Play Sunny With Shell Chords (with video)

Once you learned what shell chords are and how to play them, it’s time to play a tune with these. Sunny (Bobby Hebb) is a very popular song that is quite repetitive in its harmony (chord progression) and therefore not that hard to learn. The song can also be played in different styles, you should check out the versions by Pat Martino and Greg Howe. This is by the way one of the criteria to that defines a “good” standard (and one of the reasons why a song becomes a standard), the strong melody and harmony allows for multiple interpretations.

Sunny also emerges regularly at jamsessions, so it’s no luxury to learn to play it (well). Besides that, it’s just a fun tune to play.

Video at the end of the page.

Soloing over Sunny (off topic):

Tip: for soloing you can use the A minor pentatonic scale (almost) over the entire tune. This will not outline the harmony very well but will already sound o.k. More on soloing over Sunny in a later lesson.

By learning to play Sunny, you will learn to play two key chord progressions in jazz and pop music: a 251 in the key of F major (Gm7, C7, Fmaj7) and a 251 in the key of A minor (Bm7b5, E7 and Am7). You can see these 251’s as harmonic building blocks that are used all over the place, especially in jazz tunes (standards).

Sunny chord chart with shell chords:

Here is the chord chart with the shell chord accompaniment tabbed out. We start with a shell chord “form 1”.  If you don’t know what shell chords are I strongly suggest you read the first article about shell chords.

Sunny Shell Chords 1-1

Sunny Shell Chords 1-2

Sunny Shell Chords 1-3

Sunny Shell Chords 1-4

And here is a video showing you how to play this over a backing track:

You can get backing tracks for Sunny here.

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