Guitar lesson for

Layla

by Eric Clapton

Video lesson

PDF print-out of this lesson

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Song chord progressions

Intro & chorus:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Dm      Bb      C       Dm        x3

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Dm      Bb      C       Am  C     x1

Verse:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
C#m7            G#7             C#m7    C   D   E       E7

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
F#m     B       E       A       F#m     B       E       A         

Verse chord shapes

E ––––4–––––4––––––––––––––0––––0–––––2–––––––––––––––
B ––––5–––––4––––5––––7––––0––––3–––––2––––4––––2–––––
G ––––4–––––5––––5––––7––––1––––1–––––2––––4––––2–––––
D ––––6–––––4––––5––––7––––2––––2–––––4––––4––––2–––––
A ––––4–––––6––––3––––5––––2––––2–––––4––––2––––0–––––
E ––––––––––4––––––––––––––0––––0–––––2–––––––––––––––
     C#m7  G#7   C    D    E    E7   F#m   B    A                          

Intro riff

First up, note that I am using these chord shapes for the riff. Notably, I am simplifying things by playing only 3 strings per each chord. The notes below in paranthesis I’m not playing - you can if you wish, but note it makes things tougher for you.

The idea is to spend two counts on each chord, in the order shown below. Then repeat.

E ––––(1)––––––––––––––––(1)––––
B –––––3––––(3)––––(5)––––3–––––
G –––––2–––––3––––––5–––––2–––––
D –––––0–––––3––––––5–––––0–––––
A –––––––––––1––––––3–––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
       Dm    Bb     C     Dm

Here’s the tab for the generalized riff:

E –––––––––(1)–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––(1)––––––
B ––––––––––3––––––––––––(3)––––––––––––(5)–––––––––––––––3–––––––
G ––––––––––2–––––––––––––3––––––––––––––5––––––––––––––––2–––––––
D ––––––––––0––––––0––––––3––––––––––––––5––––––––––––––––0–––––––
A ––––0––3––––––––––––3–––1–––––––1––1–––3–––––––––0––3–––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
            Dm            Bb             C                Dm

When first learning this, I recommend practicing just the bass notes first. For each bass note, be sure to use left-hand fingers that allow you to play the chords you’ll need. This way, when you’re fluent enough with the bass notes, you can work on bringing in the full chords.

E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B –––––––––(3)–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––(3)––––––
G –––––––––(2)–––––––––––(3)––––––––––––(5)––––––––––––––(2)––––––
D ––––––––––0––––––0–––––(3)––––––––––––(5)–––––––––––––––0–––––––
A ––––0––3––––––––––––3–––1––––––––––––––3–––––––––0––3–––––––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
            Dm            Bb             C                Dm

To transition into the verse, end the riff as follows:

E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––––2–––––––––––––3––––––––––––––5––––––––––––2–––5–––––––
D ––––––––––0––––––0––––––3–––––––3––3–––5––––––x–x–––2–––5–––––––
A ––––0––3––––––––––––3–––1–––––––1––1–––3––––––x–x–––0–––3–––––––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
            Dm            Bb             C            Am  C   

Lyrics w/ chords

(intro, played with riff):

Dm   Bb   C   Dm     x3
Dm   Bb   C   Am  C  x1

C#m7                           G#7
...What'll you do when you get lonely
C#m7         C       D       E      E7  
And nobody's waiting by your side
F#m            B           E               A
...You've been running and hiding much too long
F#m              B                 E        A
...You know it's just your foolish pride... Lay----

       Dm   Bb           C            Dm
    Layla........ you've got me on my knees
       Dm   Bb         C                Dm
    Layla......... I'm begging, darling please
       Dm   Bb     C                 Dm              
    Layla......... darling won't you ease my worried
    Dm      Bb     C       Am   C
    Mind....

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down
Like a fool, I fell in love with you
Turned my whole world upside down

    Layla, you've got me on my knees
    Layla, I'm begging, darling please
    Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind

Let's make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane
Please don't say I'll never find a way
And tell me all my love's in vain

    Layla, you've got me on my knees
    Layla, I'm begging, darling please
    Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind

Advanced notes about the intro riff

Here’s the actual timing of the first line of the riff, as heard in the recorded Clapton version:

E |–––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
B |––––––––––3––|––––––––––(3)–––––––––(5)–|–––––––––––3–––––––––––3––|–
G |––––––––––2––|–––––––––––3–––––––––––5––|–––––––––––2–––––––––––2––|–
D |––––––––––0––|–––––0–––––3–––––––––––5––|–––––––––––0–––––––––––0––|–
A |––––0––3–––––|––––––––3––1–––––1––1––3––|–––––3––3––––––––0––3–––––|–
E |–––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
             Dm             Bb          C              Dm          Dm
       +  4  +     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  

Note that the 2nd and 3rd time he plays this, the timing slightly changes. For example, the C comes in on the “1” count of next measure the 2nd time it is played:

E |–––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
B |––––––––––3––|––––––––––(3)–––––––––––––|–(5)–––––––3–––––––––––3––|–
G |––––––––––2––|–––––––––––3––––––––––––––|––5––––––––2–––––––––––2––|–
D |––––––––––0––|–––––0–––––3––––––––––––––|––5––––––––0–––––––––––0––|–
A |––––0––3–––––|––––––––3––1––––––––––––––|––3––0––3––––––––0––3–––––|–
E |–––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
             Dm             Bb                C        Dm          Dm
       +  4  +     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  

And the third time it is played, he slides up from the Bb to C shape. Listen along for reference, and watch my video lesson to see me play each version.

Hope that helps!

Let me know how things work for you when learning this song! Hopefully well. Hit me up with any comments / questions / etc.

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