Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

by Otis Redding • Lesson #440 • Jun 18, 2022

Today you’ll learn how to play Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, the Otis Redding classic from 1968. This one is a ton of fun to play on the guitar, even though you may not think of guitar when you listen to it. I’ll teach you to play it using only 7 chords (using only open chords, all of which major). I’ll show you a few ways to strum it, including both beginner-friendly and more advanced strums.

For those of you who are looking for a bit of a challenge, I’ll also teach you the subtle walk-up and walk-down heard during the verse of Redding’s album version — in addition to explaining the rhythm behind the pushed chord changes that give the song’s rhythm a bit of distinction. These may take a bit of practice to get comfortable with, but they sound great when used together. Let’s jump in!

Free Video Lesson


  • 0:00 Preview & Lesson Summary
  • 1:30 Verse & Chorus Basics
  • 4:50 Strumming Patterns
  • 8:49 Bridge
  • 12:45 Walk-Up & Walk-Down
  • 16:52 Pushed Chord Changes
  • 20:21 Full Playthrough

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at, the web’s leading provider of licensed sheet music.

On the fence? Here's a guide I made showing the purchase & print process, including answers to common questions about my song sheets.

Buy at

Save 50% on this song sheet by applying the March 2023 code at Musicnotes checkout: FXSDV8DUHV (click to copy). Thanks for being a Premium supporter!

Song Notes Premium includes a 50% discount code you can use when buying any of my licensed song sheets. For the current month's code, upgrade to premium or log in.

Backing Track Available

I made two simple drum backing tracks for you to use while playing this song.

Normal Tempo

One is at 104 beats per minute, which is the tempo heard in Otis Redding’s album recording of this song. If you want to play at the exact same speed as him, use this one. This is what’s heard in my play-along cover at the end of my video lesson. Download as mp3 (audio)

Slower Tempo

The other is slightly slower, paced at 96 beats per minute. If you find Redding’s version moves too fast for you, I recommend this track as it’ll give you a bit more time to make the chord changes (etc). Once you’re comfortable with with this tempo, I’d encourage you to try using the 104bpm track. Download as mp3 (audio)

Song Notes Premium membership required to play (or download) the jam tracks. Already a member? Log in »

Listen to Otis Redding’s Recording

Played at 104 beats per minute. Key of G, standard tuning.

Additional Lessons To Help With This Song

Here’s instructional lessons I’ve made teaching concepts that are useful in this song.

Browse Related Lessons

Click any tag below to view other lessons I've made in that category:

About Song Notes

Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

Get Free Lessons Each Week!

Join the 20,000+ readers who get my new lessons dropped in their inbox each week. I teach a fun mix of songs, weekly riffs, practice ideas, and more!

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent Lessons

Browse All Recent Lessons →

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By technique

By musical genre

By decade

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to homepage