Nirvana’s “Incesticide” just turned 30. This means Come As You Are, released a year earlier in their “Nevermind” album, is already 31 years old. Man, time flies. But the legendary tunes endure, and guitarists of all ages will want to learn this one as soon as they grab a guitar for the very first time.
Come As You Are Guitar Tab (riff)
This Nirvana song starts with one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 90s.
It is played throughout the intro, first verse, second verse, and third verse of the full song. It is also what the rhythm guitar does during the pre-solo, solo, and outro of the song.
Note: This article will assume the song is played in standard tuning. But remember that Nirvana recorded it in D standard tuning — every string tuned a whole step down.
Come As You Are Chords
Let’s dive in and learn the chords of each section of the song.
The F7sus4 chord might sound complicated if you are a beginner. However, as you can see in the diagram, it is simply an F# power chord you play over the open first and second strings. Make sure to use your pinky to mute the G string.
The Asus2 chord fingering is very common and pretty easy to play.
The first chord of the chorus is simply a B power chord over the open first and second strings, which makes it a Bsus4 chord.
The second chord of the chorus is a D open power chord that you play over the open first string, making it a Dsus2 chord.
This article is about the chords for playing this masterpiece among Nirvana songs. However, to make sure there’s not a single thing missing if you want to play the whole song, here’s the tab for the guitar solo:
Come As You Are Chords And Tabs PDF
Here’s a PDF you can download with all the chords and tabs you need to play this legendary tune.
Come As You Are Chords And Lyrics
NOTE: For technical reasons, I can’t display the exact notation of the chords over the lyrics, so here’s what you’ll see: F#7 instead of F#7sus4, Asus instead of Asus2, Bsus instead of Bsus4, and Dsus instead of Dsus2.
1st verse – sing while playing the riff:
Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy
2nd verse – sing while playing the riff:
Take your time, hurry up
Choice is yours, don’t be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old memo…
3rd verse – sing while playing the riff:
Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend
As an old memo…
Come As You Are: Best Video Lessons
YouTube is full of excellent tutorials that can help you learn this song. Here are my favorites.
Marty actually has two “Nirvana Come As You Are” guitar lessons on his channel. But the following is the most recent and, in my opinion, more complete than the older one:
Carl recorded this tutorial with a Sterling by Music Man guitar. Awkward as that may look, it’s a reminder that skill always trumps gear adequacy. He uses slightly different chord fingerings than we suggest in this article, but the song still sounds great.
As usual, Mr. Tabs gifts us here with an accurate transcription and, in my opinion, gets the most accurate tone among the tutorials reviewed here. And the video’s aesthetics are pure 90’s grunge!
Most of the YouTube lessons out there teach you the electric guitar version of the song. But if you want to learn Nirvana’s legendary unplugged version of Come As You Are, Rob Swift has you covered.
Check out these other articles for more awesome songs you can learn:
- Favorite Crime by Olivia Rodrigo
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
- Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- That Funny Feeling by Bo Burnham