Get ready to master “Rock Around the Clock” – a classic from the 1950s.
In this video, Justin covers everything you need to know to play this classic Bill Haley song on the guitar. From the basic chords (A7, D7, and E7) to the strumming patterns and stops within the song, Justin breaks it all down for you. He also provides helpful tips and tricks for playing the song, such as muting the strings and using different fingerings.
Plus, he emphasises the importance of playing along with the original recording to develop your timing and accuracy.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, this lesson will have you rocking out in no time.
Get strumming and let’s rock around the clock together!
Before we delve into the lesson on how to play “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley, let’s first watch the video to get an idea of how the song should sound and how the different techniques and chords are used.
Playing the Full Song
Now that you’ve seen the demonstration, it’s time to learn how to play the full song. In this lesson, we will cover everything from the chord progression to the strumming pattern, as well as important techniques like chord stops and accenting beats.
About ‘Rock Around the Clock’
“Rock Around the Clock” is a timeless rock and roll classic by Bill Haley and the Comets. It was released in 1954 and became one of the first songs to popularise the rock and roll genre.
The song is known for its energetic and catchy tune, making it a favourite among guitarists of all levels.
This lesson is designed for beginner to intermediate guitarists. The song uses basic open chords and a straightforward strumming pattern, making it accessible to players who are still learning the fundamentals of guitar playing.
However, there are a few techniques and chord stops that may require some practice.
Goal of the Lesson
By the end of this lesson, you will be able to confidently play “Rock Around the Clock” on the guitar.
We will break down the song step by step, focusing on proper technique, timing, and accuracy. Remember, practice makes perfect, so take your time and don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get everything just right.
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Explanation of Chords
To play “Rock Around the Clock,” you will need to know three basic open chords: A7, D7, and E7. These chords are commonly used in rock and roll songs and have a bluesy sound. If you’re not familiar with these chords, don’t worry!
We will go over each one in detail and provide practice exercises to help you master them.
The A7 chord is played by placing your first finger on the first fret of the B string and your second finger on the second fret of the D string. Strum the chord from the A string down. Practice transitioning between the A7 chord and other chords to build muscle memory and improve your chord changes.
The D7 chord is played by placing your first finger on the second fret of the G string, your second finger on the first fret of the high E string, and your third finger on the second fret of the B string. Strum the chord from the D string down.
As with the A7 chord, practice transitioning between the D7 chord and other chords to improve your fluency and accuracy.
The E7 chord is played by placing your first finger on the first fret of the G string, your second finger on the second fret of the A string, and your third finger on the third fret of the B string.
Strum the chord from the low E string down. The E7 chord has an alternative fingering that involves using your second, third, and fourth fingers. Experiment with both fingerings to see which one is more comfortable for you.
To practice the chord progression, try strumming the A7, D7, and E7 chords in succession. Start with a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the changes. Remember to maintain a steady rhythm and focus on clean and clear chord voicing.
Explanation of the Pattern
A crucial element of playing “Rock Around the Clock” is the strumming pattern. The song has a classic rock and roll shuffle feel, which is achieved by emphasising beats two and four.
The strumming pattern we will use is a combination of downstrokes and upstrokes, specifically down-up-down on beats one, two, and three, and a single upstroke on beat four.
Accent on Beats Two and Four
To give the song its signature rock and roll groove, it’s important to accent beats two and four while strumming. This accent creates a backbeat that drives the rhythm of the song.
Practice accenting these beats by playing the strumming pattern slowly and deliberately, focusing on hitting beats two and four slightly harder than the other strums.
To practice the strumming pattern, start by strumming the chords in time with a metronome or a backing track. Start at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable.
Pay attention to your timing and make sure to consistently accent beats two and four. This will help you internalise the feel of the song and play it with confidence.
The E7 chord can be played using two different fingerings. The first and more common fingering is played by barring your first finger across the second fret and placing your second, third, and fourth fingers on the fourth fret of the G, B, and high E strings, respectively.
The second fingering is a simpler variation that involves placing your first finger on the first fret of the G string, your second finger on the second fret of the A string, and your third finger on the second fret of the D string. Experiment with both fingerings and choose the one that feels most comfortable for you.
To achieve a clean and crisp sound when playing the E7 chord, it’s important to mute any unwanted strings. You can do this by lightly touching the strings with the tips of your fingers that are not being used for the chord.
This muted sound helps to create a sharp and percussive effect that is characteristic of rock and roll guitar playing.
To practice the E7 chord, start by strumming the chord and making sure that all of the strings ring out clearly. If any strings sound muted or muted, adjust the angle and pressure of your fingers until you achieve a clean sound.
Once you can play the chord cleanly, practice transitioning between the A7, D7, and E7 chords in the chord progression. This will help you build the muscle memory required for smooth chord changes.
Intro Chord Stops
Importance of Stops in the Song
One of the defining characteristics of “Rock Around the Clock” is the use of chord stops in the intro. Chord stops are moments where the strumming is momentarily halted, creating a rhythmic effect.
These stops add dynamics and a sense of anticipation to the song, making it more engaging and exciting to play.
Breakdown of Chord Stops
The chord stops in the intro of “Rock Around the Clock” occur on beats one and three of every measure.
The stops are achieved by muting the strings with the palm of your picking hand while still maintaining the shape of the chord. This technique creates a percussive sound and adds a rhythmic element to the song.
When playing the chord stops, it’s important to emphasise the rhythm and timing.
Make sure to release the pressure on the strings to mute them on the specified beats and then release the muting to let the chord ring out on the subsequent beats.
This rhythmic contrast between the stops and the strummed chords creates a dynamic and energetic feel.
To practice the chord stops, start by muting the strings with the palm of your picking hand on beats one and three while maintaining the shape of the chord. Strum the muted strings lightly to create a percussive sound.
Focus on the timing and make sure that the stops are in sync with the rhythm of the song. As you become more comfortable, try incorporating the chord stops into the full chord progression to get a feel for how they fit into the song.
In this lesson, we have covered all the essential elements of playing “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley. From the chord progression to the strumming pattern, intro chord stops, and playing tips, you now have all the tools you need to play this classic rock and roll song on the guitar.
Encouragement to Practice
Remember, practice is key to mastering any song. Take your time, be patient with yourself, and practice each section slowly before gradually increasing the tempo.
The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become with the song.
Playing with Original Recording
To further develop your skills and sense of timing, try playing along with the original recording of “Rock Around the Clock.” This will help you sync up with the band and develop a better understanding of how the different parts fit together.
Playing with Band or Friends
Lastly, playing “Rock Around the Clock” with a band or friends can be a fun and rewarding experience. It allows you to showcase your guitar skills and interact with other musicians.
Whether it’s in a jam session or a live performance, playing with others will enhance your musicality and create a more enjoyable playing experience.