Link Wray The Best D Chord In Rock Guitar History

The Guitarist who played the Most important D-Chord in rock History

If you were to place the sound of a Link Wray power chord, especially the D-Chord in Rumble of Rock you got the beginnings of Rock Guitar History by talking about the guitarist who created the sound we now know as Modern Rock Guitar. He played the Most important D Chord in history, because when you hear the simple but effective power chord progression D D E…you just hear Link Wray’s intro to “Rumble” which launched a thousand bands and went on to influence many great guitarists the original rock and roll rebel.

Power Chords, Fuzzy Amps Banned Instrumentals and Playing Live Till His Death


The D-Chord in Rumble and the introduction of power chords into music with the Fuzz of a broken amp speaker, helped along by Link by taking the pencil and stabbing the speaker with more holes to make it louder. This laid the foundation for everyone thereafter in the creation of the first rock and roll songs with an introduction to distortion for the masses. 

1958 brought Rumble and a handful of other instrumentals that ultimately sold a million singles and “Rumble”s menacing sound actually brought it to be the first instrumental to ever be Banned from radio for fear of inciting the violence of films like “Westside Story”.  These times he was also one of the first to use the Vibrato on his amp to full effect, opening another sonic innovation. Link Wray performed live right up to his death in 2005 and I was lucky enough to see him and interact twice in a matter of 2 years.


You really didn’t meet Link Wray, as when he stepped on the stage it was more like encountering a Tiger, even in his 70’s he was quick with a smile or if you disrespected him you should have known better as you might have been introduced to a Switch Blade, this was confirmed by a drummer I spoke within the year 2000 who was on the road with Link.


Sonically in his early days, he would use many Danelectro guitars, and as years passed he would use the original second Version of a Gibson Les Paul which was later renamed the Gibson SG. He eventually acquired a 60’s Yamaha SG2  which was modified into his Beloved “Screaming Red” guitar complete with an Indian chief’s Headdress painted on the Pickguard.

He in later years would turn the speaker Cabinet for his Marshall half-stack backward away from the audience. Why? Well in true Rock N Roll Fashion it was turned up as loud as it could go and shook the walls. 


By 2002 he retired “Red ” from the road and played a couple of Fender Stratocasters.
Link Wray never rested and got complacent, he didn’t just go out and perform the classic catalog of songs. His last few albums such as “Shadowman” and “Barbed Wire” were as important as any work he did. Let’s face it head-on. He changed the course of the Modern guitar. He stood tall as an innovator like Edison’s electric lighting. For reasons unclear, he’s only posthumously been nominated for inclusion and quickly NOT inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of fame. An institution I would personally dare say he Built hands down by influencing everyone who ever heard him with that D-Chord in Rumble.
and Jimmy Page in the film “It Might Get Loud” is speaking the Truth of Link Wray.

Many others included in the film “Rumble..The Indians who Rocked the world” sing his praises. Pete Townsend has gone as far as to say had there been no Link he probably would have never picked up the guitar. I found him a Gentleman, a force of nature, and a True Living Legend and he’s meant the world to me personally. I have reached out and been in touch with his Daughter and Joe Chambers in Nashville who is CEO of the Musician’s Hall of fame. Joe is another fine Man and has been receptive to the idea. So if you wish to join the effort please approach Joe Chambers with respect. It is unclear to me what it will take to Get Link to the Rock Hall of fame in Cleveland, but I know there are thousands of us who are not giving up. 

Wray was the Key Innovator of modern rock music

The Electric guitar in the Hands of Link Wray was a weapon of Joyous anarchy and Rebellion, and a tool of Creativity. He altered my life in a significant personal way…and if you play an electric guitar he has altered yours whether you know it or not. He is the Cornerstone of the building. He is the, as a naked Keith Moon screamed as he hugged Link and spun around in circles. “THEE RUMBLE MAN!”

Remembering Link Wray NPR Documentary

Brass Ring of the Rock Hall for Link Wray

This is an article I wrote about link Wray and why he should be inducted to the rock hall of fame on another website. If you would like to read more about link Wray and the D-Chord in Rock History however in the meantime why not give us your thoughts on link wrays music here in the comments. If you are a musician why not check out these websites for musicians to share music or share your music with us in a guitardoor interview.

By Jimmy Flemming

Jimmy Fleming is a Dystonia advocate and Guitarist from Ohio. He authored and co wrote interviews on over 100 articles about guitar and bands on Guitardoor Listen to his latest music and full biography on his website.

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