There is a particular move that I see Eric Clapton do that seems to be a bit unique to his style…

And since so many of you have been asking for more analysis and insight into Clapton’s playing, I thought I would delve into this particular box 1 to box 5 shift that Clapton does.

It’s also a good look into the art and science of shifting between the major and minor pentatonic and blues scales and how you want to use root notes as pivot points.

By the way, if you want to see more about Pivot Points check out an older blog post here –

    19 replies to "Clapton’s Secret Move?"

    • Keith

      If you think about it and look at it in the Key of G instead, the major pentatonic scale has been built off of the open (major) scale if you use box 1 for it and the closed (major) scale if you use box 2. That’s probably what Clapton was thinking? I’ve been looking a lot at box 4 lately and it is really interesting. I can leave it there and it’s (D) major, now what do you use if you want minor…box 3? I think the pivot is fret 3 of string 2. Box 3 is the hardest box!

    • ChrisGSP

      A couple or years ago Griff posted a Blog called “Many Ways to Blues Solos”, which is kinda related to this lesson. In that Blog post he provided a link to a PDF called “Major-Minor-Blues-Boxes” that everyone should get! Near the end of that 7-page PDF is a page with the 5 Minor Blues Boxes and the 5 Major Blues Boxes in two columns, and they are paired together “by the string that the root note falls on”.
      If you want to be able to switch between Major and Minor, this PDF is (IMHO) the best place to start. Any time you are playing in a Minor box, you just have to look at this page and it has the Major box in the same position right there alongside the Minor one. Couldn’t be simpler, even my old eyes can see it.
      Chris G in the Land of OZ

    • Dave D

      Griff, great video, it really opened a new door for me on using the major and minor pentatonic scales! Couldn’t wait to start practicing and getting this down!

      I do have a question. I have talked to other guitar players and they have never heard that you should only use the major pentatonic over the one chord. I have experimented with this and know you are right. Is there ever a time you can use the major pentatonic scale over the 4 or 5 chords?


    • ChrisGSP

      I’ve been switching into the top of the Box 2 Major from Box 1 Minor, where the pivot note is under the first finger on the first string, for some time now; usually in Bar 1 and then maybe again in Bars 3 and 4 (i.e. at the I Chord).
      But I hadn’t thought about moving that concept to other positions – as we see in this lesson. I think this Box 1 Major/Box 5 Minor sound is very versatile.
      Definitely going to become one of my practice routines.
      Thanks Griff, you always seem to have another gem of an idea to drop on us.
      Chris G.

    • Mark Walters

      Hey Griff,
      Great lesson, love your stuff and especially your awesome friendly and encouraging attitude for all us wannabes!
      I have always wondered about shifting gears soloing between the 1, 4, and 5, nice to have some new concepts!
      So what did you did in the intro when you went up to 10-12? Same concept just higher right?
      You Da Man!
      Mark in Colorado

    • Tom Hopsicker

      Good stuff as usual. Thanks! 😎🥃

    • Dale Traylor

      Sweet. I learn every time I look at your videos. I do have to go slow and watch multiple times and practice like HELL!!!!

    • ben

      Been using box 5 for some time now. Box 5 with box 2 you have box 1 surrounded. You can go up or down. The other great thing is the way it fits against box 1 with an easy to remember shape.
      Thanks Griff…another great lesson!

    • Terry

      Sweet. Just a little meat on the Bone to chew on. Mix that in with a little this and that and ya got a whole new Vocabulary. Nice work man.

    • Doug

      Thanks! Very informative.

    • Jeff Brusatori

      That was an awesome lesson your your videos are awesome and I love watching them keep it up my only problem is I live off-grid and for my access to the internet is minimal I keep getting a cut off and my videos keep getting that you screamed and so they’re hard to watch but what I do get out of your lessons are greatly appreciated I am a self-taught guitar on my own and videos are wonderful but I did get a chance to watch and listen to you and I’m sure beginner don’t understand it all but I’m learning and I very much appreciate it thanks God bless and keep up the great work

    • Todd



      Great video Griff. This makes me think I should re-evaluate each minor pentatonic box and see where the nearest major pentatonic box is. Seems like a good approach to keeping it fresh and non-repetitive when soloing. Cheers – Steve.
      BTW: I was intrigued by your use of Suhr super-strats – man they are gorgeous instruments. I now own 2.

    • Marion Spain

      Hey Griff thanks for taking time to share this great stuff with us. i spend a lot of time on guitar compass but i really like your stuff and style of teaching. i would like to spend more time on your teaching if there is a website dedicated to you

    • DaveyJoe

      Cool! Thanks Griff!

    • Richard

      Thanks Griff, very clearly and succinctly explained. As someone who really enjoys Clapton’s lead guitar playing I really appreciate your insights – please keep them coming!

    • Bernie Curran

      For me Griff, that was one of your best lessons to date.So, so simply
      explained and so very effective.Im so used to playing box 5 way up
      the neck and missing out on those lovely major/ minor sounds so close together.
      I would like to announce your new name:Griff Hamlin -THE PIED PIPER
      You play great music and you have thousands of followers!
      Thank you
      Bernie, Scotland,UK

    • Robert

      Thanks Griff, you’ve helped tremendously in my music journey greatly appreciated

    • Jim P.

      Thanks Griff. Great lesson on integrating the major and minor pentatonic scales. I love your approach of practicality and music theory. Also, this particular lesson illustrates a fingering position to easily switch from major to minor pentatonic using the root pivot. Very cool. Thanks again.

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