Difficulty: Level I
Length: 12:40
Rumble Wikipedia pageWikipedia page
Rumble music videoArtist website
Rumble music videoMusic video
With our guitar tutorial on Rumble, you will learn these guitar skills:
  • Minor pentatonic scale
  • Open chords

Rumble by Link Wray is a real oldie but goodie. You may not know it by its title alone, but once you hear it, you'll recognize it instantly, as you've heard in Pulp Fiction, Sopranos, and loads of other films, where the director needed something "rough". Because Rumble is rough. So rough, that it got banned from radio back when it was released! So… I guess you could say we’ll be learning an outlawed song, which is pretty cool in itself I think.

Our guitar lesson on Rumble will teach you how to play the entire song in the style of Link himself. It is probably one of the easiest songs you'll ever learn, but it's loads of fun to play. Oh, and you'll be surprised to find out that the song is actually based around the 12 bar blues pattern.

To be able to play Rumble, you'll need to know 4 chords, the D sus 2, E, A, and B7. Once you've got those down, you've pretty much got the whole song down! There are little embellishments of course, but not many.

After learning the main section to Rumble, Link Wray goes all hectic strumming an inverted E major chord. You'll learn the fingering for that chord during the end of the tutorial as well.

Rumble song details

Rumble was released by Link Wray & His Ray Men in 1958. It was actually one of the first songs to use heavy distortion and feedback, so this was at a time when these techniques were still experimental.

This song is so cool that it actually got banned on several radio stations back at the end of the ’50s, because the song has sort of a rough attitude to it, and some people thought that it glorified juvenile delinquency. Rumble is a purely instrumental piece, and thereby has earned the title of being the ONLY instrumental song to ever get banned from the radio!

The song was later used extensively in popular media and films, for example, Independence Day, Pulp Fiction, Blow, etc.

An interesting musical fact about Rumble is that even though it is a 12 bar blues instrumental, the length is in fact 11 and a half measures for some reason, so it is missing 2 beats...

So putting the music history lesson aside, if you are into electric guitar and you like that grungy rock sound, you absolutely must learn to play Rumble on your electric guitar. This is one of those compulsory songs that literally every electric guitarist must know.

As I said, it is very simple, perhaps one of the simplest songs in our collection of beginner guitar songs. So turn up your distortion, have fun with it, and don't stop until your neighbors go mad 🙂

If you want to refine the skills you learned in Rumble, check out these lessons on songs by clicking these links:

Download tabs for Rumble

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Download backing track for Rumble

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