How To Play Jailhouse Rock By Elvis Presley

Check out How To Play Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley from Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman. Be sure to click the link for the tabs so you can easily follow along with this classic song lesson.


Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with bringing this video lesson. Today I want to show you how to play a real classic tune, Jailhouse Rock in the style of Elvis Presley. So one of the first things I want to say before I forget is that this song is actually tuned down a half step, so I am not in standard tuning, I just tuned every string down a half step; so instead of the E, E flat, A flat, D flat, G flat, B flat and E flat, so that way you’ll be in the same key, at least the recording that I learned this from was in. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at this.

Jailhouse Rock Intro

All right so this is really easy, this part of it anyway, even if you’re a total beginner this is pretty easy other than you do have to do a barre chord. So what I’m doing here is it’s just the major barre chord with the root note being on the fifth string and this is the shape that we’re going to be using for the chords in this. So the first one we have is D sharp (D#); so my first finger is getting the sixth fret of the the A string and then my third finger is barring across the eighth fret of the D, G and B strings. Now you could do it like this if you wanted with all of these fingers, but I just find it’s much easier just to do it this way. So we’re going to do is we’re going to hit the chord and we’re going to slide into E… and that just repeats and it’s also the same thing like as the verse. So for the intro we start off with the D# and when we go into this E that is on the downbeat of one and it is a whole note and then it’s tied to a half note and then tied to a eighth note. So this is on the and of three, it’s kind of weird, so it’s like; and four, and one, two, three, four, one, two, three and then it just repeats. Then that’s where it leads into the verse.


So with the verse it’s kind of the same thing. So coming off of the last repeat because the verse starts on the E, same timing, back to D#… and then the last one; that last E is on the downbeat of one and then it just rests for the remainder of that measure plus one more. So from the beginning of the verse… and then that’s where it would lead us into the chorus.


So for the chorus for this it’s actually a bass line and it’s really easy to play and it sounds really good and really works well for the song. It’s all uh made up of eighth notes except for the very last note that we’ll talk about when we get there. So we’re starting off on the open A string, so that’s one and, and then to the fourth fret with my third finger and that is two and… Then we go to the second fret of the D string with my first finger for three and, and then to the fourth fret with my fourth finger for four and, back to two for and; so it’s like one and two and three and four and… and we have two measures of that. Then from there we’re gonna we’re bring the whole riff down a set of strings so now we’re gonna do the same thing but instead of being based on the A and D strings it’ll be based on the E and A strings. So now I’m starting off with the low E string open twice, to the fourth fret twice, to the second fret of the A string, to the fourth fret of the A string and then back to the second fret, so two measures… so that’s the first four measures, which is half. Now starting on the fifth measure of that, which is measure 16 on your transcription, we’re going to start on the second fret of the A string with my first finger; so that’s one and, and then we’re going to go to the sixth fret with my fourth finger for two and, then to the fourth fret of the D string with my first finger to the sixth fret and back to the fourth fret, so that’s one and two and three and four and. That’s probably the hardest part of the whole song is just getting in that that stretch there. Then we go back to the original one starting on the A string with the open and then back to the low E… Now that’s what I was talking about the thing at the end, the very last measure… So we do that two on the A string and then we do a hammer-on to the fourth fret and that’s a quarter note; so it’s like one and two and three and four… so that’s the second half, so that entire chorus… And then from there you just back into that same riff again…


All right then the other part I want to show you is the outro and the song actually just fades out. So all this is just the second part of the chorus so the low E open twice to fourth fret then to the A string second fret twice to the fourth fret back to the second fret and there’s just two measures of that and you repeat it four times and it actually fades out…

All right, so the song has the intro and then it goes into a verse and it goes into a chorus and then into another verse and then another chorus and then I think the guitar solos after that and then it may go back into another verse and then another chorus and then like that outro, but those are the main parts of it and it’s really easy to follow along with it if you just listen to the song you’ll be able to tell which parts are which.


All right so I hope you enjoyed that you got something out of it. If you like this lesson be sure to give it a thumbs up and leave me a comment down below if you have any questions or comments about this or any guitar related questions that I might be able to help you with. If you have not already done so please subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so that you don’t miss any of the content that we upload throughout the week. Well that is all I have for you today. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


This free course expires in:


Get 2 hours of FREE Guitar Lessons.