Guitar lesson for

Layla

by Eric Clapton  •  Lesson #103

Video lesson

Get the sheet music(4 pages)

  • A properly licensed, print-friendly arrangement is available for individual purchase at Musicnotes.com
  • This sheet music was designed & hand-crafted by me (David Potsiadlo) with care, providing you with everything needed to both learn and play this song.
  • On the fence? Here's a video guide I made showing the purchase & print process.
Buy at Musicnotes.com

Patreon supporters: click here to get the 50% off discount code on this purchase

Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play the unplugged (acoustic) version of “Layla” by Eric Clapton. This lesson includes tabs for the intro riff, chords needed for the entire song, strumming pattern, and various other tips that will prove helpful in learning how to play this song. While this tune was originally released in 1971 by Derek and the Dominos, this lesson obviously is modeled after Clapton’s 1992 release as part of his album “Unplugged.”

Video timestamps:

Audio of Eric Clapton playing it

Song chord progressions

See my sheet music for the chord progression diagrams.

Verse chord shapes

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

See my sheet music for the tabs.

Here’s the tab for the generalized riff:

See my sheet music for the tabs.

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.

See my sheet music for the tabs.

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

See my sheet music for the tabs.

Strumming pattern options

The patterns I recommend are as follows. First is this simpler (?) one, which uses emphasized/accented down-strums on the “1” and “3” counts, with lighter “down-ups” happening on the “2 +” and “4 +” counts.

See my sheet music for the strumming diagrams.

Another option is to do this more typical strum pattern. I’m showing the down-strum on the “1” count as emphasized/accented, though that’s optional.

See my sheet music for the strumming diagrams.

Lyrics w/ chords

See my sheet music for the lyrics with chords.

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:

See my sheet music for the tabs.

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:

See my sheet music for the tabs.

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.

Get my lessons in your inbox!

Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!


Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).

Thanks!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!


Recent video lessons:

📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy sheet music. Patreon suppoters get 50% off each purchase. Get the latest info here »   (last updated July 1, 2021)

October 14, 2021

How to Tune Half-Step Down (E-Flat Tuning)

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #394

A quick guide to tuning all your strings down 1/2 step (E-flat tuning), which is a very common alternate tuning used in many songs.

Patreon PDF

October 2, 2021

F Chord Cheat Sheet! 7 Easier Ways to Play It

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #392

A quick inventory of 8 different ways to play the dreaded F chord, 7 of which are easier than the dreaded six-string barred version.

Patreon PDF

September 28, 2021

Beginner Riffs with Major 7th Arpeggios

Warm-Up Exercise  •  Lesson #390

A quick exercise where I share over 10 riffs based on a single arpeggio shape, using major 7th chord tones. Backing track included!

Patreon PDF

September 19, 2021

Key of C Major Cheat Sheet!

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #388

A deep dive into everything you need to know when playing in the Key of C: notes, chords, fretboard map, tips & tricks, easier ways to play the F chord, and plenty more.

Patreon PDF

September 12, 2021

Major Scale Positions & CAGED Chord Shapes

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #384

A deep-dive into the common positions of the major scale, and how they each relate to the CAGED chord shapes... which makes it all easier to understand!

Patreon PDF

August 29, 2021

First Electric! 8 Things I Didn't Expect

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #386

I recently got my 1st electric guitar, and was surprised how many things immediately confused me. Here's a quick inventory, in case it helps anyone else starting out!

Patreon PDF

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist


← back to lesson list