How To Play “Rumble” by Link Wray – Guitar Instrumental

I recently saw the movie “It Might Get Loud” featuring Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (White Stripes/The Raconteurs). In the movie Jimmy Page digs through his mammoth vinyl collection and plays some favorite songs, one of which was Link Wray’s “Rumble”. This song was also famously featured in “Pulp Fiction”. It is a classic instrumental and a real easy song, too!. In this video lesson I  show how to play this iconic early rock instrumental.

The song is in the key of E and is really just a blues form. It does interestingly feature a bar of B7 that is in 6/4 time before returning to common time for the E minor pentatonic lick.

Rumble Link Wray tab

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The chords used are E major, an open string D5 power chord over an A bass note, A major, and B7. The little lick in the tune is straight out of the open position of the E minor pentatonic scale. About as straight forward as it gets!

Link Wray Rumble Chords

There is a guitar solo break built off an E major triad in the 12th position. Simply strum it really fast while sliding into the shape at the beginning of each of the first two measures. Then slide every two beats for a measure and then each beat for the final measure before returning to the open A chord.

This song is famous for being one of the first ever to feature distortion. The tone is very gritty. Link Wray famously used a pencil to punch holes in the speaker of his amplifier to get this raw sound. I might suggest not going to that extreme! But think raunchy. The song also features a tremolo pedal. Or if your amp has the tremolo built in, so much the better.

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8 Comments on “How To Play “Rumble” by Link Wray – Guitar Instrumental”

  • Rui wrote on 24 April, 2010, 12:06

    this one is easier than i thought.
    thanks for the tune

  • Emmy wrote on 26 April, 2010, 13:17

    Please i will want soloing effect on lead guitar for a beginer

  • sam dubois wrote on 23 May, 2010, 8:28

    i love this song i actually did punch holes with a pencil in my speakers

  • Stanley Arland wrote on 30 October, 2010, 3:36

    Great tune. My students enjoyed this in their performance delivery sessions. Cheers!

  • Drew wrote on 22 February, 2011, 19:41

    saw the same show and wanted to kearn how to play Rumble. Easy for an old guy like.

  • Robert wrote on 28 August, 2012, 2:27

    Thanks for this :). I punched holes in my neighbour for not liking this song  haha.

  • Angus wrote on 27 September, 2012, 9:47

    Robert,now that was funny, if that is obvious to some,so be it,it was funny,simple as that. Thank you Robert,timing is everything and this is proof to me,again,if needed. My week has sucked and not in any ‘good’ sense of the word,ahem,anyway,cheers for the laugh!


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