April 1, 2017

Claude Ciari | La Playa (The Beach)


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About this Video
La Playa or Spanish for ‘the beach’

I came across this tune recently and liked it immediately. It has a smooth melodic latin sound and playing style. The first artist I came across playing the tune was Claude Ciari. The posted video was a vintage early version of a music video shot in black and white on 16mm film. The date of release looks like around 1964.

There was a similar video title description – La Oreja de Van Gogh – La Playa, but was clearly not the tune I was interested in.

After having a listen to the many other artists playing La Playa, I thought Claude Ciari not only presented this tune in its release in 1964, but wrote it. However, further reading showed this is not the case. The author of this tune was Jo Van Wetter. In addition, I thought this was just an instrumental, but low and behold it had lyrics as well as I discovered, written by Pierre Barouch. I did see one video of the tune being sung with French lyrics. Very nice indeed.

For my part I believe that Claude Ciari is the face and player of this tune and would represent my take on re-producing my own music video version.

I searched for guitar tabs and any available backtracks before I would take on this tune as a learning starting point. The guitar tabs I did find had errors and there was no backtrack to play against. So I built a simple backtrack using my handy Chordpulse software and worked from that just to get going. I ended up adapting my own guitar tab version anyway using this tool.

The tune is in the key of Dm, played in 4/4 time, has a tempo of about 100 to 110 (settle on 105bpm – go figure) and has a basic latin rhumba rhythm for the playing style.

The tabs I finally worked out are posted as a free download found on my Resources page in both PDF and Word format. Look out for any updates as I may change the tab content to new things I discover.

Back Tracks
The biggest challenge has been to make a pro sounding backtrack myself this time, verses the earlier collaborations I had done for my past tunes. I investigated several composition software products like Presonus Studio One, Cubase, Cakewalk and others and have settled on ‘Band in the Box’ or BAIB.

Those other products are certainly powerful music making tools, but the expense and the steep learning curve are real showstoppers for me. I was sold on how BIAB worked and the large music library in their Real band, Real Tracks and Real Drums product line. The lower cost was also a big factor (bigger bang for the buck – I just got the simple Pro version) and the learning curve was surprisingly workable. The user interface is a bit clunky but reasonably intuitive. The on-line chat and email support was very good.

In learning BIAB, I first developed the song using a simple Real Track supported 4/4 ballad style as there was only a simple unusable low quality MIDI track in rhumba style available. In the end, I did buy a latin based Real Drums bundle for just $29 bucks ($50 CAD) and rebuilt the back track. You can have a sample listen of my finished tracks on the Resources page. The BIAB business model where you buy what you need is a big plus for me. I really don’t need the big bundles offered even though it has a lot of great tracks, but in the end will never be used as far as I can see.

I have used my Takamine acoustic for this tune. I’ll probably release an electric version using my Jazzmaster later.

Please provide comments below on my music video. Thanks.

See below for additional information that may be of interest.

Equipment Used and Settings

  • Takamine acoustic guitar.
  • Strymon Flint Reverb, tremolo effect not used. Slight reverb only


My fully orchestrated BIAB BT practice version is available as a member. Get both the ballad and rhumba MP3 versions if you like.

Guitar TAB Sheets
Written in MS WORD 2003, using generic Courier type font. Any version of Word after 1997 can open this file. Must be a member for access to my guitar tabs and/or backing track(s).

A blank guitar TAB work sheet for your own edits and mods are also available. Must be a member to access. Join Us – see menu item on top of this web page to Join.


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