Richie Valens/Los Lobos – La Bamba (Riff Tab)

buddy holly ukulele tab


Old-school riffery from Richie Valens. But the song is probably best known for Los Lobos’s cover version. The highlight of that version being the outro. Here’s the start of it in the same, uke-friendly, key as I used for the riff.

la bamba outro tab

La Bamba Outro

If you want to play it in the original key, move everything up 7 frets – something like this. It’s much more difficult but still playable.

Part of the Guitar Riffs for Ukulele series.

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  1. cardboardfrog October 29th, 2009 6:00 pm

    excellent work mr woodshed, loving the riffs
    i would also like to point out that the bobby mcgees have appeared amongst a rabble in the new dizzy rascal video, odd combo.

  2. mictoboy October 29th, 2009 7:27 pm

    lovely stuff, cheers!

  3. Woodshed October 29th, 2009 10:05 pm

    cbf: So they are! Not the first time Dizzee Rascal has had a uke in his video.

    mictoboy: You’re welcome.

  4. JCMcGee October 30th, 2009 12:18 pm

    Ha….I worked out La Bamba a few years ago…never getting it quite right….then I tried to translate the lyrics: “I’m not a sailor…I’m the captain!”

    Cheers for that!

    Dizee Rascal also has a ukulele in his next video for “Dirty Cash”….”how do I know that?” I hear you ask ;-)

  5. JCMcGee October 30th, 2009 12:24 pm

    Ha…just found the Diziee vid:
    Have a look around the 1min 15 sec mark!!!!

    But first…this:

  6. Art Crocker October 30th, 2009 2:11 pm

    Al, good job on the riffs, headed for Baja soon so I will have to learn it.
    Could you give a version of the strum you would use? Seems like the chords go C, F, G . And the fancy strum would be on the G?


  7. Noah October 31st, 2009 2:47 am

    Ah mr. woodshed, once again! Keep them coming! There is nothing better that having a group of friends over and the look on their face with some of these fun lil riffs being portrayed so dynamically on the uke

  8. Woodshed October 31st, 2009 10:33 am

    Jimmy: Your presence in the Dizzee video was spotted by cardboardfrog. Nice work!

    Art: I think it’s mostly the riff rather than strumming. Those are the chords for the original – you’d have to transpose the riff for it to fit those chords. Have a good time in Baja.

    Noah: Glad you’re enjoy them.

  9. howtoplayalone - November 2nd, 2009 11:25 am

    Thanks, and nicely, smoothly played too.

  10. Maxwell November 3rd, 2009 11:00 am

    Thank you for this Woodshed.

  11. Woodshed November 3rd, 2009 11:35 am

    howtoplayalone: Thanks!

    Maxwell: You’re welcome.

  12. Luis February 22nd, 2011 6:25 pm

    Great!! But I have a problem..I don’t know how to play the second tab!! I´ve been trying to follow your song but my ukulele or me sound different!!! Some help please?? Thank!!

  13. Art March 6th, 2011 2:33 pm

    Just got the bug to Tune up my La Bamba playing and happened to recall your Riffs. Thanks for the Outro in both Keys. Stuff like this makes ukulele hacks like me sound pretty good. IF you get the inspiraton and time, work up some Latin Stums variations that fit.

  14. lj6902 July 10th, 2012 8:28 pm

    i’ve been strumming my uke for 10 yrs and this was first attempt at a riff THANK YOU SO MUCH

  15. Woodshed July 11th, 2012 10:47 pm

    Art: Thanks for the suggestion.

    lj6902: Thanks very much. That’s great!

  16. Tonijua July 12th, 2013 8:44 pm

    So (if I got it right), in case I would like to add strumming to this, the notes would be: F A# C ?

  17. Woodshed July 13th, 2013 11:07 am

    Tonijua: Yes, that’s right.

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