Sunshine Of Your Love

This classic riff might be a bit difficult, but it’s a great challenge and beginner workout!

View the full lesson at Sunshine Of Your Love | JustinGuitar

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I have no problem of feeling the rhythm and playing the riff (even along with the song), but I find it hard to count. Is this something that I should specifically focus on improving?

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My personal feeling especially at this stage is to not worry too much about the count. It may become more important later on and when it does you have something basic to go back to and it will be easier.

Playing great music is not about the maths but about how it sounds and feels. Well done getting thus far.

I find these riffs so much easier to play without a pick, it’s a lot easier to go between strings (I did a few years’ guitar earlier in a haphazard sort of way, now going back to work on the basics). I guess it’s best to keep trying with the pick though and hopefully it will improve.

I love this riff and the inclusion of riffs in general at this early stage of the course. It’s good to have some variety and these really help you feel like you’re on the right path.


Not sure why but I found it quite easy even moving it to string 4.
Perhaps I am old enough to remember when the song when it first came out, I was still at school and Cream where the BAND!!!

Audibly counting the beat proved to be incredibly difficult, which I thought was fascinating since I had no challenge maintaining rhythm, even at higher BPM. I think it’s the challenge of multitasking, or just making what was innate a manual task, like with consciously breathing.


Hello @camjn and welcome to the Community.

For riffs like this Justin will show and explain the count, but in actual play time it comes down to feel … with the caveat that you need to start on the right beat.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | Community Moderator, Official Guide, JustinGuitar Approved Teacher

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I just discovered that the last note can be played open on the same string, it’s a D, same as the fifth string fifth fret

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Welcome to the forum Ray. You just discovered how a guitar is tuned.
The 5th fret on the E A D G and e string are the some note as the next string. This is because a guitar is tuned in 4ths. The B string is different, it’s tuned to a 3rd.
The 6 strings are E A D G B E at the 5th fret they ar A D G C E A

I’m having a bit of trouble with my 6th string, it’s buzzing like crazy, even if I press very hard, but sometimes it doesn’t.
I see Justin is pressing the 6th string right on the frets, while he usually follows his own advice to press beside the fret; is there a reason for this?

Question- Justin doesn’t address whether to avoid touching strings that aren’t going to be played. Do we need to practice this riff being sure to not touch any string other than the intended? I guess this question applies to riffs in general- to only touch the intended strings, or not?

Hi Stacy,
In general it is a good quality to mute the strings that you are not playing by placing fingers gently on or against them…whether or not in combination with the palm of your picking hand…I don’t dare to say with certainty how that is learned from the beginning, … maybe someone will correct me…

Hello @stancamente and welcome to the Community.

That is likely to be due to the set up of your guitar, perhaps the action is too low and / or the truss rod has been adjusted too much making the neck too straight rather than having a little bit of back bow. If you have no idea what any of that means then please go to here for further help.

Pressing very hard is not what is needed - to overcome buzz or for any other reason. It is a bad habit and will make your chords and notes sound slightly out of tune - and cause strain on your hand and fingers.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Moderator, Guide & Approved Teacher

I am enjoying the rest of these lessons so far. But I have to be honest. It surprises me that they include any of these riff lessons in the beginner courses. It seams they should all be in the advance/advanced section. They are a totally different way to play the guitar than the other lessons. You basically have to memorize the song and learn to pluck certain strings! Two totally different things than what we’re doing otherwise. I’m just going to skip them for now. Wish they’d at least add them as songs in the phone app, so I can see the cords to play in time.

I find them very useful to also learn some individual note picking. Because it is completely different than playing a chord I think it’s very useful to include them. It gives a nice variety. I never play the riffs with the song, never even tried it tbh but I just play the Riff on its own for a few minutes and then I go for the “normal” chord and song practice again :smiley: