What is this chord and how do I play it?

Hi all. I’m trying to learn Come As You Are by Nirvana. I’ve got the famous riff learn and can play it full speed, but the next thing to play is the open 2nd and 5th strings at the same time without hitting any other strings. I have no idea what chord that is and can’t seem to find an answer on Google, so haven’t been able to work out how to play it. I know how to mute strings next to a fretted note and how to thumb mute, but these techniques don’t seem to apply here. Does anyone know how to achieve this seemingly impossible chord? All help gratefully received.


I put that in my “reverse chord finder” app, and it has nothing.

I’d say you have to use your pick on the fifth string while finger-picking the second, probably with your ring finger.

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Are you sure? I’ve had a look at some common tab for that and cant see this

Thanks for replying. Yes, it’s on the Easy Guitar Solo version on Guitar Pro Songbook. Bar 5. It’s not on any of the other tabs of this song, so may just be a quirk of that particular tab.

Thanks, that’ll need some practice - thinking about it the tab is for acoustic so it may be assumed you’ll not use a pick. That makes it a lot easier to play.

ok might be worth posting a screenshot or something so we know exactly what you are looking at.

Dont assume its correct but…

You dont always have to play every note and string the music tells you to do, you could probably get away with just playing the open 5th or something.

Thanks - I think Marc might be onto something suggesting finger picking as the score I’m using is for acoustic. Therefore it’s probably not a chord, but fingerstyle. Being a beginner, this hadn’t occured to me.

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ah in that case if your not using a pick (or trying hybrid picking) then yeah its easy , thumb and finger, job done.

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oh also it wont be a chord, not with 2 notes, but then finger picking is usually based around chord positions but also has some scales thrown in so hard to say

Hey Kate, I just had a look at the tab. Yep that’s definitely an arrangement for acoustic guitar (or solo electric) where you play the chords / rhythm and the vocal melody at the same time. It’s called “Easy Solo Guitar” but it’s not too easy overall getting that melody in there. Much harder than just Kurt’s guitar parts.

I noticed to do that they’ve shifted the riff up an octave as well, probably so it can be played in standard tuning whereas the original is in D standard.

If you want to play it the normal easier way - just the guitar bits - look at the “Full Score” or “Guitar & Vocals” tracks.


I don’t know the song. Sounds like an A9. You could get another A on the 7th fret of the 4th string and another B on the 4th fret of the 3rd string if your fingers will stretch. Just play the middle 4 strings but if you hit the other E’s no problem.

You could try playing a C on the 5th fret of the 3rd string instead making it an Amin9. That’s quite a cool chord anyway.

Did you consider hybrid picking it?
Use the pick on string 5 and then finger 2 or 3 on the 2nd string. You shouldn’t need to mute unless you accidentally catch a neighboring string.

…and yet we commonly use the term Power “chords” , which have 2 notes. Probably more accurate to refer to 2 notes as a “partial” chord or as a Dyad. :slightly_smiling_face: