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The first song by Nirvana that we covered here at RiffRiff.com was “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The cool thing about that post was not only did we learn to play the guitar riff but we also found out that ‘Teen Spirit’ is actually a deodorant! Right?! Cool!
On this post we will learn how to play another classic Nirvana song called “Come As You Are”. But before we do, let’s learn a little trivia and some facts about this song.
Alright, so this song is from their album called Nevermind which was released in 1991. This is the CD with the baby in the cover, swimming and reaching for the one dollar bill. According to Kurt, this means that we are taught to chase for money as early as the day we were born.
Anyway, this song reached number 32 in the US charts and number 9 in the US charts. Not that great but hey, these guys are Nirvana! Fans and popularity speak for them.
How to Play Come as you are on Guitar
IMPORTANT! Before proceeding and learning to play this riff, take note that the original recording version of this song is a whole step lower than the standard tuning.
That means instead of having a standard tuned guitar (E-A-D-G-B-E), the guitar should have the following open strings (D-G-C-F-A-D).
So, when the tablature shows to play and open E string, the note you’re actually playing is a “D” and so on and so forth.
Right, now that’s out of the way, lets proceed.
The riff basically repeats for who knows how many times. I did not count *grin*. But basically the riff of the intro is the same riff you’ll use in the verse of the song.
First bar measurs 3 beat for each 8th note and those 3 notes are, open E, E and F (1st fret on 6th string).
Second bar is now 4 beats and each beat is 1 quarter note. First beat is a quarter note with fretting on the 2nd position (F#, remember its relative to the position as if we are using a guitar in standard tuning). Next, the second, third and forth beat are a pair of 8th note each. That’s open A string and 2nd fret of 6th string. You repeat that for the 3rd beat and the last beat is the F# to F note on the 6th string.
The third beat is open 6th string, 2nd fret on A string, open E, open E (6th string), 2nd fret A string, open E and then first fret on 6th string (F).
The forth bar basically is the same as the first bar.
Practice those notes and that’s it!
Nevermind Album Tracklist
Here’s a complete track listing of the album Nevermind. If you’re into Nirvana, you may want to bookmark this page. We will be linking future tutorials for some of the songs below like Lithium, In Bloom etc.
- Smells Like Teen Spirit
- In Bloom
- Come As You Are
- Territorial Pissings
- Drain You
- Lounge Act
- Stay Away
- On A Plain
- Something In The Way
- Endless, Nameless