I Shall Be Released

by Bob Dylan • Lesson #466 • Jan 7, 2023

Hey there, friends! New lesson today teaching you how to play Bob Dylan’s classic I Shall Be Released, taught in the style of his “Studio Outtake” recording from 1971. This guitar lesson will be capo 2nd fret, using chord shapes in the Key of G. I’ll break things down using the simplest possible chords — including an easier (non-barred) version of B-minor. I’ll also show a few strumming options, as well as tabs for some of the distinctive licks and fills. All in all, such a classic song! I hope you enjoy.

  • 0:00 Playthrough & Overview
  • 2:08 Intro Riff
  • 5:45 Chords
  • 8:27 Strumming
  • 13:33 Licks & Fills
  • 17:47 Chord Progression: Add’l Variations
  • 24:23 Vocal Melody

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at Musicnotes.com, 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 Musicnotes.com

Save 50% on this song sheet by applying the January 2023 code at Musicnotes checkout: 5PYREYT8ZW (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 song sheets from Musicnotes.com. For the current month's code, upgrade to premium or log in.

Lesson Discussion

Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!

View Comments

Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!

To access the community forum, upgrade to premium or log in.

Strumming Tutorials

There’s two strumming patterns I demonstrate in my video lesson. For a detailed tutorial on each pattern, click either thumbnail below:

Additional Techniques to Help with This Song

Recorded Versions of I Shall Be Released

Bob Dylan’s 1971 “Studio Outtakes” recording. This is what I based my lesson after.

The Band’s 1968 cover. Note, this is in the Key of E and features some small changes to the progression.

The live version heard in The Last Waltz featuring The Band, Dylan, many others.

Cover from Reina Del Cid. Key of A.

Cover from the band Kesiena. Looks like it’s in the Key of E?

Cover from Olav Larsen:

There’s so many more! Have a look around YouTube, or Spotify, or wherever you get your music. Such an amazing song, and so great to hear the ways each artist makes it their own.

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

  • January 20, 2023

    Box #10

    Learn the Jim Croce classic from his 1972 album You Don't Mess Around with Jim.

  • January 18, 2023

    Strummy Walk-Downs in Key of C

    A quick guide to perhaps the most common walkdown in all of guitar (C to Am to G), while strumming at the same time.

  • January 12, 2023

    Q&A: Why Bother Learning Scales?

    When are scales worth learning? When are they not worth your time? I share my thoughts, including how they can help even if you aren't interested in lead guitar.

  • January 7, 2023

    I Shall Be Released

    Learn to play Bob Dylan's classic! Based on the recording from his Studio Outtakes (1971)

  • December 31, 2022

    New Course: Practical Music Theory!

    I'm thrilled to announce my first ever course! Here's 7 videos + PDFs to get you started with practical music theory.

  • December 30, 2022

    Learn it for New Years: Auld Lang Syne

    Here's a fun way to combine chords & melody notes with the traditional New Years song, Auld Lang Syne. Originally posted Dec 30, 2018.

  • December 22, 2022

    Transposing "Blue Christmas" to the Key of C Major

    A walkthrough of using music theory techniques transpose this Elvis classic from E Major to C Major.

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