your soloing over:

About the Author:
Graham Tippett has been playing for over 20 years and writes extensively about all things guitar over at

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