UG Weekend Riff: Part 13

Ultimate Guitar


Eric Clapton special. Here's how to play 2 Riffs and a solo from one of the greatest guitar players who ever lived. Eric Clapton (dubbed Slowhand as the audience would start a slowhand clap when he snapped a guitar string on some crazy bluesy-bends), writer of Layla, builder of Blackie and stealer of George Harrison's wife is one of the most influential artists to date. The influenced range from BB King to Zakk Wylde. It easy to see why from riffs like these!

Gear Info & Settings:

Dig out that Stratocaster built from the remains of three different Fenders. If you don't have one of these lying around (I'm guessing you don't) then it's single-coil time to really cut through the mid-section with these riffs. Use the bridge pickup and set bass and mid at around five with treble a little higher at 7. Add a little reverb and a whack of gain from a valve amplifier and you're away!

  • Layla

    Written about George Harrison's wife (Pattie Boyd had three love songs written to her by different artists, all now classics) the intro riff to Layla, and the guitar it was written on, have become world famous.

    The most difficult part will be shifting to the high notes clealy. Other than this, make sure you hit the correct chords and slide only where needed and you'll have this riff down in no time.

    Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file for this song.

  • Sunshine Of Your Love

    Written during Clapton's days in Cream, Sunshine Of Your Love will require a little boost of bass (take it to 7) and a guitar with a humbucking pickup and some good stacato technique. Other than the stacato, watch out for those chords. The shape is slid around from one position then back. Other than this, nothing much to worry about here, so have fun while everything's still easy!

    Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file of this song.

  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps

    Not only did he steal Guitar George's wife, but this song is a Beatles cover. The wobbly solo, full of bends, is a Clapton original, though. Go back to the trusty singlecoils, something strat-like for tone and ease of bending. Watch out especially for the pre-bends. You'll have to watch your pitching closely to be able to match the bent note when the string is still muted. Pre-bending is a lot oabout muscle memory, that is, knowing how far you have to bend the string to get a certain note. Good Luck!

    Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file of this song.

    And do not forget to check out Part 4 of UG Weekend Bass Riff series. The series is rise from the ashes with My Friend Of Misery by Metallica! Thanks to Carl.

  • 44 comments sorted by best / new / date

      I think the next featured solo should be Eddie Van Halen's Eruption. That song is intense, but cool...
      (Pattie Boyd had three love songs written to her by different artists, all now classics)
      Harrison did Something, Clapton did Layla, and what's the third one?
      Geldof the Grey
      oops... wonderful tonight was about her, but that was clapton. the other guy was ron wood, but he didn't write a song. I think it's an important point that he's the only one she didn't marry of the three.
      radiantmoon they didn't collaborate on WMGGW, he just did a cover, Clapton did write Badge with Harrison though when he was with Cream I believe. Clapton was in a lot of bands though all kind of have his style in them though, Cream, Derek and the Dominos, Blind Faith, YardBirds, Blue Breakers, then by himself, he also had some parts on some BB King songs.
      I think Clapton actually plays on The Beatles' while my guitar gently weeps, but it was written by Harrison (Clapton was sort of a sessionist)
      What happened was The Beatles were trying to lay down the song and weren't getting the right sound for it. So George calls up his very good friend Eric over to maybe freshen things up. So he played it and it clicked. And after I found that out it was really obvious that the guitar is Clapton...
      In "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits, one lyric goes: "listen to Guitar George he knows all the chords hes stictly rhythm doesnt want to make it cry or sing" Ironic, aint it.
      clapton stole george's wife? i didn't know that, its ironic cause he also led thr tribute "concert for george"(great concert btw!!!), were they on good terms?
      Geldof the Grey
      hmmm... thanks beat. I wrote a lot of this from memory and some of it is taken directly from NME's "1001 Rock Facts" edition ;D
      Geldof the Grey
      ^Eruption is 1 minute long!! too much tab! Besides, the next solo is already chosen, but it's a huge surprise!!!
      Teeheh good work... I usually play Sunshine of your Love without the 7th chords in bar 5 (I use major chords) but thats just me. Good job anyhow.
      yeah i was gonna say Clapton used his les paul on while my guitar, he use automatic double tracking to give it a wobbly more beatley sound, and it isnt a cover, he played on the original beatles track from the white album.
      Awesome work Geld, but remember, Clappy used his Paul on WMGGW (While My Guitar Gently Weeps), but he switched around with the R/T switch, so I suppose you'd guess it was a Strat on the treble bucker. Then again, George Harrison used his Strat on that song, so it's possible you picked up on George's minor contrubutions to the solo. Anyhow, kickass riffs this weekend, keep up the good work!
      the layla lick was actually written and played by duane allman.... and he used a slide to get the higher notes, not bends then again clapton has played it a hundred times live in different ways than duane... just thought id mention it
      Geldof the Grey
      Diceman - it's like rain... on your wedding day it's like a free ride... when you've already paid