How to Play Layla by Eric Clapton on Ukulele
by Rodrigo Sanchez, Sep 10, 2021 . 4 min read
Today we’re going to learn how to play Layla by Eric Clapton on ukulele. This song was written by the legendary guitarist along with drummer Jim Gordon.
“Layla” was originally recorded and released by rock blues supergroup Derek and the Dominoes. This song was first released in 1971, and again in 1991 in Eric Clapton’s Unplugged. This latter version is arguably the most famous of the two and we’re basing this lesson on it. It features chords that will likely challenge you along with an easy strum pattern. For help with ukulele chords and more, check out our ukulele app. Without further ado, here is how to play Layla by Eric Clapton on ukulele.
Intro and chorus
“Layla” starts with Dm, Bb, C and Dm for the intro. To play the Dm chord, place your index on the second string first fret, middle finger on the fourth string second fret and ring finger on the third string second fret. For Bb, do a half bar with your index on the first and second string first fret. Then add your middle finger on the third string second fret and ring finger on the fourth string third fret. For C, just place your ring finger on the first string third fret.
This progression is the same for the chorus of the song as well.
The verse of “Layla” features a few chords that might be challenging for many. They are relatively common chords, but not exactly easy or beginner chords. For the verse the progression is C#m, G#7, C, D, E, F#m, B7 and A.
To play C#m, simply place your index finger in a full bar across all the strings on the fourth fret. For the G#7, keep that same bar and add your middle finger on the fourth string fifth fret, ring on the third string sixth fret and pinky on the first string sixth fret. Next, D is just a bar on the second fret.
For F#m, place your index on the third string first fret, ring on the fourth string second fret and middle finger on the second string second fret. Next up, is the B7. Here, place a bar on the second fret and your middle finger on the third string third fret. Finally for the A, place your index on the third string first fret, and the middle finger on the fourth string second fret.
We’re going to use a very simple strum pattern that mimics the feel of the Unplugged version. We’re just going to use down strokes on beats one and three of each bar. If you want to add a special element to this strum, stop pressing your left hand as soon as you play each chord. In other words, you’re going to press the fretboard at the same moment that your right hand strums down, and then lift the fingers. Notice I did not say remove the fingers. This is because they stay in position for the next strum until it’s time to change chords.
Learning how to play Layla by Eric Clapton on ukulele will be a nice challenge to many. This song offers a great opportunity to learn new chords and use them in context. Because the strum pattern is so simple, you will be able to focus on the left hand and place the chords appropriately. As always, start slow at first and take your time. Only move on to the next chord once you can play the current one. Layla is not only great for working on learning new chords, but it is a great song to add to your repertoire. Feel free to leave us a comment with some other ukulele songs you’d like to learn.