About a Girl

by Nirvana • Lesson #104 • Oct 19, 2017

Video lesson

Song Sheet Temporarily Unavailable...

For copyright reasons, my printable song sheet is temporarily unavailable while I move it over to Musicnotes.com, a sheet music service that is providing licensing for my song arrangements.

Want me to priortize this song, so the song sheet is ready sooner? Click the button below and let me know – this helps me know which songs to work on next!

Request This Song

Learn more about my library of song sheets & instructional PDFs.

Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play the unplugged (acoustic) version of “About a Girl” by Nirvana. This tutorial includes chords, tabs, strumming pattern, and explains how to play the riff heard between verses. Nirvana’s unplugged in NY album was one of my favorites from my middle school years (1993-1995) – and I always preferred the acoustic Nirvana sound to that of their proper studio albums. This is the opening track to their unplugged album, and of course you can find the original version on their first album “Bleach”.

Tuning FYI

Note, you’ll need to tune down 1/2 step if you want to play along with Nirvana’s version (they’re using E-flat tuning). I decided to use standard tuning in my video lesson above. Take note of this in case you want to play along with Nirvana.

Chord progressions

For every chord listed below, play two counts (e.g., 2 counts of E-minor, then 2 counts of G-major).

INTRO         Em    G    x4

VERSE        "I need an easy friend..."
              Em    G    x4

CHORUS       "I'll take advantage while..."
              C#    C#/G#  F#    F#   x2

             "But I can't see you every night..."
              Em    Em     A     C    x1

             "Free..."
              Em    G    x4

How to play the chords

E –––0–––––3––––––––––––––––––(2)–––(0)–––(0)––––
B –––0–––––0––––(6)––––(6)––––(2)–––(2)–––(1)––––
G –––0–––––0–––––6––––––6–––––(3)––––2–––––0–––––
D –––2–––––0–––––6––––––6––––––4–––––2–––––2–––––
A –––2–––––2–––––4––––––x––––––4–––––0–––––3–––––
E –––0–––––3––––––––––––4––––––2–––––––––––––––––
     Em    G     C#   C#/G#    F#    A     C

Strumming the Em and G

Most of the song uses this simple progression. Broadly, this is what you’ll want to play:

"I need an easy friend..."

E –––0–––––––––––3––––––––––––
B –––0–––––––––––0––––––––––––
G –––0–––––––––––0––––––––––––
D –––2–––––––––––0––––––––––––    ...repeat
A –––2–––––––––––2––––––––––––
E –––0–––––––––––3––––––––––––
     ↓     ↓  ↑     ↑  ↓  ↑   
     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +
     Em          G

And if you want to get precise with your strumming, follow these tabs. If you can emphasize the highest note in each strum to give bit of melodic suggestion to your playing.

E –––––––––0––––––––3––3––3–––
B –––––––––0––0–––––0––0––0–––
G –––––––––0––0–––––0––0––0–––
D –––2––––––––2––––––––0––––––    ...repeat
A –––2–––––––––––––––––2––––––
E –––0–––––––––––––––––3––––––
     ↓     ↓  ↑     ↑  ↓  ↑   
     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +
     Em          G

Spicing up the F#

In the refrain/chorus section of the song, here’s a tab. You’ll either need to use barre chords or power chords (the latter being much easier – only focus on the bottom 2 or 3 strings). Note on the F#, the second time I pay it I like to remove my fingers from the thinnest two strings. This creates a nice dissonant sound that seems to match what you hear in the Nirvana version.

"Take advantage while..."

E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––(2)––––––(0)–––––––––––––
B ––(6)–––––––––(6)–––––––––(2)––––––(0)–––––––––––––
G –––6–––––––––––6––––––––––(3)––––––(3)–––––––––––––
D –––6–––––––––––6–––––––––––4––––––––4––––––––––––––
A –––4–––––––––––x–––––––––––4––––––––4––––––––––––––
E –––––––––––––––4–––––––––––2––––––––2––––––––––––––
     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
     ↓     ↓  ↑  ↓     ↓  ↑  ↓     ↓  ↑     ↑  ↓  ↑
     C#          C#/G#       F#

Transitioning from Em to A to C

For this section, I like to focus on the bassiest 3-4 strings only, to give a deep and raw sound.

"But I can't see you every night..."

E ––(0)–––––––––––––––––––––(0)––––––(0)–––––––––––––
B ––(0)–––––––––––––––––––––(2)––––––(1)–––––––––––––
G ––(0)––––––––––––––––––––––2––––––––0––––––––––––––
D –––2–––––––––––––––––––––––2––––––––2––––––––––––––
A –––2–––––––––––––––––––––––0––––––––3––––––––––––––
E –––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
     1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  1  +  2  +  3  +  4  +  
     ↓     ↓  ↑     ↑  ↓  ↑  ↓  ↑     ↑     ↑  ↓  ↑
     Em                      A        C

The riff

Finally, the riff. This can be played on top of the Em-G progression. The piece of advice I’d give here is that you can see the suggestion of the E and G powerchords, via (x 7 9 9 x x) and (x 10 12 12 x x) in the second half of this tab. This isn’t need-to-know information, but it makes playing it a bit easier in my opinion.

E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G –––––––––––––––––7/9––––9–––––––––/12––––12––––––––
D ––––––––––––5–7––7/9––––9–––––––––/12––––12––––––––
A –––––––5–7–––––––––––––(7)––––––––––––––(10)–––––––
E –––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you. If it was helpful, consider throwing a few bucks in my tip jar – it helps me support this project so I can keep it up.

Browse Related Lessons

Click any tag below to view other lessons I've made in that category:

About Song Notes

Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

Get Free Lessons Each Week!

Join the 20,000+ readers who get my new lessons dropped in their inbox each week. I teach a fun mix of songs, weekly riffs, practice ideas, and more!

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

Thanks!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!


Recent Lessons

Browse All Recent Lessons →

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By technique

By musical genre

By decade

By musical key

By popular artist


← back to homepage