10 Easy Nirvana Songs To Play On Guitar (+TABS!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

In today’s article, we’re going to highlight ten easy Nirvana songs to learn and play on guitar. If you’re a fan of Kurt Cobain, you will definitely enjoy all of these tunes! Since we recently covered easy songs by Radiohead and AC/DC, it’s time to focus on something from the grunge genre.

Nirvana was one of the most important bands that shaped the current music industry. Although they released only three studio albums, they quickly became grunge icons. What’s interesting, a lot of their riffs are very simple to play. This creates a massive opportunity for all musicians like me and you to learn and play these songs on our guitars!

I gathered a list of top 10 easy songs by Nirvana – feel free to check out the table with tabs below. For those who prefer learning with a teacher, I included video lessons in the next section under the table. Choose the best option for you and enjoy your practice! And of course, you can play all these songs on both acoustic and electric guitars.

10 Easy Nirvana Songs To Play On Guitar

Nirvana – Come As You AreTABS
Nirvana – All ApologiesTABS
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen SpiritTABS
Nirvana – Lounge ActTABS
Nirvana – Heart Shaped BoxTABS
Nirvana – Pennyroyal TeaTABS
Nirvana – Stay AwayTABS
Nirvana – Spank ThruTABS
Nirvana – BreedTABS
Nirvana – Rape MeTABS

Perfect For Nirvana Fans

1. Nirvana – Come As You Are

One of the most popular songs by Nirvana. And this riff is so simple to learn for beginners! I think that it was actually one of the first songs that I ever learned to play on my guitar. The original song involves the use of a chorus pedal, but don’t worry if you don’t have it – you’re still okay to practice. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the easiest songs written by Kurt Cobain that you can jam with.

2. Nirvana – All Apologies

This track can be challenging for absolute beginners, but learning it will enhance your accuracy and picking skills. In my opinion, the main riff is one of the most beautiful riffs created by Nirvana. The lesson above focuses on All Apologies from their legendary MTV Unplugged concert in New York (November 1993). I think that if you like this band, you just have to know how to play this song.

3. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

It’s probably one of the most overplayed riffs of all time. I’m sure that you all know that song. Whether you love it or not, it’s still one of the easiest Nirvana songs out there. Smeels Like Teen Spirit is great for practicing your strumming skills. Although the song consists of only a few power chords, it’s just fun to play. In addition, this tune features a really simple solo, which is also perfect for beginner players.

4. Nirvana – Lounge Act

Another pretty simple and enjoyable song by Nirvana. If you’re a complete beginner, Lounge Act may be challenging for you, because it involves the use of barre chords. Still, you can learn to play this song with the power chords, so it’s not that bad. More advanced players will be able to learn it very quickly – it’s very simple!

5. Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box

One of the most iconic grunge riffs of all time. This song is an absolute must for any lover of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain! It’s pretty easy to play and it sounds just awesome when you use a lot of overdrive or distortion. I highly recommend checking out the lesson above, it explains everything very thoroughly.

6. Nirvana – Pennyroyal Tea

Another great acoustic track suitable for all level players. Again, this version comes from Nirvana’s Unplugged MTV session in 1993. The song is really easy to play – you just need to know a few basic chords and you’re sorted. Like most of other songs written by Kurt Cobain, it mostly repeats the same pattern throughout the whole song. Undoubtedly, it’s a really cool song to know.

7. Nirvana – Stay Away

The video below is not really a lesson – it’s a cover with tabs. But I’m sure that it will help you to understand what you need to do in order to play Stay Away. In comparison with other songs on today’s list, this track is a bit faster. And that’s why it’s great for practicing your accuracy and strumming skills! If you’re not in the mood for ballads and you want to play something more aggressive, this track will be perfect for you.

8. Nirvana – Spank Thru

Another really cool and easy Nirvana song that you can learn on your guitar. To play Spank Thru, you just need to know a few of the basic chords such as A-minor and G-minor. Add a few power chords and you’re sorted! I’m sure that you’ll be able to learn this tune in a matter of a few hours or even minutes.

9. Nirvana – Breed

I know that I mentioned that you can play all of these songs on both acoustic and electric guitars, but to be honest, Breed sounds best when you plug in your guitar into an amp. It’s just one of these loud and more aggressive songs that won’t sound the same on acoustic guitar. Still, I highly recommend checking out the lesson above. It’s a really powerful and enjoyable track.

10. Nirvana – Rape Me

Another really cool song by Nirvana. Although the band raised a lot of controversy while releasing a track with that title, the song instantly became recognizable. It’s one of the best Nirvana’s songs ever written and it’s a must for any guitarist who loves this band and Kurt Cobain! I highly recommend checking out the guitar lesson by GuitarJamz above.

How do you get a good grunge guitar tone?

To achieve a great grunge tone, you need a few guitar pedals: chorus, distortion and overdrive. These three effects will definitely help you to achieve a powerful grunge tone. In addition, it’s recommended to use an amp with a foot switch to quickly switch between overdrive and clean channels.

If you’re looking for grunge gear recommendations, here’s my list of best guitars for grunge rock. In addition, here’s the list of best amps for grunge rock. Using this gear will definitely help you to achieve a sound similar to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.

easy nirvana songs
Photo Credit: Pexels
Did Nirvana create grunge?

No, they didn’t create grunge. Nirvana was one of the first grunge bands that became successful and known for the wider audiences. Still, the grunge scene of late 1980’s and early 1990’s consisted of a lot of other amazing bands such as Soundgarden, Alice In Chains or Pearl Jam. Many people believe that Kurt Cobain was a creator of grunge, but it’s a myth.

How Old Kurt Cobain would be today?

The leader of Nirvana was born on the 20th of February 1967 in Aberdeen, so he would be 54 years old today. The musician died 27 years ago in Seattle. He was only 27 years old when he passed away.


I hope that you took your time and you checked out tabs and video lessons to at least some of these songs! As you can see, there are a lot of easy Nirvana songs that you can learn and play on guitar. Moreover, they all sound awesome!

I think that Nirvana is a great band to explore if you’re a beginner guitarist. Learning their tunes will help you to understand basic chords and various strumming patterns. And if you’re a more advanced player and all these songs are too simple for you – that’s a good sign! You’re making great progress as a guitar player 🙂

Thanks for checking out my blog. Hopefully, you enjoyed your practice! Feel free to come back to these tabs from time to time to refresh your skills. You can also share these resources with your friends.

Additionally, if you liked this article, you may also like: