How to Play Eric Clapton´s Crossroads

Crossroad Blues is one of the greatest blues songs of all time. Originally written and recorded by the late great Robert Johnson. Fast forward a few years and the great Eric Clapton recorded it and added one of the most iconic blues riffs of all time. Check out this free lesson from Guitar Control from instructor Jon MacLennan  on Eric Clapton´s Crossroads Guitar Riff with free guitar tabs.

Eric Clapton´s Crossroads Guitar Riff




How’s it going guys? My name is Jon MacLennan and I’m here with and thanks so much for tuning in. I want to teach you a little bit of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads today and this is just a monumental guitar piece. There’s so much amazing playing in it, but one of the elements of this song that I want to emphasize in this lesson is call and response. That’s a typical thing that you hear a lot in the blues and so we’ve got a 12 bar, you know just a standard 12-bar blues in the key of A, but what happens is you know there’s a vocal melody presented in the first two bars. If you know the blues and then the next two bars you have a guitar riff answering that and so if you’re playing the guitar you’ve got to be able to play rhythm for two bars and then go to kind of the lead riff and then go back to rhythm. So it constantly alternates it’s; two bars of rhythm, two bars of the lead, two bars of the rhythm and two bars of the lead. So let me show you what that’s like. If we’re going to play the first two bars we’ve got an A and a D and that is going to go like this… and that’s just our typical kind of like Kansas City shuffle, very cliché guitar riff for a blues.

Crossroads Call & Response

I’ve got zero two, two, zero, four and then moving on to the D string and now here comes the response. I’m going to play the riff this is open A to the second fret and play two again and then do a hammer zero and then you bend the third fret of the fifth string; so that part goes… and I do it twice. So if I play the first four bars it’s gonna go like this… Now I’m gonna play the next two bars and I’m gonna play just a D chord and E chord now to a D. Sometimes I play this D seven over F sharp, it’s like a D7 triad, then I use my thumb on the second. So the last four bars is… so you have this constant alternating between the rhythm and the lead playing.


All right, there’s How to Play Eric Clapton´s Crossroads. Be sure to click the link below and I’m Jon MacLennan. Thanks for watching How to Play Eric Clapton´s Crossroads and we’ll see in the next lesson.

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