During the week the intro/chorus riff wormed it’s way into my musical mind, after watching a YT video that explored some of the tricks and magic of Clapton’s soloing in the Unplugged acoustic performance. Followed that up by looking at Justin’s lesson on the intro riff and solo.
Saturday came and it was time to fire up the looper for a second go. I recorded a Dm Bb C Dm loop and had a jam in Dm pentatonic. No attempt to copy the rhythm of of Clapton’s performance or learn to play any of his licks in the solos.
Before I put you to sleep reading, here’s the noodle which may do worse than put you to sleep (Have to apologise up front for the length, I need to have a timer running or I get a bit carried away. It is a little longer than is ideal.) Dreaming of Layla - YouTube
Now for some more about the noodle and at the end of the post, some musical background about the inspirational song, Layla.
Firstly, this was an opportunity to firstly play in a different key. I usually noodle in A and am reasonably comfortable with the notes in the scale and on the neck in that key. Felt a little weird playing up the neck in D minor pentatonic. A signal to do more noodling in different keys.
Secondly, I have focused my deliberate practice on blues lead, which initially focuses on string bending, vibrato, and 5 basic licks from minor pentatonic position 1. Practice is going OK, progress is slow which apart from anything else is to be expected given the frequency and duration of practice (you can check in on that in my #community-hub:what-are-you-learning topic), and using what is learned in practice in the ‘heat of the moment’ is another matter altogether.
So overall my self assessment of this noodle is positive. I have used more of the techniques and experimented with some licks that are at least close to those I’ve been trying to learn than previously. But still can see how the application of the good technique I am trying to learn suffers in the moment.
I realised afterwards that I could have added in the Bb which is not in the D minor pentatonic. Something to think about before commencing a jam … take note of the chord tones and make a point of targeting those notes that are outside the scale when playing over the specific chord.
Was happier with the backing track vs lead tone. I don’t have an Fx Loop on my amp or any other pedals so the tone dialed into the amp is the same for the loop and the jam. I am creating distinction using pickup selection and guitar volume and tone controls. This time I used the split coil feature on the neck pup as well as rolling off volume to clean up the backing tone.
For those of you who only know the song from EC’s MTV Unplugged show and album, this song was originally recorded in 1970 by Derek and the Dominos. The band was formed during a troubled period of Clapton’s career and life post the breakup of Cream and a brief stint with Delaney & Bonnie as a member of the backing band. In this line-up of musicians who regularly play/played with Clapton was Duane Allman, playing slide and lead. The band name chosen purposefully to keep it from being all about Clapton.
The song was part inspired by an Arabian love story that moved Clapton and part by his love for Patti Boyd, then his great friend, George Harrison’s wife.
Personally, I think it is a superb album, including Layla with a fabulous outro instrumental, their rendition of Nobody Knows You and a cover of Little Wing. If you never listened to it and enjoy blues and blues-rock I’d thoroughly recommend giving it a play.