Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana Lesson

Learn to play Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana on JustinGuitar!

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In the solo part, I am having difficulty in bending the 3rd string 3rd fret, probably because it is so close to the neck. Any tips ? Also, during the noisy 3rd string second fret bending, I’m having difficulty to bend with a single finger and still sound good.
I guess it’s not all 2nd grade stuff in there.

I’ve been at this for about 6 weeks now and I just can’t get the strumming pattern down. Has anyone else struggled with this and if so, have you any tips on how you nailed it?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Exactly. Like many of Justin’s tutorials, he teaches more advanced optional techniques than the advertised grade of the song. Like the solo in this song. If you haven’t done string bends before, you might have to come back to the solo later on.

At around 4:45 Justin goes through the strumming pattern giving the count. I would write that down and refer to it while working on it. Also, listen closely to the song while reading the strumming pattern that you have written down.

I would first practice with all the strings muted. See if you can count it out loud as you strum. Once you can easily do the strum correctly with muted strings, then try it playing and muting as appropriate.

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Thanks John, I’ll give that a go. I forget about writing the strumming pattern down.

I’m find this one harder than Wonderwall. :smiley:

See if this helps.

The rhythm needs to be seen and counted as a sixteenth pattern. Some are played as eighths or dotted eighths ( = three sixteenths).
In the first diagram I have tabbed a dead-notes, a muted strum pattern. I have grouped each bar into four lots of sixteenths - counted 1 e & a 2 e & a etc. The physical spacing across the bars and groups looks unequal simply due to the varying duration of some of the notes. Hence I have also grouped each within an alternating colour-coded group green - red - green - red etc. for each group of four sixteenths.

This second diagram shows the actual chords / dead notes for the first two bars. Again, the spacing left to right is very unequal for the reasons given above and because the notation needs to accommodate indicators for accidentals and natural notes too.

I have created two audio samples for each of the above, repeated multiple times, with a drum intro and a simple drum accompaniment to keep you aware of where the count of 1 falls for each bar.
The speeds are 60 bpm for the slow versions and 116 bpm (the true tempo) for the others.

I hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Moderator, Guide & Approved Teacher


Thank you @Richard_close2u that is really helpfully and thank you for taking the time to do it all.

I’ll be giving it some serious work now as it’s one I really want to perform, hopefully this side of Christmas.


That’s the spirit! Look forward to hearing you play it Stefan :guitar:


@Richard_close2u Richard, just a quick question, if that’s okay?

In the strumming pattern where there are 4 oooo what am I supposed to do there?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

I believe that means strum the open strings indicated.

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Thank you Goffik, just to add to the complication. :smiley:

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You could also use your ears and listen to the original recording. You might surprise yourself on what you can pick up by listening.

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Technically, it is being called a G / A - a G triad with an A added in the bass. But, basically, you can think of it as just hitting some open strings as you change from one chord to another. Kind of sloppy playing but sounding good and fitting the vibe of the song perfectly.

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Thank you Richard.

Hello everyone, I’m relatively new to this, I just started with Grade 3. Now when trying Smells like teen spirit I have problems playing this with my first and third finger (I have trouble bending the third finger that way and I feel like getting a finger-cramp), I find it much easier playing it with my first and fourth finger. What are your suggestions, is there a reason why it should be with the third finger, so should I practice this until it works? Or is playing it with the fourth finger also fine cause it depends on each individuals finger length etc ? Now sure what to do. Thanks for any suggestions and help. Tom

No suggestions anyone? :pleading_face:

Personally, I would keep practicing using the third finger. This is because an alternative power chord used in many rock songs uses the first and third finger, but also the fourth finger on the string below the third. So if you want to play those properly, you’ll have to get used to using your third finger at some point… or barre two stings with your fourth, which I imagine would be pretty difficult.

Hi Thomas,

The reason why Justin does it like that in his vid is because that’s how Kurt Cobain played his 3 string power chords. You could always just use the traditional 1, 3 and 4 and it will still sound good. You just may not sound exactly like Kurt because he used to hit lower strings by mistake because of the way he played power chords.

Thanks both of you for your answers. I still find playing it 1-4"barre" instead of 1-3"barre" much easier. Strength of the 4th finger is not an issue, but bending the 3rd the right way is not easy for me.
1-3-4 of course is the standard way, it does sound better thought with playing the two lower strings with just one finger, just like Cobain, so no way around practicing 1-3. Fingerstretches here I come :slight_smile: