Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

I haven’t really figured out copyright law, so I guess I can’t throw out any tab or note-for-stuff. I hope this helps. In some ways figuring out the song from a basic framework may allow you to improve your ear and in the end gain a better feel for the intentions of the artist.

Main Sections

There are a few main sections to the song.

  1. Chorus -the famous riff- it’s four power chords.
  2. Verse -the mellow two note riff.
  3. Bridge – where hey yells “hey”
  4. Also there’s the solo which is basically the melody to the song played on guitar. Don’t teach the solo here, yet!

Main riff – chorus

First time: 0:02 minutes in video

It’s four power chords. F, Bb, Ab, Db.

  1. 6th string, 1st fret
  2. 5th string, 1st fret
  3. 6th string, 4th fret
  4. 5th string, 4th fret

I would just play along with the recording to get the feel! Or check out Transcribe!

Two note riff – verse

First time: 0:27 minutes in video

The two note riff is C to F.  You can play it on the first fret, 2nd string then 1st string but Kurt plays it up:

  1. 3rd string, 5th fret
  2. 2nd string, 6th fret


First time: 1:27 minutes in video

  1. Two power chords – F and Gb – 6th string, 1st fret to 6th string, 2nd fret
  2. When he yells ‘hey’, bend B up to C more or less.  B is the 3rd string, 4th fret

Here’s the movie:

Hope this helps!

There’s plenty of places to get tab and stuff. But give your ear a chance! And if you do get tab, still slow down the song so you can get real locked in with what they are really doing!

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