How To Play Rumble by Link Wray

The original recording sounds like this:

And I can't resist posting this live version - the fuzz sound is incredible!:

This is great too, Jimmy Page playing air guitar!:


A rock 'n' roll classic. And a great one to try if you're a beginner, though I can't imagine any player who wouldn't have fun playing this. Mostly it's quite straightforward, just take care with the timing, which is a bit quirky in places. Listen closely to the original to get a feel for what's going on. I've written it out below. PDF here. (Theory nerds, I've chosen to write it out in 4/4, though there's an argument for notating it in 12/8. 4/4 just makes a bit more sense to me and is less cluttered and easier to read.)

Backing track

I put together this quick backing track which I play over at the start of the video. Have a go playing along. It's a really good test of how well you know the piece, and will really help you to nail the timing. The count at the start is 1 2 3 4 1 2 (then play the opening Dsus2 chord on beats 3 and 4 before the band kicks in.

 

Gear Geekery

For the video I used my Jazzmaster (an American Vintage 65) through an 80s Fender Super Champ. The amp was set fairly quiet and clean; overdrive was from a J Rockett Archer pedal. The tremolo effect is a Fulltone Supa-Trem. 

I couldn't find much definite info on exactly what Link used for the original recording. Some suggest he used a Les Paul (which in 1958 would have had P90s) into a Multivox Premier amp. Overdrive was apparently a result of his slashing the speakers in the amp!